I looked at the bowl of strawberries and debated with myself if I should make jam or pie. I went crazy at the markets. Strawberries are in season from April to August and are the sweetest then. But they are also available year round these days. I could not resist when I saw they were on sale.
I made jam and put them in mason jars hoping to save the sweetness for the winter months. The homemade jam was divine with freshly baked Pan de Sal, the Filipino bun and thus our winter jam supply dwindled even before summer ended here on the east coast.
I had two pounds left. It was sweltering hot in the kitchen so I did not want to spend hours cooking. I searched for a no-bake pie from the cookbook of trusted friend, Nancie McDermott, prolific author.
Crushing the graham crackers into coarse crumbs and adding the melted butter was a cinch. I weakened when I sniffed at the golden drops of butter as it disappeared through the cinnamon-like grahams.
The bright red strawberries were quick to thicken into a jam-like consistency when I added the cornstarch. As I folded the sweet, thick berry mixture into the white billows of cream, I knew this pie was going to be devoured by my family.
It is the little things that give me a reason to pause and be grateful. Like a bowl of ripe red, plump fresh strawberries. The fruity aroma is enough to remind me what a beautiful fruit it is and I was glad to find a way to preserve it.
In our day to day lives, it is easy to ignore the mundane stuff that is actually marvelous. Once September comes around, I am always reminded of these on 9/11, that fateful day when the world changed forever.
And recently, a serious car accident of a dear family member had us overwhelmed, anxious and worried. It made us realize that our lives are fragile and can change drastically in a swift second.
Eat that bowl of fruit now. Bake the pie. Relish the pie and come back for seconds. Use the good china and the fine silver for a big slice. Pop open the champagne you’ve been saving for a special occasion. The right time to enjoy what matters is now.
From your heart, send out a rush of gratitude to those you love. Open yourself to insights and awareness of things around you. Coax your soul to help you appreciate more the gifts you are blessed with every day.
Close your eyes. Put your hand over your heart. Put down the mobile devices. Unplug from social media. Focus on what is important right now.
We simply need to recalibrate our ability to tune into joy as it flits unobtrusively around our hearts. As cliché as it sounds, let us find joy in our daily routines and be grateful we have the abilities, the strength, the capacity to keep doing what we do. Daily joy sits patiently on the window sill of our lives, waiting for us to recognize it.
Relish this pie. It’s indescribably a joy to make, to enjoy and to share with those you love.