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Hungry For Words: Marisa McClellan’s blog, Food in Jars

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To many, the food that fills the refrigerator and lines the pantry’s shelves is simply a form of sustenance, but to Marisa McClellan each edible bite is a creative muse.  Marisa McClellan: Writer of "Food in Jars"

As a local food writer and co-host of an online (and sometimes live) cooking show (Fork You!), Marisa has made quite a name for herself as a foodie in Philadelphia and across the web. Although Marisa is well-versed in culinary creative writing, one among many being her Master's thesis of personal essays about cooking tools and memories that are attached to them, her most recent edible adventure focuses on “canning, picking preserving and baking, all from the heart of Center City Philadelphia,” via her beloved blog, Food In Jars.

She credits her mother with opening her eyes and pantry doors to the world of jars, and can still recall picking “up [her] first jar during [her] sophomore year of college. It was a pint-sized Ball jar, with the clamp-style closure.” Over the years, Marisa continues to add to her varied glass collection, although she admits to having a favorite, “the discontinued wide mouth 20-ounce glass freezer jar.”

Marisa shares her passion via captivating blog posts of recipes and culinary escapades, peppered with family memories, which offers the reader a closer look into her kitchen and life. Beyond her hunger inducing photographs and jam/marmalade recipes (strawberry rhubarb, honey lemon, orange-ginger, blood orange, etc), she is also whipping up posts about the best places to pick jam worthy fruit, jar souvenirs while traveling, and countless other recipes for exotic culinary concoctions, such as grape catchup and yogurt & olive cake with orange. Marisa not only treats her avid readers to creatively crafted writing, but also continues to reward them with frequent jam giveaways. Her love for the glass containers and the edible bits that fill them is built on a foundation of cookbook knowledge and continuing curiosity, as she sets goals to experiment with new flavors and techniques, truly immersing herself in the art and science of canning, pickling and preserving.

To give readers a beyond the blog experience, Marisa decided to take her behind the scenes recipes to a live performance level, by offering “Successful Home Canning” classes at Foster’s Homeware. From peach jam to polish style dill pickles, her hands-on classes teach canning basics to jar novices ready to pull up their sleeves and open their minds. Participants only need to bring their curiosity, as Marisa and Foster’s will provide the canning supplies and locally grown produce. Although if you find yourself on the waiting list, Marisa also offers private classes in the comfort in of your own kitchen.

An avid food reader, Marisa dives into “glossy new cookbooks for their ideas and images, as well as for the sense of comradeship they lend (there just aren’t that many people out there interested in investing the bulk of their disposable income in canning jars, vinegar and pectin, especially in Center City Philadelphia), so I need all the community I can muster.” Although, I think it's safe to say that Marisa is single-handedly building that very community in Philadelphia, as she inspires us with each post, syllable and imaginary bite we take of the food world that she is cooking up for us in her kitchen and on her keyboard.