Bring Me Berries

Appears in

Kitchen of Light: New Scandinavian Cooking

Kitchen of Light

By Andreas Viestad

Published 2003

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.

    In this section