I Love Being Called Papa!

Whole-Family-in-Park-300x200Years ago when I had my 4 children, I never thought of Laurie and I being grandparents. I was so busy in my career and trying to provide for my kids that I just didn’t think about my future with grand-kids. I wish I had, because it would have brought me a sense of joy, excitement, anticipation and motivation for the day when my sons and daughters called and said “Hey Dad, I’m having a baby”

I love when that phone rings with the awesome news that I’ve heard now 14 wonderful times. I don’t know why I get goose bumps thinking about GRAND-KIDS, but I do.

What a bargain grandchildren are! I give them my loose change, and they give me a million dollars’ worth of pleasure. ~Gene Perret

My wife and I are so blessed to have kids who give us kids. I wish I had been as attentive to my children as they are to theirs but I come from a different generation where Dads just didn’t do as much. Of course I have a wife that is the epitome of a mother and grandmother. She cared for my kids in a most excellent way. She always impeccably dressed them and they were always clean and well fed. (She makes a real DELICIOUS APPLE PIE). I went to work everyday knowing that they were loved beyond measure.

As they grew I knew they would be great husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers because of the training my wife gave them, and they have become just that.  I have grand-kids who are now loved beyond measure and they will in-turn become great adults and fathers, mothers, etc etc.

So I love being “Papa”.

Jack, my oldest daughters first born loves ketchup. He always says “Papa you are the best cook and you make me food because you love me”. That could not be a truer statement. Not the “best cook” part but that I love him.

We’ve have been cutting out all fructose corn syrup in our diets, which of course is in a lot of foods we eat everyday.  So my daughter has been very reluctant to buy ketchup, which has caused Jack such distress because he will have ketchup on EVERYTHING.

We prepare many of our foods from what we can grow on the farm or purchase from organic sources.  We like to make or can our foods from scratch. We make our own butter, mayonnaise,  apple sauce, pie fillings, keifer, kombucha, lard, chicken stock, and much much more. We eat pork from our own pasture raised heritage  pigs, free range chickens, when we can and our own eggs. We  believe in farm raised foods, healthy, wholesome and local farm raised or at least local.

So I thought why not trying to make our own ketchup. How could I possibly deny Jack who says “I’m the best cook and I make food for him because I love him”.

Well, to make a long story short….. too late…. I used the recipe from Ball and made some ketchup for him.

Needless to say it turned out great. I now have a happy kid who loves his Papa and I am still “HIS” best cook and he knows I love him.

Yes I love to be a Papa.

Homemade Tomato Ketchup

adapted from a Ball Blue Book recipe

Ingredients:

4 quarts red-ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored, and chopped, with most of seeds removed (about 8-10 pounds)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp mustard seed
1 stick cinnamon
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar (with 5% acidity)

Directions:

1. Cook tomatoes, onions, and peppers in a non-reactive pan until soft (about 10 minutes). Press through a food mill or sieve. If you don’t mind a few more seeds, you can process in a blender instead.
2. Cook rapidly until volume is reduced by half, about 1 hour.
3. Tie whole spices in a cheesecloth bag; add with sugar and salt to tomato mixture. Cook gently about 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove spice bag.
4. Add vinegar, cook until very thick. As mixture thickens, lower heat andstir frequently to prevent sticking. This will take an additional 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
5. Pour hot into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.
6. Store sealed jars in a cool dry place, where they should keep for up to a year. Store opened jars in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Servings: 48
Yield: About 3 pints.

It takes a while but it’s worth it because you know what’s in it…. good ingredients…. and love!