I have a lot of memories of cooking from when I was a child. Most of them include my father, however there are a few that don’t. These include:
1.) Making a “stock” with my sister which really just included putting a bunch of herbs into water and bringing it to a boil. It smelled heavenly and tasted like herby water. We used the same approach when making “perfume”, putting a bunch of our neighbor’s rose petals into water and leaving out on the back deck to meld. Both were epic fails.
2.) Attempting what I think was a lemon meringue pie. Again with my sister, my best friend Clare and our neighbor Nicole. We spilled a full cup of sugar on the floor and didn’t understand what the recipe meant when it called for beating the egg whites into stiff peaks. When my dad got home you could literally hear the crunch of the uncleaned up sugar beneath his shoes. He was unimpressed. Another fail. I wonder if Sarah remembers either of these instances?
3.) The last cooking memory inspired this salad. I don’t know where the original recipe came from. So many of my childhood memories are hazy but for some reason this one is sharp and in focus. I remember slicing the strawberries, adding the zest and juice and devouring it. Success!
It took me over 20 years to attempt this recipe again but it was worth the wait. Last weekend we went to Safeway hungry, which led us to believe we needed a whole crate of strawberries. As the week wore on we’d made a very small dent in the fruit. To be honest they were a little tart seeing that it’s still early in the season. I put a few in our morning smoothies but by Saturday night I knew it was now or the freezer.
That’s when this strawberry salad recipe came rushing back to me. I added a little mint and if you’re feeling saucy you can also add a thickened, good quality balsamic but Michael didn’t think it needed it.
He loved it just as it was. I loved it. And the 8 years old in the kitchen probably would have smiled if she could glance 20 some odd years into the future and see adult Lisa making this same dish.
Strawberries are in season, and it’s a short season. Get on it!
Enjoy and Exhale!