To my grandmother, tiny, first-of-the-year strawberries were the luxury foods of her adopted country, meant to be savored slowly, open-faced on fresh corn-rye bread thickly spread with sweet butter and sprinkled with sugar. Not for her those seasonless behemoths whose hard white hearts you need an apple corer to remove.
Later on, as June warmed and local strawberries grew more plentiful and cheaper at her fruit market, Grandma would serve them with thick sour cream or heavy sweet cream, roll them in a blintz, and even, for special occasions like Shavuot, add them to an extravagant fruit soup.
This soup has several layers of flavor, derived from the tea, juice, and many kinds of fruit—fresh and dried—used in it. But it is the sweet melting strawberries that make it taste extraordinary.
© 2000 Jayne Cohen. All rights reserved.