I used to earn money for school clothes by picking produce in the summer: beans, raspberries, strawberries. Some of the valley farms would send old buses into town to haul kids out to the fields to work.
Strawberries were the most difficult to pick because of the long, tedious hours bending low under the hot sun over row after row of strawberry plants, or scrubbing along on my hands and knees with my nose nearly in the dirt. The money wasn’t good either, it added up slowly because I was a novice. I envied the speed of the migrant workers. But picking berries offered another payoff: nothing tastes better than a warm, ripe, juicy, sweet field strawberry. I suppose I should make that plural, strawberries, because that would be nearer the truth. Occasionally, when I found a perfect, ruby-red jewel hidden beneath an emerald leaf, I ate it. Maybe that’s why I can’t get good berries at the store, someone out in the field is eating all of the ripe ones before they make it into the box.
This is the time of year I buy truckloads of strawberries looking for those perfect jewels like Jason and the Argonauts questing for the Golden Fleece. If I buy them, I have to use them and I don’t make jam anymore. So I began making strawberry sandwiches a couple of years ago: a dab of butter, a smear of cream cheese and sliced strawberries layered on crustless bread. Yummy. If you cut them into little triangles they taste even better. I thought I had invented them. Ah, the hubris of the ignorant. After an interested query about them on my Ugly Cake post, I decided to Google strawberry sandwiches. I’m not so clever as I thought I was.
Three thousand years ago, Solomon, the wise King of Jerusalem, wrote: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) I wonder if he ever ate strawberry sandwiches.
Apparently, they are only new to me.