My 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?