The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

I Don’t Pity This Fool-Strawberry Fool or Whipped Cream with Strawberry Purée

During my senior year of college, while writing my 40 page final paper for my psych class, I sat in the building where the food-related majors had class and congregated. I loved watching the action, seeing them do their thing, and chatting with their like-minded pals about the restaurants where they worked for the year. I learned a few things about how the local restaurants functioned (or didn’t). I listened to their stories about how something wasn’t prepared right during their times being a sous chef (and being chewed out) then quizzing one another over terms for food preparation. I was intrigued.

At our apartment, I became more interested in what I was putting into our bodies. This is where my foodie kicked in-the point that I began cooking more, eating less chain restaurant food and losing weight. I wasn’t overweight but I didn’t feel my best and I wanted to manage my life better. I found a stress reliever in the chopping, boiling, baking, stirring, prepping and such. We tried things we’d never had before-it was lovely.

However, I wouldn’t say that Greg benefited from my cooking all the time because I wasn’t very good. There were more disasters than successes. Greg came home often to a foul-smelling apartment with chaos and an angry fiancé in the kitchen. I kept at it but I’m still not a master (nearly 7 years later) and that’s fine with me. Believing yourself to be a master of anything seems to make people callous and out of touch with what was once a passion, no thanks.

Being in that building should have been a clue, I loved my hour there more than any other time of the day on campus. Foodie speak, a food enthusiast’s world- it also helped that the building was directly across from the next class I had and where Greg was working/studying. No one else really knew about the large tables and quiet atmosphere (minus the times that classes let out) that existed there on a campus of around 50,000 students.

Finding a quiet place was difficult and I was known to sit outside of my next class, spread all of my research out on the floor and watch a few others walk down the corridor, trying to pass all of my organized chaos. I was a good student, always have been…too bad that doesn’t get you much in the adult world (well without cash to back it up and connections). Bitter much, Annie? Yes.

The solitude from that semester was one of my most memorable times in college. I had an hour to really dive into my work and think about what I’d be trying to make later.

My focus was the business side of psychology and I catered my courses to industrial/organizational with a leadership and ethics minor, where I graduated as one of the few with a Primus award…that means somewhere on a Purdue business plaque is my name for 2006, which I earned by being voted, by my classmates, as someone with potential and someone that worked her ass off on a major project/presentation for the year. That’s what it took so that’s how I explain it. I thrive when I’m busy and drive myself crazy when I don’t have a project.

See what good that did? I’m unemployed, well, I write and I love doing so but I’m not making money and that is unemployed to me and to nearly everyone else. One of my competitors in the running for Primus said he would hire me as his second in command for his architecture firm one day…I should look him up but he might be sore that he didn’t win.

Back to my point, I knew I wanted to be a part of the food world then but it was my last year and no way for me to get into another degree in my financial situation. I was still holding the belief that my psy degree, paired with my good GPA would provide me a decent job fairly soon after graduating that May. If you have any interest reading about my horrible first job out of school, here’s a link, and this, don’t forget this. There’s more but I’m tired of linking.

Anyway, I miss having hope that I will “make it” on my hardwork and ethics that young people often have in college (that gung-ho, bright-eyed future/ outlook/mentality thing) and I particularly miss being surrounded by something I know in my heart (especially when I’m often stuck within my own mind) that I find enthralling, like food. I’m getting to that point where those “kids” seem annoying and out of touch with reality but deep down, I envy their notions.

Maybe I will take a little time out of my day to meditate…but I’ll probably just reminisce instead. I tried to do yoga but I wasn’t connecting with the instructor. I think she said breathe through your kidneys or something that jolted whatever calm I had and I began instead concentrating on all the airhead comments she made that went against rationality and science. C’est la vie or as Greg likes to say (which rarely makes sense context-wise) you win some, you lose some. You’re so helpful, honey.

Speaking of fools (kidding), I usually pity them but not this one. A dessert can’t get any easier than this and the best part is that you can use almost any fruit. All it takes is pureeing, some sugar and cream. That’s it and the flavor is the epitome of warm weather dining. The fool originated in England hundreds of years ago but I don’t know why it’s called a fool. I made mine with strawberries in a matter of minutes.

Strawberry Fool or Fresh Whipped Cream with Strawberry Puree

Strawberry Fool
Serves 4

3 1/2 cups hulled, sliced strawberries (or another fruit)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
2 cups heavy cream

Chill individual serving glasses in the fridge for a few minutes. In a mixer, place 1 cup sugar and the heavy cream, beat together until soft peaks form and whipped cream results. Place the strawberries and remaining 2 tbsp of sugar in a blender or food processor (you can also smash them by hand), puree, leaving a few lumps. If you want to, stir in a splash of Cointreau (orange liquor) or port wine at this point.

Take the glasses from the fridge and layer the pureed berries and whipped cream, repeat with several layers of each. Blend the two together or leave in layers. It’s traditionally chilled for an hour or two but I don’t wait. How simple was that? This would also make a nice filling or topping for angel food cake or shortcake, any cake really. Imagine all the possibilities for the upcoming berry seasons!