BW bought strawberries from the store recently. They were huge California berries, almost like a small apple: Red and juicy, kinda. I could hardly restrain myself but I waited until after dinner. My serving came with a mountain of whipped topping, giving my eyes a taste treat long before my mouth.
The first bite was ... was... well a great disappointment. Like the high school prom. They had the flavor of a dry water chestnut. Remember those tiny paraffin bottles filled with a half teaspoon of flavored water sold in the candy store? Those strawberries had less flavor than those bottles. They looked scintillating! But they were almost tasteless. The pilot light of my memory flared and ignited a huge flame of reminiscence that washed over me like a sudden summer rain. I almost marched into the store and remonstrated to the manager stating loudly, "These things are not berry good."
Anyone who only eats large grocery store strawberries does not know what real strawberries taste like. We had a strawberry patch on the farm north of Calvertville. Every hot and humid Memorial Day the berries were ready for picking. The sun and humidity sapped our energy as we picked. The air felt like someone just opened the dishwasher as it completed its cycle. That was one summer job that I did not like but I loved to eat the berries.
Our strawberries were not nearly as large as the California steroid berries but they were delicious. When I put one of those smaller berries in my mouth it exploded with flavor. Mom would bake a white cake and we would pour the berries over it. The cake would soak up the juice and the berries would combine to create ambrosia fit for the gods -- us. Delicious juice deluged my taste buds bathing my tongue with sensations that caused it to dance like rain drops on a metal roof. That is strawberry shortcake -- an incredible edible.
I remember mom cooking another incredible edible -- green beans. If your only experience with green beans is from opening a can you don't know what green beans taste like. They are easier and already cooked but they often taste like boiled tongue depressors. In my salad days we would pick green beans from our garden and mom would add new potatoes and a ham hock and cook them in the pressure cooker. The smell of that delicious repast was wonderful. My whole eating life would flash before my nose. Then she might serve it with wilted lettuce and sliced tomatoes plus more ham and strawberry shortcake. Friends, that meal would hit spots I didn't even know I had.
Store bought green beans in a can have as much good taste as the "Kartrashian" Sisters and their mother of reality TV fame.
I miss Mom's super cooking. You need to know that BW is a better cook than my mother was. I said it and I mean it. Home grown food prepared in your kitchen always tastes better than store bought.
Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School. He lives in Plainfield and can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656. Write him at 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168. He has written five books.