Thursday, August 14, 2008

berry berry good

Hello, hello.

Sorry for the summer-long hiatus. Though even fun things like food blogging are postponed when you're traveling and internet cafes cost many euros to use.

First of all, let me talk about arctic raspberries. I had the privilege to visit Northern Sweden. A little girl was poking about the bushes near the beach (yes, there are beaches up there, too), and I asked her if she was eating wild blueberries (which grown in profusion there). She said no, and showed me these tiny red berries that looked slightly like raspberries, but not.

At this point I would usually show you a picture of them, but between no batteries for the digital camera and the swiftness of me bringing the little suckers into my mouth left no opportunity for it. The flavor was amazing -- sweet and complex. The most complex berry taste I've ever eaten. The flavor had an outright melody which sang on my taste buds. They call it the "king of berries." And I though acai was good. Every year at the Nobel dinner they serve an arctic raspberry dessert.

Then, O and I picked several liters of wild blueberries. Let me tell you, earth to kitchen food is absolutely amazing. The story goes as this. We arrived in Northern Sweden at the country house owned by O's father's side of the family. It's all very quaint. Each family owns a little red house with separate kitchens on the property. O came back to me and said, "Did you know that Gudrun (his aunt) and Björn (his uncle) had picked 25 liters of blueberries? I went into their house and their grand daughters (ages 3 and 5) are sitting there naked eating huge bowls of blueberries."

Seriously, that's the way to do it. So with complete blueberry envy, and these nifty wild blueberry contraptions (blueberry scoopers). We headed out into the woods. Some weird has happened to me since my move to Sweden. I can actually identify plants by their leaf shape. No, this is not a conscious analytical skill, it's an immediate recognition, "That's a wild blueberry plant."

I can tell you that we did not pick 25 liters of wild blueberries. More like half a liter, perhaps.

Later on Gudrun imparted her secrets to us, involve hand techniques with scoopers, and "location, location, location." So the next time we went out, there was no more lackadaisical day dreamy blueberry picking. There was only: scoopscoopscoopscoop. And we brought back a hefty amount home for regular eating of blueberry soup (crush wild blueberries with sugar and milk) and wild blueberry pancakes, and muffins, and blueberry everything. Did I mention blueberry is one of my favorite berries?