Living with sweet temptation

There’s temptation in the air around our house, and it smells like strawberries.

A while ago, they were just four heaping quarts of gently seeded sweetness, sitting on the kitchen counter, begging to be snatched and eaten one at a time when no one was around to say, “You’ll use them all up!” The secret to getting away with that is to take a berry from each quart. Any enterprising kid knows that–and I’m just a kid at heart.

There’s more opportunity for pilfering when it comes time to hull them for an official project. It was a cool day,  and I decided it would be OK to heat up the oven and the kitchen for a double-crust strawberry pie. First, though, the berries have to be prepared.

There’s a method involved  in this. Grab a berry in one hand, a paring knife in the other. Snip out the hull, drop it onto a paper towel, drop the berry into a colander. Pick up the next berry, snip out the hull, drop it onto a paper towel, pop the berry in your mouth. I won’t say I alternated those steps evenly, but I will say that my red lips weren’t from lipstick.

The cleaning and baking took place when my husband was off playing a gig. I went to bed, knowing full well what it was going to be like for him to walk in on the sight and smell of a fresh strawberry pie. I was right.

“You are a wicked woman,” he said to me as he crawled under the covers, no doubt feeling smug at having resisted that blatant temptation.

We both fought hard against having pie for breakfast, and felt very virtuous for settling for toasted bagels. Then came lunch with, finally, pie for dessert. How about a second piece? Couldn’t we? Dontcha think? Aw, c’mon… Once again, temptation was resisted. The question we don’t ask is, would it have been resisted if either of us had been sitting there alone?

Now, however, there are two loaves of strawberry bread cooling on the counter. (And yes, that meant preparing more berries with all the taste-testing that goes with it.) George is off to another gig. Tonight when he gets home, we can have a slice of strawberry bread for a snack. But..

There it sits, looking good, smelling better. Maybe I should sample it to be sure this new recipe turned out. There’s a problem with that, though. One slice, no matter how tiny, will be obvious.  One slice will be noticed. And then I’d have to face the inevitable admission of guilt.

So, once again, temptation will be resisted. I can do it because there are still two quarts of berries in the fridge. One or two, here or there, will hardly make a dent…


About Monica Sawyn

I'm a retired newspaper reporter/columnist, and although I still freelance, I miss the weekly column I used to write. I still "see columns" in everyday life and need a place to put them after they're written--thus, this blog. I'm Catholic, have been a Benedictine oblate since 1977, and live with my husband and our beagle in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. When I'm not writing, I'm probably reading, sewing, taking photos or walking the dog.
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