One thing I’ve noticed about Vancouverites is that we talk a lot about the weather. I suppose this is common in a part of the world that gets as much rain as we do, and where summer can be either an endless stretch of sunshine-drenched days or a few sunny weeks in August. It’s always a gamble. And a topic of conversation.
This past spring was worst in recent memory. Essentially, there was no spring, a fact that was complained about vociferously by everyone I know. So surprise, surprise, that the summer has turned out to be such a beautiful one. Every morning I wake up to the sun peeking through the slats in my venetian blinds. I can’t say that I exactly bound out of bed, but I’m a lot more eager to greet the day than I was in April or May, when most days required an extra sweater.
So it may surprise you that summer is not my favorite season. I like beach vacations as much as anyone, but for the business of day-today living, I prefer early fall. Or spring–a real spring, that is.
As far as I’m concerned, the best thing about summer is not the heat, but fruit. Specifically luscious, succulent berries, bright and colorful and bursting with flavor.
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, I love them all. I toss them on my cereal in the morning, mix them into my yogurt at snack time, and throw them into a shake when the last thing I want to do in the heat is turn on the stove. Most of all, I love them as dessert.
A little sugar and whip cream can take a bowl of berries a long way. Even better, I love them over meringues spooned with vanilla custard in the form of a pavlova, the famous dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer. Lore has it that it was so created following her tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1926, but the country and the creator that originated it is a topic that has been hotly debated. The research of culinary anthropologist Helen Leach points to the latter.
At any rate, this light dessert speaks of summer to me and it was a perfect way to celebrate BC Day today. I used the recipe posted at Simply Recipes, one of my favorite blogs; it is well-detailed, with step-by-step photos, so I won’t post it. Click here here to go to Shuna Lydon’s guest post on whipping up the perfect pavlova.