A Few of My Favorite Foods by Deb Meredith

strawberrygirlMy parents always had a strawberry patch in their garden. For several weeks a year, we had more strawberries then we knew what to do with. I would go out in my nightgown before breakfast to fill up my cereal bowl with fresh fruit. Red and flavorful, they taste nothing like the ones you get in the store in January. They’re incredibly juicy and stain your hands pink.

My birthday hits right in the middle of strawberry season in Virginia, so I usually had strawberry shortcake. Because of this, my Great Aunt Mildred sent me overalls with strawberries embroidered on them every year. My mother also made me at least one strawberry dress–and I have the photo to prove it! (By the way, those bangs must have been another hair disaster I’ve blocked out).

Despite all this, or maybe because of it, I would always end up getting a little sick of strawberries by the end of the season. Summer came soon after, and I was ready to gorge myself on blackberries and blueberries. Then the tomatoes would turn red in late July, and I could eat tomato and nothing sandwiches for every meal. We always had way too many tomatoes (because my mother would put in too many plants), so we ended up canning them almost every day. I don’t think there’s anything that burns more than the acid of tomato juice on a papercut. But I don’t remember ever getting sick of tomatoes. The end of tomato season always meant the end of summer.

When I was in college, I lived in Washington, DC fone summer. The temperature was too hot and steamy for me to have much of an appetite. For several months I lived on peach ice cream and hauled bottle after bottle of lemon lime seltzer back from the local grocery store. I suppose in those days I lived more like Lydia in POSED FOR MURDER–she subsists on take-out, cappuccinos and cocktails, and isn’t much of a cook–then I do as a married mom these days (who worries about things like the four food groups).

These days my favorite food depends on my mood. I went through a smoothie phase, and these days find myself making bean burritos for myself almost every day for lunch. I love avocados, and wait anxiously for the ones I buy to ripen. There’s nothing more decadent to me then brie on French bread, always best accompanied by a glass of red wine. But I miss eating fresh fruit, and have never had a garden in Brooklyn. And this time of year, I always think about that strawberry patch. For me the farmer’s market never even comes close to walking outside through the dewy grass to snack on strawberries fresh from the garden.

So–what’s your favorite food?

11 Replies to “A Few of My Favorite Foods by Deb Meredith”

  1. I’m so hungry now! I LOVE a good, red, juicy tomato. We keep trying to grow tomatoes in our yard and they always turn out awful. Of course, last year we had an excuse. A big storm knocked down two gigantic trees and the top of one tree landed on our tomatoes. They somehow survived but they were severely slowed down and didn’t ripen for ages, and when they did, the results were pathetic. Maybe this year will be the year for happy tomatoes.

  2. Hey, we’re eating the same things right now! I, too, have been going through a smoothie phase (do you ever put in pasteurized egg whites?), and craving beans tacquitos….Mmm. Black beans. I might go have them for breakfast….

  3. This whole week is making me hungry–and I just know you’re going to give us more recipes tomorrow, Tiffany… I’m so ready for the farmer’s market to have more then just apples!

  4. Meredith – why no garden in Brooklyn? Some of the best tomatoes St. John ever grew came out of our tiny backyard in Prospect Heights. You were obviously meant to grow your own food, woman!

  5. Alas, no backyard, Eve! My husband (our resident green thumb) attempted tomatoes in pots on our roof one summer, but they fried in the summer heat. He also does a window box with flowers. I’m much better at picking then planting so far–but I’d like to have a garden at my next address.

  6. Now this I can relate to! Lest you think I’m REALLY weird, um, I eat fresh strawberries almost every day. Yes there’s a price to pay but the delicious reward is worth it. Also did you know that strawberries contain more vitamin C than an orange?!

  7. I’m glad to hear I have a fellow strawberry addict in the house, Larramie! Frozen strawberries are great all year round, in smoothies and in yogurt. Yum!

  8. Oh ladies these food posts are getting to me…but the gardening efforts are so good to read. Of course you can grow tomatoes in pots…try again…you need to keep them watered and mulched and pinch the little suckers that sprout in the “elbows” where the new branches grow. If it is too sunny, put some shade covers up with poles stuck in the pots. You can also grow burbless cucs that way. And all kinds of herbs and peppers.

    This year, I am starting a fresh fruit garden…raspberries, blueberries, strawberries (I can’t stand the store kind), I already have a small sour cherry tree, miniture peach and apple, and they all bear fruit, and live in large pots. OK, very tiny fruit, but fruit never the less. I just might put in some watermelons too.

    Last year I grew one giant okra…I don’t know why but I just let it grow.
    Eggplants, and of course the never ending varities of summer squash, heirloom tomatoes of all colors, shapes and sizes. I love summer and food.

  9. I love your little strawberry dress! Too cute!

    My favorite foods are always in flux, depending on my mood. But the one thing that never fails me is the “Mini McFoie” truffle butter, fried onion, foie gras, and avocado slider at our favorite tapas place. It’s seriously the best two bites of food on the planet.

  10. Marsha–what a funny story! I think the strawberry juice probably turned you more pink then red, though…

    Katie–that sounds delicious!

    And Eve’s mom–now we can’t even go on the roof without an alarm going off, so can no longer attempt to garden up there. Sigh. City living.

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