Mar 14, 2005

Look at my berries!

Have you ever seen such luscious berries before?

I mean, honestly! I got up this morning bright and surly to make my daughter a better than usual breakfast because it's time for her to start her LEAP testing this week, and I thought it'd be cool to give her what I like for breakfast sometimes, which is a small heap of granola cereal with come plain vanilla yoghurt and some strawberry slices. I know there's a name for a dish like that, but I can't think of it right now, and it's not that important to the story, because what freaked me out is not the granola or the fact that my daughter, sprung from my loins, doesn't like strawberries, no, it's the fact that when I opened the little plastic container that we get strawberries in, it didn't contain regular sized strawberries. No, not at all. When I opened the package the first thing I saw was several freakishly big berries nestled on top of regular sized ones.

Now, I don't know if someone over at the Strawberry Packing Factory got a wild hair and decided to freak some poor consumer out and specially held out four of the biggest freaking berries he could find and then carefully positioned them on top of a package, or if maybe the federal government and the Department of Agriculture and Mutant Fruits is working behind the scenes to produce some sort of giant mutant 50's radioactive crazy food that is gonna turn everyone into rampaging bright red giants, or if I'm just overreacting to a horrible surprise, but let's take a quick comparison here--here's a nice blurry pic of two berries--the one on the right is the size that I'm used to calling "large" and on the left is one of the four Leviathans that was in my package this morning. See?

My parents used to grow strawberries when I was a kid. We had some plants carefully set in a side flowerbed, where it wasn't too hot, wasn't too cold, wasn't overy sunny nor too dark, and they were lovingly watered and tended, and once in a while there'd turn up a sizeable berry, one that managed to survive the birds and the snails and the ravages of weather and insect and rot, and it'd be a lovely thing to behold, and it might be half an inch tall. A big strawberry. And as I got older and accustomed to not living off the land but instead foraging in my local grocery store for sustenance, I got used to seeing oversized foods. Giant cucumbers no longer freaked me out, ears of corn the length of my forearm were commonplace, and oranges that looked like pale basketballs became as expected as cold milk.

Then along came these strawberries, jolting me out of my complacency. My god they're big! I thought for sure this morning that when I opened that container and drew out one of those behemouths that there had been a mistake somewhere and I had instead opened a package of some sort of exotic, externally-seeded apples or something equally Oriental. It's happened before, I've gone in for something as simple as pine-nut pesto and come out with some bizarre green Japanese ultra-screamingly-acid-hot sauce that ended up eating straight through my pasta and right through one of my favourite sauce pans.

It's a dangerous world in the supermarket these days. You can't be too careful with your berries, men.

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