In our mountainside garden, I was thrilled yesterday to see the first strawberry blossom. Strawberries are not far behind! In fact, the markets are full of them, if I’m too impatient to wait for my own crop to grow.
Stepping back to 1917, here’s our gal Bettina’s favorite strawberry recipe, shared with her friend Charlotte in the enchanting book A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband by Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron, illustrated by Ethelind Ridgway.
“I’ve been to the market, Bettina,” said Charlotte, “and I thought I’d stop here just a moment to rest.”
“Come in,” said Bettina, “and set that heavy basket down. Why didn’t you leave it for Frank to bring?”
“Because I needed the things for dinner.”
“What did you get?”
“Oh, the same old fresh vegetables,” said Charlotte wearily. “A month ago they seemed so wonderful–strawberries, asparagus, new potatoes and all–but there are no new ways to cook them! One day I cream the asparagus and the next day I serve it on toast.”
“Do you ever make asparagus salad?” asked Bettina. “We are very fond of it. Cold cooked asparagus is good with any kind of salad dressing, but we like best a very simple kind that I often make–oil and lemon juice and cheese.”
“Cheese?” echoed Charlotte in surprise.
“Yes, cottage cheese and Roquefort cheese are equally good. And, Charlotte, if you want some delicious strawberry desserts–”
“Oh, I do! We’re so tired of shortcake and plain strawberries!”
I know several good strawberry dishes. Come, let me show you one that I made today!”
BETTINA’S STRAWBERRY TAPIOCA
3 Tbs granulated tapioca
4 TBS sugar
1-1/4 cup hot (boiling) water
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
Wash and hull the strawberries, and cut in halves with a spoon. Add the cup of sugar, mix well, and set in a cold place. Mix the tapioca, the 4 Tbs. sugar, and the salt. Add the boiling water slowly. Cook ten minutes in the upper part of a double boiler. Add the vanilla. When cold, add the strawberries. Serve very cold with plain or whipped cream.
Are you a strawberry fan? What’s your favorite way to serve strawberries? Please share it in a comment!