about bliss

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

berry bliss

1890 watercolor painting from wikipedia, from the National Agricultural Library of the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.

I've waxed poetic about strawberries before...and I've been waiting a very long time, about 11 months, to experience berry bliss yet again. I was worried that the torrential rainfall and flooding would drown the berries or turn them into a watery mess, but behold, the season's first fruit...

My friend B brought me a handful of berries from the farmer's market (which I missed because I was teaching Upward Bound students how to read a poem), and I waited until after dinner to taste the first one. The color--plush red. The fragrance--warm and floral. The texture--melting and soft. The flavor--delicate, nuanced, and sweet. Ahhh!

And so I tucked the remaining berries back in the fridge, and when I returned home from class (teaching college students the satiric pleasures of Candide), I spooned some plain cream top brown cow yogurt in a bowl, topped it with sliced berries, and a sprinkle of turbinado sugar. Oh holy bliss.

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a colleague about why I only eat local strawberries. She was confused and I don't think my tentative explanations--of something I'm so passionate about--made a dent in her consciousness. How do I have food politics discussions without seeming pretentious or elitist? How can I communicate my passion for eating locally, seasonally, ecologically, and deliciously, without alienating people I care about in some capacity, and don't want to offend?

And I'm saddened that the berries don't speak for themselves. How many people have REALLY tasted a strawberry as it's meant to taste? Not bred for travel and color only, not communicated via "natural" or artificial flavors, but the berry itself, in its most berry-ness state of being.

I want, to quote Alice Waters, a delicious revolution for everyone. And berry bliss galore:)


  1. Hmmm. Maybe that's the problem, that people haven't really tasted a fresh, local berry before? I don't mean they've never eaten them, but have they taken the time to taste, and then taste a supermarket one? Maybe we could do something like that for the local food fest--a taste testing booth.

    I remember collecting wild strawberries with my mom when I was a kid--so tiny, but oh so delicious. I'd take a small bowl of those over a bushel of supermarket berries!

  2. I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.