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When I was a little girl, my grandpa’s garden was a magical place, full of delicious things to eat, exotic bugs to study, and if Grandpa was with me, great stories to listen to.
He taught me how to pick the striped bugs off the potato plants, put them in a jar and take them to the neighbor’s chickens. I was sure popular with those chickens. He also showed me how to put a saucer full of beer between rows of lettuce and spinach to lure the slugs, and the next day the saucer would be full of fat, drunken slugs. Guess what I did with them?
He would show me what weeds to pull (pigweed, dandelions); and what to leave alone (clover). He’d tell me about the pony he had as a kid, and the horses that pulled his buggy when he first started his medical practice in 1906. He told me a story about one of the first people in our town to buy an automobile, and how he and a friend had to pull it out of the mud when it got stuck, using his horses.
We would each pick a row of strawberries, and his basket would be full at the end, while mine was about half. He always told Grandma that I ate more in the garden than I did in the kitchen! Those sweet strawberries, warm from the sun, were so good I couldn’t help it. I still love them.
Here are some good recipes to try.
E Z Strawberry Cake
1 (3oz) pkg. strawberry gelatin
1/2 c. hot water (not boiling)
1 (18oz) white cake mix
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. fresh strawberries, cut in small chunks
Stir together gelatin and hot water. Set aside to cool. Mix dry cake mix, sugar, oil and eggs. Add cooled gelatin mixture and beat for two minutes. Add strawberries and continue beating until well blended. Pour into greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. mashed strawberries
1 lb. powdered sugar
Mix all ingredients together well. Spread on cooled cake. Store in refrigerator.
Fresh Strawberry Pie
1 (9-inch) pastry crust, baked
1 quart fresh whole strawberries (plus a few more for top)
1/3 c. honey
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
3 T. cornstarch
1 t. butter
1 c. whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
Put half of the berries in the baked pie crust. Slice the rest into a saucepan and add the honey, sugar, water, cornstarch and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Let cool. Pour into the pie shell over the berries. Refrigerate till well chilled. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the top of pie and put a few fresh berries on top. Makes 1 pie.