I still have vivid memories of when I was a little girl, sitting around the kitchen table at my grandparents’ house in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. They had this white round table (very modern), with a single round navy blue placemat that lived in the center. There was always a set of salt and pepper shakers and a few paper napkins strewn on top of that placemat. I can still picture the salt and pepper shakers, from Dansk, walnut and brushed stainless. My grandmother loved kitchenwares from Dansk. Pretty cool if you ask me. We would all squeeze in together around the table to enjoy whatever treat my grandmother had prepared. We ate for sport. We ate because my grandmother told us to, and we ate because frankly, it’s what we all loved to do most.
Some of our best eating was done sitting around that kitchen table enjoying an afternoon Scrabble game. The ladies in my family are vicious Scrabble players. I used to think they made up half the words, cheaters! My mother is the best Scrabble player alive. She’ll tear you to shreds. She wins every game. She whips my husband into a frenzy, crushing him at Words with Friends. I often hear him scream out “I hate your mother! She just got 52 points for the word cat!”
My grandmother could never sit down for an entire game. She was up and down the whole time, putzing at the stove or mixing up some concoction. The only time my grandmother could be still for more than 5 minutes was when Another World was on. I think it’s the only time she ever shh’d me as a child. She’d sit in her den, leaning forward towards the TV, engrossed like it was the President giving a speech. She’d munch on roasted cashews and sip her afternoon coffee, content to sit for that hour of the afternoon, undisturbed.
The simplicity of life at my grandparents’ makes me smile. For so many of us, the appreciation of a single moment during the day can get lost along the way. When was the last time any of us actually sat down for an hour? With the first patch of strawberries ready a little early at Manoff Farms, I couldn’t help but pull together this quick dessert. You see, store-bought pound cake is one of the best cheats. I learned this from my grandmother, too. Fresh fruit, pound cake and a little homemade whipped cream (it must be homemade)… what could be easier or more scrumptious?
INGREDIENTS (Serves about 4-6)
- 1 quart fresh strawberries
- Sliced fresh pound cake
- 1/2 pint heavy cream
- 4 tsp sugar, divided
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 tbsp water
To make the whipped cream, place the heavy cream, 2 tsp of sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip to soft peaks. I don’t like to make my whipped cream very sweet. If you prefer it sweeter, just increase the amount of sugar.
Slice the berries in half or quarters depending on their size, and place in a bowl. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tsp of sugar over of the berries and drizzle a couple of tablespoons of water over top. Toss the berries together, cover and place in the refrigerator. The combination of the sugar and water will macerate the berries and make a delicious sweet juice in the bottom of the bowl. You should taste the berries to see how sweet they are. You can add a little more sugar if needed.
To serve, place a slice of pound cake on a plate, top with the berries and a generous dollop of whipped cream. Nothing fancy, just simply delicious.