On Saturday we got it into our heads that it would be a great idea to go pick our own strawberries at a local farm. Because that would be a great way to spend a morning! And we all love strawberries! Right? Sure!
Okay, so, the first problem was that MY CHILDREN ARE TRYING TO KILL ME. And after begging to go berry picking they then refused to get ready to go and then took out everything they own and left it on the floor upstairs. At least, that’s what it looked like. So I had one of those really charming teachable moments where, instead, I had a GIANT HAIRY HISSY FIT (that’ll learn ’em!) and declared that we were going nowhere. In fact, we’d never have strawberries again, if that was how they were going to be! WE’LL JUST NEVER DO ANYTHING FUN!
Sometimes I wonder if during my hysterectomy they forgot to remove the PMS. The alternative is that I just happen to be a melodramatic shrew, and that can’t be possible. Ahem.
Anyway, there was some crack diplomatic maneuvering from Otto on both sides of the issue, and after a while we were all headed out to pick the damn berries with joy in our hearts, or at least tears dried. And a two-inch coating of sunscreen.
So we drove and drove and drove and drove until we got out to the farm, and then we headed out into the rows of plants with our buckets, and that’s when the day of fun really got underway—we spent hours lovingly selecting just the perfect berries for our consumption.
Ahahahahahahaha! Oh, sorry. Did you think I was serious? Guess how long it takes to pick two gallons of strawberries. Go on, guess! That’s right. About six minutes. Three of which are spent with one child whining “I can’t find any!” while the other child chucks half-rotted berries into the bucket because “You can just cut that little bad part off for me, it’s okay.”
MAGIC, people. THE JOY OF FAMILY TOGETHERNESS.
You can work up a powerful hunger picking berries for all those hundreds of seconds, you know, so we decided to go out to lunch. Continuing in our recent tradition of bad restaurant karma, our waitress forgot we existed and the one member of our party least able to wait patiently for his food (really, Otto, GROW UP) was treated to the last plate out, and it turned out to be the wrong order. See, when I order a “number 4” for my scrawny 8-year-old who’s small enough to be an average 6-year-old, I kind of figure that the waitress will realize I mean a number 4 from the CHILDREN’S MENU. But apparently Monkey looked like he was ready to pound back an entire Mexican platter twice the size of his head. Oooookay. The wrong food was removed and he was told his food would be RIGHT OUT.
We three offered him bits of our food, but he sat slumped in his chair, whining that life was terribly unfair. And then a waitress came flying out with a plate of food for him!
Which was still not what we’d ordered.
And Monkey began to cry.
It all got straightened out and he ate himself into a stupor, eventually, but I think I’ve decided not to dine out with the children anymore until they’re both eighteen or I’ve had a lobotomy.
We then stopped at the grocery store for a few things and headed home to make ice cream. I am now seriously considering buying an old-fashioned hand-crank ice cream maker, because as much as I love my electric one—and I do love it, deeply—it does nothing to assuage the litany of “Can I help? I want to help!” cries that go up around each ice cream making session. Because no, you cannot help whip the eggs, because I would like the eggs in the ice cream rather than all over the counter, and no, you cannot pour the mixture into the TEENY TINY HOLE on the ice cream maker’s cover, because I can barely manage that without spilling, and no, I can not hold you up for forty five minutes so that you can stare into the lid and ask me every two minutes if it’s done yet. SHEESH.
In other news, the Ben & Jerry’s cookbook remains one of my most treasured possessions, and although my last year’s favorite was the Lemon Daiquiri Ice, now I can vouch for the strawberry banana ice cream, too. (P.S. Even better with mini chocolate chips!) Besides, making your own ice cream and sorbet is a tremendous pain in the ass but totally neutralizes all of the calories, I’m sure.
Once the ice cream was finished (and set aside for dessert after dinner), that had taken care of about a cup of the strawberries. Which left just… ummm… hang on, I can do the math in my head, sort of… carry the four… ummmm… right, it left FIFTY THOUSAND CUPS OF STRAWBERRIES I had to deal with.
Being the prompt and attentive person that I am, I left the buckets on the counter and went about the rest of my day. Why, it was about 10:30 at night when I figured out I still needed to, you know, DO SOMETHING with them. Which is how I ended up standing at the sink, slicing and packaging berries when I should’ve been sleeping.
On Sunday I baked strawberry bread—an innocuous-looking concoction wherein a single loaf of bread ends up weighing twelve pounds, somehow—and we ate that and yogurt with strawberries and more ice cream, and this morning Otto put strawberries on his cereal and I packed strawberries in the kids’ lunches. I predict the complaints will start up by tomorrow.
MAGIC, I tell you.