Monday, July 21, 2008

Nouveau Riches

Yesterday afternoon I went out to the berry patch and began to pick some alpine strawberries for dessert last night.  The alpines are small berries, both white and red, that are very tasty, yet very, very small.  I enjoy them immensely.  It took not all afternoon by any means, but certainly quite a few minutes to pick a tight little bowl of the fragrant berries. 

As I was hunched down trying to concentrate on the small jewels, I thought back to the day I bought the plants.  The nursery-woman remarked that Thomas Jefferson enjoyed a bowl full of them for breakfast often.  As I have never seen alpine strawberries sold in the farmers markets much less in the grocery store, growing them yourself and having someone pick them for you is your best option.  This makes them all the more precious.
As it took very little of my brain to pick I had quite a bit of capacity left to ponder the present state of our culture.  What I came up with was a great sadness, that the sign of great success and great wealth in our country is no longer a bowl of alpine strawberries grown for you and picked for you and placed before you in a lovely bowl at your breakfast table, but rather a fast car.  
This is sad to me as a bowl of fresh berries is the ultimate luxury; the ne plus ultra that few could attain, yet all would desire.  Possibly our present housing slump / recession / banking crisis could have been avoided had the Thomas Jeffersons of our day been planting berries on their estates and not sowing the seeds of financial largesse. 
The best part of the  alpine luxury vision is that the mere mortals of the world such as ourselves could cheat a bit up the social ladder by planting such berries and picking them ourselves.   Not the same as having the manservant bring them to us on a silver salver, but enjoyable for sure.

I recommend a bowl when you can find them.  Few things in life can match them for flavor and for the unmatched scent of fresh berries.  A fast car is pretty fun too though.

1 comment:

  1. There are few things finer than summer's gift of a bowl of berries--toss in cream and angels will likely fight you for the bowl-- add shortcake to the equation and it's no contest.
    TC at TallCloverFarm


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