The Research Process: Fig and Brandy Jam

Monday, August 18, 2014

1. Collect information from the library, internet, interviews, etcetera.

2. Read it all. All of it.

3. Take so many notes that you would shame Tolstoy. 

4. Make sure your notes are in such a ludicrously archaic and indecipherable form that Tolstoy would literally spin in his grave as such that the thanatropic energy harnessed from his whirling corpse could power a Hyundai. 

5. Put all of your sources into a annotated works referenced page. This is to help you in the long run. You know it does as it helps you remember what sources said what. 

6. Of course, it's also a huge pain in the ass. Most likely you will skip this part often until a small stack of sources begins to get so tall the cat climbs to the top of it to survey his territory (e.g., you). Then spend four hours logging that shit into EasyBib and hoping a publisher doesn't make you switch it all from MLA to APA, or, god forbid, Chicago Style. 

7. Write!

8. One good paragraph is a success! Time for an episode of The Real Housewives of New York City!

9. Maybe bake a cake.

10. After struggling for an hour developing a good transition sentence, reward yourself by making jam from all those figs your neighbor let you take from her tree. 

11. Nap!

12. Walk the dog.

13. Do I have to keep writing?

14. Have the best idea at 1:00 in the morning. Write it down at the computer and somehow end up regurgitating a bunch of not bad script until 5:00 AM.

15. Oh shit, you have work in 2 hours. 

16. Eat jam with toast. 

17. Work your real job because fuck all if writing can support you completely.

18. Proofread your rough draft.

19. You realize that, even with a Master's Degree in Composition, you have a terrible tendency to start sentences with the words "Yet," "However," and "In addition."

20. You fucked up "its" and "it's" a dozen times regardless of the fact you 100% know the difference, but in a good flow fuck it up more often than you care to admit.

21. Finish proofreading it into something halfway decent. 

22. Liquor!

22. Repeat.

Fig & Brandy Jam
2 pounds figs, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup brandy

In a large, nonreactive saucepan, toss the fig pieces with the sugar, lemon juice, and brandy and let sit for an hour to overnight.

Simmer the whole lot of it over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft an the liquid thick, about 30-40 minutes.

Spoon the jam into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top. Process as usual.


  1. I'll have figs ripe next month, and try bring some in and make boozy jam. The few I got last year never made it indoors. Also, thanks for the link to to comic. I'll have to read more of those.

  2. Jam with brandy... who would have thought? But I simply adore this whole idea! But to make sure it tastes great, remember to use best quality figs possible and omit dry, cracked fruit. Here's more on how to purchase ideal figs

  3. God I love that you referenced Dresden Codak! I totally knew what you were taking about.


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