It began with an overflowing quart of some of the most beautiful, ruby red strawberries I have ever seen. Tiny, bursting fruit begging to be eaten tonight. At their very peak of ripeness, warning, "Don't wait! We'll be soggy and bruised by tomorrow!"
There was also the problem with my oven. It wasn't working.
Not to mention my utter exhaustion from working far to many hours on my feet selling t-shirts to rabid tourists all clamoring for souvenirs to commemorate their vacations on Cape Cod. For the past few weeks, I have been held hostage inside a busy shop on Main Street instead of lounging on the beach and creating concoctions in the kitchen. It's sad, very sad.
That is why I had to resort to the simplest but by far the best method of all to enjoy these sweeties before Ava swooped into the kitchen to snatch another and another into her mouth, her fingers already stained red from their juices, revealing her thievery.
But first, I called Val to make sure she would be available to partake. After all, I have her to blame for introducing this decadent recipe when my sister, brother and I were children. Of course she would make a stop over after a long day of painting the trim on her house, her arms smeared with green paint, her body exhausted, she would not miss enjoying this treat that truly comes but once a year. As it can only be reproduced with the finest, local, fresh and sweet berries, the kind that are as deep red on the inside as they are on their surface. The window of opportunity is short especially this year as many strawberry crops in the area were hampered by the rough snowy winter of 2015.
Val arrived as I cleared away the dinner dishes and placed small glass bowls on the table. We sliced the berries into each dish and sprinkled them with sugar. Next, each portion received a splash of cold, heavy cream. We ate the soft berries floating in their rich bath in silence only to pause to add a bit more sugar or cream to taste.
I realized in that moment, it all works out: the oven, the job, the moment I happened upon the strawberries at the farmers' market that very afternoon. It all came to together. The simplest of desserts. The simplest moment. Divine.