Cherries: A History

When I was a wee-little-thing, I got sick, as all wee-little-things do. In order to fight the sniffle-y, cough-y colds doctors (and later, parents) would force a so-called ‘syrup’ upon me that, in fact, was not a ‘syrup’ in the way a young person thinks of ‘syrup’ at all.

This molasses-ey mixture kept in my parents’ bathroom cupboard came down from the shelf only to tears and tantrums. It’s reddish hue deceived me only before the first tasting, when it reminded me of a melted Watermelon Jolly Rancher (the best flavor, by the way, tying only sometimes with green apple).

The first gulp put down the foundation to my understanding of ‘don’t believe everything you read’ (or hear, because at this point I couldn’t read).

As already pointed out the name of this ‘syrup’ deceived me in its label as that–a ‘syrup’–but also with its promise of Cherry-Flavoring. Having never had a real cherry before this time in my life (I know, **sad moment of silence**) my only thought was,

‘Why?’

“Why would anyone ever choose to eat something that tastes like that?’

Burning my throat and searing my taste buds, my brain blocked off cherries from my diet until, finally, the wisdom and idolization for my two older siblings finally came to good use.

(only kidding… they are wonderful and mostly always have been)

They sat at our counter blissfully munching and spitting the pits of the devil-red cherries, while I sat, refusing and probably sulking (I was an incredibly obstinate child) (I still am an incredibly obstinate child in many ways). Finally enough of their dyed-toothed-smiles prompted me to try one. Mind you, this is years after my last encounter with the ‘Cherry Syrup’ and I still hadn’t tried a real cherry, afraid of the burning and searing sensation advertised with the same flavor years before.

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Hesitant of not only the flavor, but the complication of the pit, it took a while to bite, chew, spit, swallow and I concentrated so hard on the details of the act of consuming that the flavor floated down behind the scenes. With this, I tried another since the burning and searing I had expected hadn’t occurred, I was intrigued (and spitting my food was still exciting and felt almost rebellious). Another went down with little issue and soon the actual flavor seeped in to my brain, washing away the association with the ‘syrup’ once and for all.

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Coming up with a Mash-Up recipe for Food52 was quite fun, though I wish I had more time to develop this combination and adapt it to something more exciting that yogurt (like scones or a ratatouille). It is still delicious and the first of (hopefully) many original recipes to come this summer!

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Rosemary Cherries

yield: 1 serving

Ingredients:

Rosemary Cherry Compote

  • cherries, diced
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • teaspoons rosemary

Parfait with Granola

  • cup yogurt
  • tablespoon (or so) your favorite granola — hopefully this one =]

Instructions:

  1. turn stove on high to heat up the olive oil and rosemary
  2. after a minute or so, add diced cherries and immediately turn down the heat
  3. let sauté for a minute or two, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and all is very fragrant
  4. turn off the heat and place pan on counter (anywhere not as hot as the stove)
  5. while olive oil still bubbles in the pan, cooling, spoon desired amount of yogurt into a bowl and add rosemary cherries either on top or in between two layers of yogurt
  6. sprinkle desired amount of granola over all (if desired)

Other Ideas with this combination are:

simple Buckwheat and Oat Muffins with this compote used as a jam to lather over top, mix in, or serve on the side

Grilled Cheese with Brie and this combination drizzled with Balsamic (add some crispy brussels sprouts for something extra!)

Pumpkin Puree Soup with the compote pulsed into a glaze and dotted on top (maybe with some more alongside for bread-dipping)

Vanilla Cupcakes with it mixed in to a plain Vanilla Frosting

Take pictures and send them along or comment below with your own ideas and creations!

Much love, as always.

~wabi-sabi~

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