January is hardly the time to seek out fresh strawberries, as growers reach deeper into their refrigerators to salvage the remnants of a crop long past. On optimistic days I might hope that perhaps the supply has somehow improved, based on the vibrant colors and unblemished skins presenting themselves through their plastic carton, taking a gamble and trying again. Looks are only skin-deep with every new batch, and the taste, if at all present, inevitably leaves one disappointed.
Does this mean that my strawberry craving will have to go unfulfilled until the arrival of spring? Well, for the most part I suppose so, but that doesn’t mean I can’t treat my eyes to the joy of this fragile and finicky fruit. The ruby red jewels for sale at the grocery store may as well be made of yarn for all their flavor! In fact, thinking this over as I held a deceptively succulent-looking container in my hand, that wasn’t such a bad idea in the first place.
Pulling an old favorite recipe out of my file, I whipped up a fresh strawberry shortcake, topping it with ornate designs in pure white frosting and all of the gorgeous berries that my heart desired. Lovely as it was, I would never dream of putting it in my mouth, which could be the moral of the story here. I do love to make food that is pleasing to the eye, but the most artfully prepared dish could just as well taste like… Well, acrylic yarn. At the same time, thousands of other meals are being written off just because they’ve got a bad case of the uglies.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll hunker down with a big bowl of sloppy lentils and wait for the seasons to turn before tempting fate attempting to buy berries again, all the while jealously eyeing my beautiful cake.