Saturday, January 1, 2022

Not My Daddy's Strawberries

California strawberry field

The strawberry fields Hubby and I encountered on our Fall 2021 adventures in California had no resemblance to the four rows of strawberry plants my father nurtured in the back yard of my childhood home.

His strawberries were pristine red jewels.

They sparkled among the rich green strawberry plants on garden rows heavily mulched with dark brown pine straw.

On early spring mornings I would dash out the back door barefoot and in my pajamas to pick the ripe, bright red strawberries. I would hustle back inside with my bucket of freshly picked strawberries.

Mother would send me to my room to get dressed for school while she meticulously pinched off the green leaves and stems.

Those leaves and stems were part of my love of strawberries. To me they looked like cute little caps for elves. 

By the time I made it back to her side, she had washed the berries and used a fork to mash them. She added generous sugar, mixed well, put two of those store-bought shortcakes in a soup bowl and poured the smushed berries and juice over the cakes.

I was well into middle age before I stumbled upon the concept of "maceration," the official word for what I thought of as Mother's magic: her creation of that abundant, delicious red liquid that appeared when she added sugar to the mashed berries. 

That magic liquid thoroughly soaked my two shortcake cups and sent my taste buds into ecstasy. And usually there were enough ripe strawberries that my parents and I could enjoy the strawberry magic for dessert after supper. 

My parents had vanilla ice cream in their cupcakes with just a spoonful of strawberries on top. I, however, once again scarfed  down two cupcakes drenched with abundant strawberries and juice.

As I typed this, it occured to me for the first time ever, that their smaller strawberry servings were so that I could pig out.  

Yes, I admit it. I was definitely a spoiled--and happy--child. 



  1. Now that does sound tasty. Home grown strawberries or even raspberries taste so much better than anything grown commercially .

  2. daddt grew 95 % of what we ate but never strawberries. we did for 3 years in ky have access to strawberries grown by one of our church memebers and walking distance to our home. we would go as a family of four to pick buckets full for mama to preserve. I put one in my mouth and 1 in my bucket. yum. this is a priceless memory from your child hood

  3. Ummmm yummmm, there is nothing like home grown strawberries. Its a taste that store bought will never be!!!
    Your parents spoiled you but that's the way family is and now you have those tender memories.
    My folks had strawberries too..I think I may have done the same thing.
    Now I am wishing and dreaming.
    Happy New Year dear blogging friend.

  4. I am almost to the point of drooling as I read this!

  5. Hardly spoiled. Those were the pleasures of our youth. I love strawberry shortcake and now I'm figuring about how to make one. Alas, there are no strawberries in New York in January that would make it worthwhile. Happy new year!

  6. oh, that's not fair.
    Talking about gloriously ripe and juicy strawberries in the middle of when all that's on offer here are hard, unripe fruits from somewhere far far away from here.

  7. Now I want a bowl of strawberries so bad that I can almost taste them!!!