ANAMIKA

'(The Blog) With No Name', perhaps best described as a stream of notes and thoughts - 'remembered, recovered and (sometimes) invented'.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Strawberry Time

I first saw strawberries on the telly, long ago - Wimbledon, rain breaks, folks huddling under umbrellas and picking off those lovely little red heart-shaped fruits from bowls of cream,... One also read in papers how pricey they were.

In those days, strawberries were totally alien to the part of Kerala we used to live in; even strawberry-flavored ice-cream was unknown until I migrated to Chennai (Madras in those days) and checked it out - and was hooked.

While in Chennai, I first heard the song 'Old Summer Wine' which goes: "Strawberries, cherries and the Angel's kissing spring..."; and I have loved it ever since. I also heard a very snappy Tamil film number which somewhere said something like : "those *strawberry eyes*!".

And I remember a rainy evening in Trieste, Italy, more than a decade ago. Walking the lonely streets, I ventured into a brightly lit ice-cream bar and asked the attender - out of my phrase book - "fragOla, per favore!". He (he was a huge guy with an appropriately pink face) corrected me: "no fragOla, frAgola!" and scooped out a coneful of absolutely terrific strawberry gelato.

In hindsight, it is almost incredible that although I have been in Pune for several years now and Mahabaleshwar, the home of Indian strawberries, is close by, I *never* tried the whole fruit till the other day (the brief annual strawberry season is on and they are being sold on the streets). Anticlimax: For all the wonderful jam, juice and ice-cream they generate and flavor, whole strawberries tasted quite sour and uninteresting; indeed they look infinitely better than they taste.

Anyways, I bought a big heap and helped our local guardians clean and cut them and mix with an equal measure of sugar and a smattering of some special ingredients and pack them into a big porcelain jar, where they will rest for three weeks.

It's still January, but I am already waiting for Valentine's day (like strawberries, V-day is another thing I came to know about rather late in life) - to hopefully get drunk on some 'fresh winter wine' - by a potentially delicious coincidence, the 3 week 'vinification period' will get over exactly on Feb 14th.

While on V-day, Geoffrey Chaucer allegedly said something like: "Saint Valantine's day .. every bird cometh...to choose his mate". Well, Valentine's is not only about the birds; it is about the birds and the bees - Sorry!

4 Comments:

  • At 1:23 AM, Blogger enu said…

    A very refreshing post to read this morning!. How often do we miss the small pleasures of life, caught in the tradmill of daily existence!

     
  • At 12:37 AM, Blogger Karthik said…

    That song "Strawberry Kanne" is from the film "Minsara Kanavu" starring Aravind Swamy, Prabhu DEva and Kajol...aaawwww...even i miss strawberry...have u tasted mangostien?

     
  • At 8:17 AM, Blogger R.Nandakumar said…

    thanks and welcome back enu.

    and thanks karthik for visiting. and if i remember right, even "mukkala mukkabla" from 'kaadalan' too has something on 'strawberry eyes', whatever they mean.

    yes, mangostein is familiar though not intimately so.

     
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