Back on June 16, after sitting to sell my wares at the Nantucket Book Festival’s Local Author Tent (my book The Daring Daughters of Nantucket), I headed out to Bartlett’s to pick some strawberries – they had just opened it up that morning. I was surprised at how little was yet ripe and also what was under ripe – but it’s been so darned cold so no real surprise. I picked two quarts quickly however, determined to make my son some strawberry bread.
My husband and I have read to him every night since he was tiny. Multiple books are in the offing and one of them was given to him by a dear friend and mentor of mine. It’s a book that she taught me about and how to use it with my students when I was also teaching on island. When Nolan was born, she found the book – long out of print – online and gave it to him with several other wonderful books. This books I still use today – it’s part of one of the Mitchell House Children’s Classes that we teach on occasion. The book is The Good Giants and the Bad Puckwudgies, written by Jean Fritz and illustrated by Tomie de Paola.
Part of the story describes Mashop – a Wampanoag giant – dislike for tending to tasks assigned by his wife, Quant, and his deep preference for smoking his pipe (now you know where fog comes from!) instead. One of the few ways Quant can lure him from his pipe and get him to focus on the task at hands is by making her much loved strawberry bread – and it’s what later lures him back home and out of the temptations of the mer-woman, Squant.
The bread came out wonderfully – I made it that afternoon. I left one quart in the garage and I have to say, the strawberries continued to ripen and from those I made refrigerator jam – super easy and delicious! I have an image here of it in my overcrowded-company-coming-to-dinner refrigerator. Now, I’ll be hunting for wild strawberries! Yum! (Update: birds and animals beat me to them!)