In a home of, literally, thousands of books, I sometimes find it, usually on my serendipitous way to hunting down another title. There is no Dewey Decimal System here. While it's been at least fifteen years since I purchased A Book of Love Poetry, edited by Jon Stallworthy for Oxford University Press, it never fails to set off palpitations the way it did when I first pulled it off the shelf.
It was factory fresh then and free of the yellowing, vignetted pages which one grows fonder of as everything and everyone go through the passage of time. I fan through those pages, snagging a thumb here and there as it lands on the familiar Neruda, Shelley, and Cummings entries; the sorrows and the pities of Hardy and Yeats; and the meandering Baudelaire and Ovid, translated as meanderingly from the Latin without a word spared.
Today I tick off one page, from a Scottish poet I rarely see in print. Edwin Morgan's Strawberries has the power to catch the reader as the glistening small, red fruits catch the eye of the gatherer who crouches to collect them. The verse is sweet and colorful, elusively erotic, and jubilates in elemental love and a love of the elements. It is light and full of vapors both heady and poignant; it is remarkably free of clutter. It has my undying devotion.
I could have agonized over a Charlotte, or fussed with a tray of Linzer Tarts, all gloriously dramatic in their celebrations of romance. Yet it is the simple fold of fruit into cream, and a buttery crumble of cookie on briefly baked berries which I choose to share for the aiming of the arrow. For Strawberries, any other recipe would have been Love's Labour's Lost in the details.
Strawberry Fool - A recipe of ancient provenance in the public domainThis post and these recipes are for Simona of Briciole and Lisa of Champaigne Taste who are co-hosting their quarterly Novel Food, an enduring event featuring appetizing and inspiring meals in the novels, biographies, plays, and poems that we read and relish.
4 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, stemmed, and hulled
1/4 - 1/3 cup superfine sugar
1 cup whipping cream
In a large bowl, toss strawberries in sugar. Let macerate for ten minutes. In meantime, beat the whipping cream in a chilled metal bowl until nearly stiff peaks form. Purée sugared strawberries in a blender. Gently fold purée into whipped cream. Spoon into individual cups for immediate serving or cover bowl to refrigerate.
Easiest Strawberry Crisp - My own idea, although I'm sure it is not original
2 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, stemmed, and hulled
2 large shortbread cookies, crushed
1 small handful walnuts (or other nut of your choice), coarsely chopped
Mix shortbread with nuts. Toss in a dry skillet over low heat until lightly toasted and fragrant. Reserve. Divide strawberries into 2 microwave-safe bowls or ramekins, positioning them with their bottoms up. Microwave very briefly, under a minute, until they have gently collapsed and begin sputtering their juices. Watch carefully; they can turn mushy if cooked a few seconds too long. Remove from microwave (bowls will be hot), and scatter toasted topping over strawberries. Finish with a dash of cinnamon. Serve immediately.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Been There, Done That ~
Yellow Raspberry Rosemary Crisp
Almond Cherry Mini Tarts
Other People's Eats~
Blackberry Fool with Calvados from Yum Sugar
Homemade "Pop Tarts" from Chez Pim
Persimmon Fool from White on Rice Couple
Dried-Fruit Apple Crisp from The Perfect Pantry
Strawberry Jam with Black Pepper and Fresh Mint from Chocolate and Zucchini