By Amy Mercer
Our annual field trip to the strawberry patch is almost here and I’m looking forward to the buckets of fresh-off-the-vine, sweet berries to use in my strawberry, goat cheese, walnut and spinach salad. The activity will wear my children out so when we return home they’ll play quietly in the playroom and I will stand in the kitchen washing, trimming and assembling our dinner in peace. As I chop, my mind will be filled with whatever essay I’m working on, and I’ll wipe my hands on my pants and hurry to the lap-top and record my ideas.
Plucking fresh berries off the vine reminds me of growing up in Vermont and pulling fiddleheads out of the field for dinner, or climbing Mt. Tire’um in Maine and in between bites, filling my tee-shirt up with blueberries. Writer Mamas, self-care means feeding the soul and nurturing your body with locally grown fruits and vegetables, so take this month of June to:
· Visit a strawberry patch with your kids and fill up baskets of berries. Read them Blueberries for Sal, and make strawberry smoothie or muffins. Buy some strawberries from the chain grocery store and have your children do a blind taste test to see which is better.
· Shop at your local farmer’s market and sample the goat-cheese smoothie or the organic honey. Talk to the farmers about seasonal foods.
· Go to Lowes and buy an all-in-one kid-friendly container that includes seeds for their very own sunflower plant. Buy some impatiens for the box underneath the window at your desk so when you are stuck searching for the right word to describe the way the water feels when you step in for the first time every June, look away from your flat screen and stare into the flowers for inspiration.
· Take a cooking class or go wine-tasting with your husband. Come home and write about the taste that lingers in your mouth, use words from the bottle like blackberry, mocha, vanilla and butter. Work on a query for one of the many food magazines such as: Cooking Light, Eating Well or Every Day with Rachel Ray.
· Take the kids to the library and check out Salad People by Moosewood Restaurant’s famous chef, Mollie Katzen with recipes for cooking with kids and let your children pick out a recipe to make at home. Or look for any of the food books (Fast Food, Food Play, and How Are You Peeling?) by Saxton Freyman and Joost Elffers who photograph real fruits and vegetable in their stories.
Show your children that food is fun: bring the book to the grocery store and attempt to re-create the shape, animal, plane, car and/or boat from one of the pages. You just might just discover something new about food while you’re at it!
Amy S. Mercer is a freelance writer living in Charleston, SC with her husband and two sons. Her writing has been published in skirt! Magazine, Literary Mama, Diabetes Forecast and A Cup of Comfort for Writers. Amy is Blog Editor for Literary Mama and Associate editor for The Writer Mama Zine. More at Dreaming About Water.