Growing up, I often spent a week or two each summer with Grandma Annie. I was a morning person then, as I am now, and while my energy level was high after breakfast, it flagged after lunch.
Summer afternoons were long and languid. I would loll around the sunny living room while Annie would alternately watch soap operas, entertain her female friends, or chat on the phone. She, too, spent much of the afternoon recovering from the morning’s chores, although her knitting and mending were always close at hand.
Annie's conversations often involved food, more specifically, what was in season at local markets. In those days, local sources included about a dozen strawberry patches or “pick your own” strawberry farms.
Strawberries were a big deal. So was strawberry shortcake. Making it for dessert was a ritual for both Grandma Annie and her son-in-law, my father.
Now everyone has his or her own way of making strawberry shortcake. Some people must have fresh whipped cream and made-from-scratch angel-food or sponge cake. (My father liked his “cake” made with biscuit mix – this from a chef – gasp!)
Others don’t mind resorting to store-bought ingredients and pre-made whips from cans or cartons. I have a confession to make: A week or so I was charged with bringing the makings for strawberry shortcake to a girlfriends’ gathering. Jet lagged, I opted for the store-bought approach and nobody minded.
My husband prefers his strawberry shortcake with angel-food cake.
“Store-bought is fine,” he says. “I couldn’t tell the difference between sponge cake and angel-food cake, to tell you the truth. It’s not one of my priorities.”
I’ll eat strawberry shortcake when it is served to me, but I prefer my strawberries with only sour cream and brown sugar. I use a Splenda and brown sugar mix, which turns the sour cream into a carmel-y affair (see photo below). Sometimes I add blueberries, too.
The strawberry desserts above are from the window of a LeNotre near the Bastille. I thought a really scrumptious photo was in order, since today my blog celebrates one year of posts.
Yup, one year ago today on a Sunday afternoon, I sat down at my iMac to start “French Kitchen in America.”
I had no idea where I was going with it. I only knew that I wanted my journalism students to blog and in order to do that, I had to try it myself.
Here we are, 12 months and nearly 250 posts later. Thank you to all of you who visited and offered words of encouragement, especially last fall when the iMac was down for repairs for nearly three weeks and recently, when the daily grind has kept me from visiting your sites (one more week and life should be back to normal).