This dish is famed for being one of the most popular summer desserts here in the States, but I just couldn’t wait that long. It’s a sunny, beautiful day here and it made me think of that classic dessert known as strawberry shortcake. I say classic, because although nobody seems to know when the first one was made, this delicious combination dates back to around 1850 in the United States. Around this time, it quickly became popular to have strawberry shortcake parties to celebrate the coming of summer. Later, this strawberry fever would lead to a wonderful line from Harpers Magazine in 1893, “They give you good eating, strawberries and short-cake- Ohh My!” Yep. That about sums it up.
When I was a kid, the strawberry shortcakes didn’t look like the one I’ve shown here. No, the ones I remember were made with Bisquick™ biscuits, strawberries, and Cool Whip™, which only contains one ingredient that Philippe would ever allow me to eat today. Mostly because this fast food American version is loaded with enough trans fats and high fructose corn syrup to kill laboratory mice on contact. But no child ever worries about these worrisome risks, or even adults at the time. We just knew that you could have a glorious dessert in under 15 minutes. No need to wait for the Cool Whip to thaw completely, because then it was like getting a little ice cream as well!
Looking back, it’s atrocious to think about taking something as wonderful as a strawberry and subjecting it to so many artificial chemicals at once, but the memories still make me smile. Mostly because I remember this dish at large family picnics where cousins, aunts, and uncles were all gathered together, laughing and joking. And we don’t have those picnics anymore. Cousins grew up and moved away and even my parents moved to a different state. Yeah, they left home when I was 18, but that’s another story entirely. But that’s what I love about food. It has a way of preserving memories like nothing else can. And though times just keep changing, I’ll never forgot those lazy summer days, surrounded by family, with my little plate of strawberry shortcake.
You’re all invited to a Doodlewash Dinner Party during the month of May! Just tag your food or drink image #doodlewashdinner and I’ll feature you and your culinary creations in a delicious Doodlewash Gallery at the end of the month!
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham watercolors: Pyrrol Red, Gamboge, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pens with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal
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Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!