Take These Shortcake Utensils With You When You Go Berry Picking

Once a year I go picking strawberries with my friend Amanda. (You may know Amanda; she writes about pickles and parties .) Hunched over, rummaging through leaves, itching for the perfect, bright red berry may not sound like much fun, but there’s something meditative about it, and I love it. . enjoy chatting with your friends. For the most part though, I enjoy the reward. Not the berries we load into the car, though that’s a reward, but the ersatz strawberry pie we eat after a hard day’s work.

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Shortbread cookies are simple and not quite shortbread. It’s a store-bought angel food cake garnished with freshly picked berries and canned whipped cream. I can’t take credit for this brilliant summer move, as the whole idea was Amanda’s, but I’m doing my part. I bring cake and cream and Amanda brings little paper boats and cutlery. We dust the berries as much as we can, then prepare desserts and eat as the sun begins to set behind the trees. This is the perfect way to highlight the berry picking experience, and it costs less than $10.

You can, of course, use this technique with other berries as well. You can use it to pick raspberries or blackberries. (Though picking brambles is usually less idyllic, as brambles love to grow in wastelands and on the side of the road.) This also works well for peaches (just bring a penknife with you).

You can also go from cake and cream and adapt your gear to any type of food gathering. You can bring a small cheese plate to enjoy freshly picked apples or pears, or if you are a tomato fan who goes to pick tomatoes, grab a few small ones and eat them with some chilejin and a splash of balsamic, or maybe bring a cutting board, plastic a bottle of mayonnaise and a bag of white bread for al fresco tomato sandwiches (that would be a move for me).

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