For my beloved Brother who introduced me to the art of cooking, who taught me how to taste and truly love food. Without him I'd never be able to be where I am today.

August 9, 2012

My Blueberry Memories

It’s the little things in life that make me happiest. Blueberries are one of them. Sweet, fresh, handpicked blueberries from not further than 10km away. Pure and simple, yet so exquisite and delicious! Exactly the way I like it. After having told you this, you can probably imagine how delighted I was to find an elderly man with a huge case of beautiful dark blueberries in his hands ringing the doorbell.

I’ve always enjoyed blueberries thoroughly. I remember me being about the size of a fire extinguisher, running around the forest next to our house and eating all the blueberries I could possibly find. I absolutely loved how they made my tongue all black. Cheap fun, good times. What’s better than that! As soon as I had thanked the blueberry-man, paid him for his hard work and shut the door behind him, I couldn’t help savoring a handful, and immediately running to my Mum and sticking my tongue out.  As we laughed and recalled the childhood memories together, another funny blueberry related memory came to my mind.

I must have been about ten years old, going to elementary school. In the beginning of August, when school started again after the summer break, the teachers were still nice, stress-free and keen on doing fun things with the pupils. An activity that was definitely a favorite, was going to the forest to do “field work” instead of staying in the hot classroom, learning the names of countless wild flower by heart. In order to make the kids all excited and motivated about the outdoor alternative to classic learning methods, the teachers promised that they’d give us 30 minutes in the end of the lesson to pick as many blueberries as we possible could and then take the stash to the school kitchen where the cooker would reward us by making blueberry pancakes. I don’t know if that was a good enough a carrot for the others, but for me – a little girl with a big appetite – it worked like a charm. There was a condition though. For the class to enjoy those yummy pancakes in the end, we had to swear we wouldn’t eat any blueberries during the actual lesson, neither while picking.

The first part of the condition I sort of understood, but the second part never made any sense to me whatsoever. Blueberries are so healthy and good for you! I mean sure, there wouldn’t be nearly as many blueberries in the basket if all kids would put every other handful in their mouths… Looking at it that way, I can see point. Regardless of the protests of 25 ten-year-olds, the teachers remained firm on both conditions: “If we see any of you eating any blueberries before we’re back at school, no body will get any pancakes at all!” Harsh, but still not harsh enough. What some little villains didn’t think of was that the teachers were a tad smarter and knew exactly how the control the situation.

I remember having a huge crush on this boy in my class and I also remember trying to impress him the best I possibly could. I guess he knew the power he had on me, so he didn’t hesitant taking advantage of it, the vicious little boy that he was. As I was floating somewhere on a pink cloud, day dreaming of my first kiss with this boy, vaguely listening to the teachers talking about some plants, I suddenly heard him call my name. All blushed and nervous, I asked him what he wanted. He dared me to eat blueberries with him and a couple other boys. I knew it meant trouble, but I kept my poker face and accepted the challenge. When the teacher turned her back we ran off further into the forest to perform the little crime. I was ready to show case my fearlessness, when my sweetheart told me that I should go first. The silly little girl with a crush in me obeyed and I did it without hesitation. As soon as I had chewed and gobbled up the handful of blueberries, the boys ran back to the rest of the class and left me standing in the middle of crime scene. All I could hear was their cruel laughter as they caught up the rest of the group. I felt like a total jackass. I couldn’t believe they managed to trick me. Luckily, I hadn’t been away for long enough for the teacher to notice, so I thought I was safe after all. As the lesson and the blueberry picking were over and we headed back to school, the teacher stopped abruptly stopped the platoon: “Time for a check up boys and girls!”. What!? How was I supposed to get away with this one? I had nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. I remember thinking that the teacher was the cruelest woman on the planet when she made each kid open their mouth and stick out their tongue to see if someone had given in to temptation.

My turn was up. I felt like the teacher could smell the shame on me from meter away. “So Edith, will you be the one to blame? You know the whole class will go home without pancakes if you’re tongue is blue.” I stuck out my tongue, looked her straight in her eyes and decided to be honest: “I did it out of love… for blueberries. I just love blueberries too much and I only had one handful. If you want to punish everyone because of me, than fine, but please, just punish me and let the others enjoy the pancakes. I’ll go directly home after school. I’m sorry, I’ll never do it again.” She was speechless. I saw all my classmates holding their breaths. “Fine”, she answered and the class cheered.

I biked home that day with tears in my eyes, but with a clean conscious. When I came home, I told my Mum what had happened. Without a minutes hesitation, my Mum and I ran to the forest, picked some blueberries and made the best pancakes for just the two of us.

1 comment:

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