Every year at the start of strawberry season my family had a simple unspoken tradition. Strawberry Shortcake.
Mom would buy a flat of strawberries from one of the local stands because of course their berries are the best. None of the store-bought ones are ever as good as the ones from the stands. She may have bought the entire flat just for the Strawberry Shortcake because I don't remember her canning jam like we do now. We would go through an entire flat of strawberries (that's 12 of those little plastic green baskets) in about 3 days. Mom would wash the strawberries, take off the stems, slice 'em up, and pour about a cup of sugar over them to sweeten the deal even more. While the sugar was soaking into the strawberries she would mix up a yellow cake mix, or maybe it was two, or even three (she had a really big cake pan just for these occasions) and bake it up just right. I can remember salivating as we were waiting and waiting through the baking and then the cooling of the cake until if was finally the moment when we were allowed to dig in.
Oh those were some of the sweetest memories. The perfect slice of cake in my bowl, split in half. Heaping spoonfulls of sugary deliciously fresh strawberries and their juices over my warm cake. Letting it soak in for just a moment. And then that first juicy bite of heaven. Oh yeah. It was good.
No whipped cream or ice cream was needed. Ok, maybe there was a tub of Cool Whip around sometimes, but come on - it was the strawberry goodness we were all after.
I think mom loved those Strawberry Shortcake moments just as much as us kids because she would let us eat AS MUCH AS WE WANTED. And if there was some leftover, we were even allowed to eat it for breakfast the next day! Is that awesome or what?!
So, to my mother I say, thanks for the memories and a great tradition that we now continue on in our family. I still love it and now your grandkids do too. This picture was taken a few nights ago. I was taken back to my childhood just like I am every year when I take that first delicious bite of Strawberry Shortcake.