God’s best berry

May 18, 2013 

Every spring nature decrees that one’s fancy shall turn to pleasant thoughts of birds and butterflies, the opening of flowers, the warm caress of sunshine, fishing and strawberries, not necessarily in that order. As has been said: “Doubtless, God could have made a better berry, but doubtless, God never did.”

It is estimated that around 1.3 million tons of red ripe and delicious strawberries will be produced in the fields and gardens of America this year in the annual, ever futile attempt to satisfy the public’s craving for this fresh fruit in jams, desserts and milkshakes.

During the spring of each year, there will come the confrontation of strawberry lovers, the reawakening of a centuries-old argument as to which is the preferable form of strawberry shortcake: the sponge cake version or the biscuit version. This argument also asks this question of faithful strawberry lovers: Should such desserts be served with whipped cream, or is ice cream preferable?

Purists brush these arguments aside to insist that it is impossible to improve on the taste of a wild strawberry, sweet and ripe, fresh plucked from the vine, rating it as among the most delightful of springtime treats. These same aficionados also consider the larger and more spectacular commercial version of strawberries as an insult to the palate. They say such hybrids have been bred and marketed for visual appeal at the cost of flavor and sweetness. But only God who made the berry knows if man has made it better.

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