09 August 2009

Farmer's Market Day 2

Blueberries and I have a long, perilous history. It begins circa 1984 with my first forays into public schooling and a fad that, thankfully, came and went without much permanence. You see, we were a poor people. We weren't destitute, just normal young family poor, and I'm continually grateful for generous extended family and ingenious mother and father who successfully hid this fact from us as children. I don't think anyone hid it on purpose, but did what had to be done from day to day; how amazing and resilient children are.

I digress. It was during this time that I entered kindergarten and became fascinated with little things that other children had that I had never seen before. I wasn't a jealous child (yet) but a noticer of flashy shoes, especially rad shirts, and little things that were continually being shuffled clandestinely from backpack to hand, and sometimes from pocket to mouth. It is this last category that relates to today's post. While some children might sneak candy, others gum, and maybe a Ritz cracker or two for the especially adept, the big thing in our wily kindergarten class was flavored toothpaste. The very idea of it makes me shudder to this day, but cherry, grape, strawberry, raspberry, bubble gum, and blueberry were a carnival of wonder to my run of the mill "fresh mint" palette. I longed for my own tube to stash in my corduroy pockets. I ached to, just once, be the one around the corner of the playground, unseen from adult eyes, who could take a lick of his prized flavored dental paste. I knew it would secure my future if I could somehow procure one small tube of the coveted substance. Seriously it was like crack to us. Well, except that it's not addictive, and we never sold. Never.

I pined for weeks, months even, but never, not ever, were my antics rewarded by those in control of my dental destiny (once again a giant moment of thanks to parents who knew how to raise children.) One fortuitous day, however, a friend offered me a taste of his (or hers? It's all fuzzy now.) I'm sure I tried to be reluctant but inside I must have been turning cartwheels as the sweet nectar was finally offered to what must have been the most grateful of recipients. I took a swab, placed it in my mouth, and let the flavor melt over the taste buds that had been so cruelly neglected those many months. I see myself in my mind now, eyes closed, savoring the pleasure moment by moment until I realized that what i was tasting was


It was one of the worst things I had ever tasted, a strange concoction that mixed that familiar texture of toothpaste with unconvincingly falsified fruit flavor, and what I was sure was the lingering taste of my own standard, boring, unsensational mint paste. I was horrified as I realized that my months of pining had led up to one large disappointment, the terror of which I may never forget. The flavor of that fateful day? BLUEBERRY. Since that day, every moment of blueberry on my tongue has been tinged by the pasty, minty concoction from my kindergarten days, and I have passed on every possible opportunity to consume it. Not being entirely narrow minded or stubborn, every few years I try blueberries again, and every time I decide that they really aren't for me.

Until last week. Maybe it was the day, the season, my mood, or a particular strain grown in this area, but finally, after a quarter century, I fell in love with blueberries. Not canned, frozen, bottled, preserved, syrup-ified, or otherwise ruined berries, but fresh, plump, juicy ripe blueberries. In light of my final absolution of the sins of my culinary past (really, eating toothpaste like candy is a sin,) I bought a quart at farmer's market yesterday. How did I prepare them? Like this:

Lemon Pound Cake with Blueberries and Cream

1 Lemon pound cake [I'd give you the recipe I used, but it wasn't that great and was low calorie.]
1 pint Blueberries [or more if you need more!]
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 cup (8 oz.) Heavy whipping cream [I confess I used fat free cool whip, but you shouldn't]

Whip the cream just to soft peaks. You can sweeten it if you like, but I prefer it straight up. Take 1/2-1 cup of berries (depending on how many plates you're preparing) and place them in the food processor with the lemon juice and sugar; purée until smooth. Assemble your dessert by placing a generous slice of pound cake on a plate. Top cake with a plump dollop of cream, and small handful of fresh berries and a few tablespoons of the sauce you just made. It's fair to note that the color combination of this dessert is delightful, like a little purple pansie (touched with yellow gold . . .) Serve and savor. It's not complex, and even a pound cake is pretty fool proof if you're brave enough to make it instead of buy it. I do think the lemon flavor, however, is pivotal to proper enjoyment, so you'll probably have to make it yourself. So much the better for you.

So, here's to summer, and here's to trying something again and again and again until it hits you just right.


Justin said...

Fun story, James. Thanks for the great recipe, too!

dawneradg said...

Great story to go along with the recipe! I never liked blueberries either until recently. We had a new waffle house open up near us. They serve a "thumbprint" waffle that has lemon curd and blueberries and it is so yummy. My daughter says it is summer on a plate! I will have to try this recipe for our family night!