This installment of marycake is dedicated, with (spurned) affection, to Marnie, Eric, Jasper and Molly.
On our recent trip to Chelan with our Aussies, we listened to Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks. In the throws of her first crush, Rosalind, the eldest child of the Penderwick family, tells herself she would never stoop to using food to attract a boy’s attention. She assures herself of this as she places a yellow bow on a package of still-warm brownies she will soon be delivering to a handsome boy.
Rosalind is touching in her adolescent self-deception. But when it comes to using food as human fly paper, I am without adorable illusions about my own character. I have or will use snacks to attract boys, women, men, (gay or straight) girls, babies, and once, an otter – also possibly gay – that wandered into my backyard pond.* If I want you to like me, I will wave food in your face. And if you are my Australian friends of previous posting fame, who made me love them and then walked out on me – divorced me, really** – I will lure you with Slut Red Raspberries in Chardonnay Jelly.*** I didn’t invent the name but oh, oh, how I wish I had.
If that dessert wouldn’t get anyone to come hithering back to Olympia where raspberries grow like hotcakes (you know what I mean; I make a lot of pancakes) then what would? My friends live in Melbourne and grow citrus in their backyard, so I do see the draw of the place: tangelemons, orangelos, limegerines, ALL SORTS of juicy delights and yet, these people are still putty in the wee, thorny hands of the Northwest’s crowning glory.
I know! Just last week, I proclaimed strawberries the grand dame of Northwest fruit, but allow me to be clear: strawberries are a pleasure of springtime. Raspberries are Summer. When you live somewhere with this much persistent cloud cover, the arrival of summer doesn’t always seem inevitable. Raspberries mean the sun is showing its face and God doesn’t hate us after all. Marnie, an atheist, says that if she were going to believe in God, the raspberry would confirm that deity’s existence. I say we have permission – believers and skeptics alike – to be greedy for the sweet, fleeting weeks before raspberries give way to the (also delicious and praise-worthy) more sobering blueberry which says not “Summer,” but “Summer’s Decline (and all the usuals about your mortality).”
But there will be plenty of time to speak at length – and I will – about blueberries. But is there ever enough time to eat raspberries? That is a rhetorical question…which I will now answer: No, as you lustily make your way through the rows of vines, you will hear, always, time’s winged chariot catching up with you. So make haste. As with basking in the company of those you adore, we all crave more time.
*The otter was excellent practice for my second daughter who also likes sardines and is also fine if you just set the plate on the ground. The otter ate all our koi first though.
**They moved back to Australia. Mean, I know.
***Nigella Lawson adapted this recipe sent to her by a friend traveling around – where else? – Australia.