Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not

The poem.

Tonight I had dessert first. When I was growing up there were two ways to eat blackberries, depending on the time of day you picked them — there was the two-crust pie, if you picked in the afternoon, or the bowl with a dusting of sugar and a dousing of heavy cream for breakfast, if you picked in the morning, or had more than enough for a pie.

So I had breakfast in the evening before the main course. Oh, my. We could only ever have this once or twice in a summer because the plants in my grandfather’s woods didn’t bear more than that, and of course the birds got their share once the berries ripened. I’m jealous of Heaney, who had them for a week.

I got these from the farm truck at the corners here in the little town. I have one more bowl, for tomorrow morning.

And then the main course: yogurt / barley / mint soup. Based on this recipe (from the early days when Moosewood was all about the dairy). I made this a lot in grad school, but this was not something dad cared for. But, as Heaney would say: Summer’s blood was in it.

Don’t skimp on the mint. In grad school, we picked it from the margin of the yard, where it grew wild. Nowadays I buy it from a Hmong grocery.

~ by Servetus on July 27, 2021.

14 Responses to “Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not”

  1. I remember just eating blackberries right during picking. Oh I think I said before not many even made my bucket only then to be ate before we where done picking. I am pretty sure we had blackberry pie as my dad loved pie. Of the berry family blackberries are my least favorite but I do like all berries. Have not been picking them for years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, blackberries are not the most special (I’d go for strawberries or raspberries). We usually had a blackberry pie for my aunt’s birthday in late July.

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      • Raspberries for me. I would take an ice pick and eat the frozen ones that where picked each summer. We walked past my late MIL house on Saturday after my husbands cousins memorial and I really had a hard time not picking a few. No one is living there and it had grow up with weeds etc, but I see the raspberry canes are doing great. My husband did make blackberry wine from some that where in are freezer, they where the last ones my FIL picked with my oldest son. They made a really good wine.

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        • Maybe the neglect is helping them. I don’t suppose you could sneak out there at night with a flashlight and grab a bowlful.

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          • I live 30 minutes away. It also is in a small village with close neighbors. I would rather have some canes to plant. I will just keep buying them in a store.

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  2. That all looks and sounds quite delicious! I love just about all berries and cream but fresh sliced peaches in it are my favorite. Never made blackberry pie even though the fence rows at the farm were covered in wild blackberries — what we didn’t eat fresh got made into jam.

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    • I love peaches but they are not native here. Mom used to freeze them back in the 70s. I will probably do what she did and buy some off a farm truck, but maybe in August.

      We never had enough to make blackberry jam! We were missing out!

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  3. Your meal does look delicious , light and summery. I associate blackberries with the autumn here. We were lucky in that they grew in the garden (the upside of all the brambles) . Heaney’s poem is great and captures those little jolts in childhood when you discover that things don’t last for ever.

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    • If you have a cooler summer, they would come a little later. I think we are having one of the most temperature summers in the US at the moment (it is neither pouring, burning, nor steaming here), so although it’s warmer than normal, everything is more or less on schedule.

      My mom had a similar story to Heaney’s that involved Christmas chocolate (she was saving it up to eat bit by bit and a mouse found her stash) that always makes me cry when I think of it. These recognitions are so central to growing up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am glad the weather is not extreme for you. What a sad story about your mother’s ruined chocolate stash (what could be worse?).
        When I was small I found a branch covered in little caterpillars and put it in a jar near the back door to show my father when he came home. When we looked at it, it was covered with ants who had eaten all the caterpillars. it was horrifying – Salvador Dali would have loved it – but it taught me a life lesson.

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        • Nowadays I suppose we’d just replace the chocolate, but she grew up very poor. Horrible. Also those ants! What were they thinking??

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  4. I had the Moosewood cookbook back in the day

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    • They were really great introductions to cooking without meat, but I had the “back in the day” edition, too — not that I was ever hesitant to put more dairy products in my food, but when you see those now it’s kind of shocking. They’ve been updated in a more vegan direction, I think. But I had three or four of them. This was in “More Recipes from Moosewood.”

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  5. Oh, Blackberries. 🤤

    Liked by 1 person

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