Angels of the Earth

"Strawberries are the angels of the earth, innocent and sweet, with green leafy wings reaching heavenward." - Jasmine Heiler

If you've no time to track the growing seasons of your favorite produce, I've got a simple indicator that was once shared with me by an accomplished cook. And it's a simple observation to make. Watch the prices. They drop noticably during peak season. It's simple supply and demand. A robust harvest of fresh mango will likely drive the price down to 69 cents a piece. (I suggest avoiding them them when they're $2.19 each - scarcity is not a good thing when it comes to off-season produce.)

Defering our gratification until "just the right time" is not an easy task for fruit and vegetable lovers. Anyone who stands in the produce section of the grocery store and stares down a $5 carton of strawberries understands the dilema. Shall we overpay for produce whose time has not really come - at least not yet? I'm guilty of weakness here. More than once I've scolded myself after indulging in off-season impulse consumption. That pineapple was NOT worth $8!

The good news? Every fruit has its day and this day-week-month belongs to the strawberry. The bottom dropped out of the prices this week. I saw the sign from a distance at the grocery store. $1 per pound. I couldn't get enough. Seriously, I bought 6 pounds and will likely go back for more. I wish I could say I've used them for strawberry muffins, strawberry & spinach salads, strawberry smoothies, etc. But honestly, they disappear straight from the colander almost as soon as they are rinsed. Pure, perfect, unadulterated sweetness - cheap and in season!

Welcome home, kids. Hungry?

My kids were away on mission trips over Spring Break. Not a bad way for four American teenagers to spend their free time. I retrieved two of them from our church parking lot this afternoon after a 35 hour bus ride home from Matamoras, Mexico, where they built houses and did street evangelism all week. They were exhausted, dirty, hungry - and glowing. There is, I believe, an inevitable change that occurs in the hearts of young people when they step outside their own comfortable worlds and engage in activities that serve the physical and spiritual needs of others. Very quickly they come to view the world differently - and I'm so grateful for it.

"What would you like to eat?" I asked them. "I'll make you anything you want. Pot roast? Fried Chicken?"
"We want something light - fresh," they both replied.
We opted for our favorite summertime take-out meal (for which I take no credit at all).
Publix makes a fabulous summer salad called, well, the "Summer Salad." It's outstanding. It contains an enormous bed of mixed greens, sliced turkey, blue cheese crumbles, sliced strawberries, mandarin oranges, chopped apples and heavily sugared pecans. You drizzle the whole thing with a delicious Citrus-Herb dressing. We add a large loaf of crusty french bread, a gallon of sweet tea and call it a meal. Simple and yummy.

Welcome home, kids. You look the same, but I know you're different. Life is good.