August 1st, 2005

A Pocket Full of Murder

The Joy of Blueberries

Well, we ended up driving back a day earlier than I'd originally expected, but after two nights in our friends' house with no air conditioning (plus I'd forgotten my body pillow, so essential to decent sleep in the last couple of months of pregnancy) it was sheer heaven to be back in my own bed again.

It was wonderful to see our friends, though (including a lively round of trading HP theories with their fourteen-year-old daughter, who is nearly as much a Pottergeek as I am). It was also a joy to be back at the assembly we were part of for ten years when we lived in that area, and see a number of long-missed brothers and sisters in Christ, some of whom are getting old and frail and I don't know if I will see again in this life. And the family reunion, the reason we'd gone up in the first place, was beautifully coordinated and hosted by my cousin and his wife -- I can't believe how many of my mother's relatives I haven't seen in fifteen years or more, but it was great to touch base with them.

However, I must say, one of the highlights of the whole weekend was when we stopped by the roadside on our way out of Sudbury to buy a large basket of wild Northern Ontario blueberries. You may think you have eaten blueberries, but I have to tell you, if you haven't tasted the true, wild, growing-in-low-scrubby-bushes variety, pollinated by blackflies and baking to sweet perfection in their beds of rocky soil, you have no idea how a real blueberry ought to taste. The big, watery, mushy-textured cultivated blueberries you buy in supermarkets are nothing like, I can guarantee you.

So now I have this basket of blueberries, which I bought for a slightly embarrassing sum (but it is hot, miserable, back-wrenching work picking those things, I know, and besides, I so rarely get the chance to buy them at all) and now I'm racking my brains trying to think of the best possible recipe in which to use them. I want something that will really bring out their taste -- no recipe in which the usual cultivated blueberries would do just as well, and none in which the taste of the fruit is likely to be overwhelmed by some richer flavour (like, say, cheesecake).

Pie is of course a possibility, but I'd have to use all the blueberries up on that one recipe, and the last time I tried to make wild blueberry pie the results were frankly heart-breaking (although my error involved the crust, rather than the filling, but it was enough to put me off baking pie crust from scratch ever again). So I'm leaning toward some kind of cake or crumble-type recipe. Stay tuned...
A Pocket Full of Murder

Blueberries II: Electric Crispaloo

Well, I ended up making Wild Blueberry Crisp from a recipe on this page. I was a bit skeptical when I started making it as it was hard to imagine a "crisp" which didn't call for rolled oats anywhere in the recipe, but at the same time the ingredients only required only 3 cups of my precious blueberry hoard, thus enabling me to enjoy a couple of days of blueberries and milk, blueberries on cereal, blueberries in fruit salad, etc. Whereas if I'd blown the whole lot on an experimental pie or other dessert and it didn't turn out so well, I'd have been pretty disappointed.

Fortunately, my skepticism about the recipe proved unjustified. If I were going to be nitpicky I'd be more inclined to call it a "crumble" than a "crisp", as the topping is more like a slightly crunchy sugar-crumb crust than the usual more substantial crisp fare. But the taste was superb, and my pickiest child gobbled down two bowls, not even asking for more ice cream to go with the second batch. It might be a little over-sweet (or perhaps I was just too liberal with my dusting of icing sugar once it had cooled) but on the whole, I'd call it a success.
A Pocket Full of Murder

Does anybody know the address of that Braxton-Hicks guy?

Because really, I'd like to hunt him down and thump him. *exhales, Darth-Vader like*

Seriously, though, it's as though the onset of my last month of pregnancy has suddenly caused my body to go, "Oh, yeah, remember all that annoying stuff we did the last couple of pregnancies?" and then kick it up a notch or two just for fun. I'm not just having periodic tightenings of the muscles in my belly (a.k.a. the aforementioned Braxton-Hicks contractions), my stomach has felt like a freshly tightened drum all day, with no signs of relaxing or changing its state. I can just breathe, but not comfortably, and the baby seems to be finding his quarters less spacious these days because he's not just rolling or wriggling around like usual, he's stretching and pushing like Houdini trying to worm his way out of a straitjacket.

Meanwhile my feet are saying, "Ankles? What ankles? Aah, you don't really need those things, do you?" and I'm debating whether I ought to remove my wedding band lest it get hopelessly stuck to my finger in the next week or two.

Somebody remind me why I'm doing this, again? (Just kidding. Really. I think.)