“But whatever did you do for food?” asked Mr. Brown. “You must be starving.” Bending down, the bear unlocked the suitcase with a small key, which it also had around its neck, and brought out an almost empty glass jar. “I ate marmalade,” he said, rather proudly. “Bears like marmalade.”
-A Bear Called Paddington
Have you been feeling the drag of the world lately, friends? It seems dark and suffocating when you hear the news or see where we are going. There is so much unfairness and hate and it seems to only be growing. It’s easy to want to run back to bed and ignore our conscience until it all blows over and everything is sunny happy-go-lucky.
I usually find that when the world is getting to be an unbearable place and every day seems more hopeless than the one before that BOOKS are often a comfort. You discover that there are characters who are brave, selfless, who change their world, and speak out for good things. Those characters give a little glimmer of hope. Good really does triumph over the bad if we work hard and remember to live in truth and kindness.
There are hundreds of literary heroes, but especially in the books we read as children. The bravest souls are the ones who walk into a wardrobe, long for a bosom friend, or live under the stairs. With all of the crazy news stories and disappointing global situations there is one fictional character that we could look to for encouragement: Paddington Bear. Paddington is the world’s most beloved refugee. And if there is any group of people that needs a friend, it’s refugees.
Paddington is from deepest darkest Peru and he was sent by his Aunt Lucy to England with a worn out hat, a worn down suitcase, and a vague set of instructions tied to his neck: “Please look after this bear. Thank you” He also carries a nearly empty jar of marmalade. It turns out that bears very much like marmalade.
When he meets his new family, the Browns, in the train station not everyone is on board to adopt a foreign bear. He runs into a few plights that our own refugees or immigrants could recognize, for example the cab driver insists that fare for bears is double and dirty sticky bears covered in marmalade are double the price again. Paddington’s neighbor refuses to call him by anything other than “Bear!” and tries to persuade Paddington to run errands for him. The little Peruvian bear doesn’t have it easy for sure. But Paddington proves himself over and over again and builds a family despite his struggles. His is kindhearted, polite, and stands up for the things he knows are important. He isn’t afraid to give someone a “hard stare” (taught to him by his aunt Lucy) if they are being unfair or judgmental. In short, Paddington is the type of person we should all strive to be, even if he isn’t a person at all.
“I’ll never be like other people. But that’s alright, because I’m a bear.” -Paddington
One small thing we can do to be more like Paddington is to eat quite a bit more marmalade. This brown sugar spiced marmalade is the perfect thing for spreading on toast or making marmalade sandwiches out of (marmalade sandwiches are Paddington’s specialty and he tends to keep one in his hat for emergencies.) With a packet of pectin you don’t have to worry about getting it to set up. This recipe guarantees a nice jammy sweet spread to brighten up the dreary world and remind us that we can always be brave and learn new things in the most unexpected places.
- 5 sweet oranges
- 2 medium lemons
- 2 cups water
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 box of powdered fruit pectin
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 cups white sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- In order to make shelf stable marmalade you will need enough jars to hold 4 pints. Sterilize the jars and rings and set on a clean kitchen towel while you prepare the marmalade.
- First, prepare your fruit peel for soaking. Thoroughly wash and dry the fruits. Remove the peel from the oranges and lemon with a vegetable peeler and trim off any excess pith or white from the peels. Cut into thin strips. In a large sauce pot combine the peel with 2 cups of water and ⅛ tsp of baking soda. Bring this to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer about 20 minutes.
- While the fruit peel is simmering, remove all the pith and white part from the remaining citrus fruit and roughly chop, trying to remove as much of the membrane as possible from the segments. Add the fruit to the sauce pot and simmer another 10 minutes.
- Stir in the pectin and bring to a rolling boil. Stir in the sugars, cinnamon, and allspice. Bring to a rolling boil again and boil one minute, stirring continually. Ladle the hot mixture into your sterilized jars leaving ¼ of an inch of head space at the top Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp cloth to remove any possible sticky areas that could prevent the jars from sealing.
- Process your jars of marmalade for 10 minutes in a boiling hot water bath. Once the jars seal with a pop they are able to be stored in your pantry for up to a year.
Also, any citrus fruit can be used in this recipe. Feel free to replace any of the fruit with 4 cups of prepared citrus fruit such as grapefruit, or lemon.