Berry Pies & Being Rich

It was pouring down rain this morning as we, raincoat-clad, approached our little town’s farmer’s market, but the trip was worth it. We picked up our weekly CSA veggies, received two fresh bulbs of garlic as a belated birthday present, and ran into one of J’s former students. Then, huddled under a leaking tent, we saw a hand-written sign: Blueberries. $4/pint. Buy 1 Get 1 Free. Considering the price of local berries, I really didn’t believe my eyes, as the saying goes. So I asked to make sure. Yep. BOGO blueberries.

Does life get any better than that?

I love blueberries.

Love them.

I can’t wait until the day when we have our own blueberry bushes and I don’t have to ration myself. But that day is not today. Today, they were buy-one-get-one.

We bought four pints–four!–planning to freeze them, to make an exciting treat in the middle of winter when chemical-laden, grocery store berries from Argentina are exorbitantly priced. (Not that I have strong feelings about this or anything.)

So, we thought, let’s get that freezer stocked!

Riiiiight.

Instead, J made us a gorgeous blueberry pie, courtesy of Alice Waters and her Art of Simple Food.

My love extends to blueberry pie, and we never eat it. (I have a hard time stomaching a pie whose innards cost us fifteen bucks. This time—six!)

As I type this, the pie is downstairs cooling. In about half an hour, we’re headed over to our friends’ house to share in the blueberry bounty.

And now we come to the occasion for the blog post, why I’m writing about farmer’s market sales, blueberry pie, and making you envious.

It’s because these days I find it impossible to make something as amazing as this pie–even with the berries as on sale as local berries can be–and not share it with someone.

Have you ever felt like that?

That’s how I’ve been feeling now that we are housemate-less. Special occasions need to be shared, and if they aren’t, well, I don’t feel right inside.

Quite frankly, it feels selfish.

But, you might say, in the case of this pie, which you love so much, you’d certainly eat your entire half of the pie with a grateful heart. Isn’t that worth something?

I’ve spent some time thinking about this and I’ve come to the conclusion that gratitude doesn’t make the act less selfish.

As I sorted out the bruised blueberries from their firm friends, I remembered a quote I’d read yesterday in one of my favorite cookbooks. It might seem odd to read a quotation in a cookbook, but that’s the kind of cookbook this is. It’s called Simply in Season, and it’s a World Community Cookbook, “in the spirit of More-with-Less.” Sprinkled throughout the book are true stories about food, faith, seasonal eating, and sustainability. It’s a good read.

While flipping through recipes yesterday, something I read stuck with me, and I think I’ll be carrying it around inside for awhile yet.

And especially as I eat my blueberry pie.

As I sat a bowl of fresh raspberries in front of my guest, I remarked, “I feel so rich with all this wonderful fruit fresh from my garden.” My guest from Colombia gently reminded me, “Anyone who has enough food is rich.”

— Mary Beth Lind, Simply In Season, p. 157.

Anyone who has enough food is rich.

Anyone who has blueberry pie…

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