Strawberries are back in the grocery store, and I've been buying them the past few weeks, even though they're not quite at their peak. The first time I bought them, a couple weeks ago, was one of those days when all you have time to carry in the door are the items that need to be refrigerated. The poor baggers get many curses on those days: What moron would put one yogurt in with a bunch of canned goods? Reusable bags of meat, ice cream, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs draped over every inch of my arms as I hobbled toward the door and plopped them into the kitchen. Hope I didn't drop those eggs too hard. Shove everything into the fridge and tend to the kids.
That evening, after finally wrestling the kids into bed, I came downstairs, looked for my laptop, and realized it was still in the car. I walked out into the unseasonably warm night, opened the car door, and was washed over by the smell of strawberries. I suddenly remembered that I had groceries to carry in.
But I paused and inhaled the sweet smell that reminded me of my grandparents' garage. Every summer when we visited, the shelves in their garage would be full of baskets overflowing with plump, red strawberries. They grew apples and tomatoes and a few vegetables, but the strawberries were the best. Store-bought strawberries don't do justice to the true experience of eating fresh-picked strawberries. These berries were red throughout and dripped as you bit into them.
Yesterday, I introduced the kids to a fun way to eat strawberries: dipped in powdered sugar! Grandma taught us this trick. She knows everything is better with sugar. She taught me to eat tomato slices with sugar. When I got hiccups, she gave me a spoonful of sugar.
Grandma still grows fruits and vegetables, though not on the scale they did when Grandpa was alive. She still makes her yummy strawberry jam that we get to eat when we visit. For now, I'll have to recreate the simple pleasure of strawberry desserts for my kids with mediocre berries. Maybe it's time to find a berry-picking farm nearby!