My interest in food goes back as far as I do: Being hungry is my earliest memory, and the urge to eliminate hunger governed my life. As a small child, I was both greedy and lazy—at least that is what my parents tell me. And as a baby, I didn’t really see the point of walking when I could just continue being carried, as I always had.
Then, one fine summer day in 1974, when I was a little more than a year old, my father placed me in front of a row of raspberry bushes and left me there. Sitting down, I could reach maybe one or two of the beautiful red berries. They were sweet and perfectly ripe. I uttered a demanding sound, as if to say, “More berries!” But there was no one there to obey my commands. If I was going to get more of the juicy berries, I had to stand up. I rose to the occasion, so to speak, and picked a few. And once I was standing, I could see more raspberries, big, crimson red, juicy, velvety raspberries, each one sweeter than the next—just a few feet farther away. I had to choose between my laziness and my hunger. The temptation was too much—hunger won.
When my father peeked around the corner to see how I was doing, he saw me walking to the other side of the bushes as if it were the most natural thing in the world. I held a berry out for him, my face red with juice and full of pride. The berry fell to the ground. I looked and suddenly noticed how far down it was. I stumbled, fell, and started crying. But this time my father didn’t have to pick me up. All he had to do was to point and say, “Look, there’s another one.” And I got up.
The world, it turned out, was packed with good things. But few can compare to the summer weeks, when life revolves around a few raspberry bushes, when you do not even feel guilty for all the things you should have done, the time when nature, in a short burst of energy, hands us the sweetest berries imaginable and people in the coldest country in the world can finally enjoy the reward for all their patience.