Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Temptation of Fruit

So I’ve been shopping at the Market Basket, as it is the closest supermarket to my new swingin’ single pad. It’s quite an adjustment from shopping at Shaw’s and Whole Foods. While I find Whole Foods to be a harrowing experience, what with the permissive mothers calling out to their Jacobs and Isobellas in a futile attempt to control their offspring, but that was nothing compared with Market Basket. Everyone has a huge cart full of food and babies who are screaming to get out. There should be a ticket machine like the deli has at the produce section. But it actually smells better at Market Basket than at the deli section at the Shaw’s in Back Bay (rankest place in Boston!) and Market Basket sells the best strawberries in Boston.

I have not had strawberries that taste this good in a long, long time. I saw the pound (yes, one pound in weight) of strawberries sitting in the produce section, so I dodged some carts to get near them. The strawberries looked fine from above. I picked up the clear container and looked at the bottom. There was no sign of mushiness or rotting. What the hell, I thought, and took them home.

I figured I’d find the rotten ones in the middle of the huge container, and that I’d probably get a half pound worth of edible strawberries for my $3, which was fine. But as I took handfuls of berries out to wash, I didn’t find one rotten spot in any of them. The berries were huge and red, and firm as I rinsed them off. Unable to resist, I grabbed one and ate it while I washed.

Perfect. Firm to the bite, just juicy enough to force me to catch the juice as it ran down my chin, and flavorful. Many supermarket strawberries look beautiful but taste like Styrofoam once you get them into your mouth. Not these. Where did they come from, these great strawberries? How come no other grocery store in Boston can manage to get respectable strawberries in stock, never mind for such a low price. How do they do it? As a kid, my mother warned me to stop eating so many strawberries because I’d break into hives. Now I have to remember that warning, because I’m eating those glories with every meal. I smear a couple with Nutella with my bowl of cereal. I just ate a cup of them with my lunch. I’ll probably have them as a pre-bedtime snack. I can’t wait to go back for more, but I’m also afraid. What if my pound of heaven was just a fluke? What if the next truckload is full of the typical rotted red mess that grocers try to pass as strawberries?

I guess it’s just a risk I’ll have to take, because these strawberries are phenomenal. Maybe I’ll even make a shortcake this weekend if I’m feeling sassy.

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