It was the ‘we’ in ‘when we have breakfast’ that caught my attention. My son does not usually take it for granted that I will share that meal… and to be fair, given the vile seaweed sludge he calls a smoothie and the birdseed cereal he prefers, that is fine by me. He’d obviously bought something special, but after being disappointed in the ensuing guessing game, but reassured that I wouldn’t be cooking, I had to simply wait and see.
When the shopping was delivered, the mystery resolved itself… There appeared to be a lot of strawberries… a little over two and a half pounds of them. Even with my son’s appetite and my passion for this fruit, this was ambitious.
Was I complaining as I hulled and washed them? No, I was not.
Strawberries are good for you. Low in calories, a fat content that is almost non-existent, packed with more vitamins and minerals than I generally see in a week… I mentally polished my halo. The resulting mound was tempting, though less than half the total volume had been used. Even more so when what I would like not to call greed piled the bowls high. I am not averse to getting all my ‘five a day’ in one mouthwatering hit. In fact, the five looked more like seven, but I could still feel virtuous at this point, seeing them glistening in all their naked scarlet glory.
But we were not just having strawberries; we were having strawberries and cream. Not just any cream, mind you, but Chantilly, a thick double cream slightly sweetened with good vanilla…
My son had done his shopping online. Hence the unexpected size of the strawberry haul. The pot of Chantilly was tiny by comparison. ‘Serves 8’ it said on the carton as I squinted to read the small print… I spooned an eighth of the pot onto the fruit and decided it looked puny… an insignificant and inadequate accompaniment. I allowed aesthetics to rule and dug a little deeper, without…quite… emptying the pot. Maybe it was a misprint… serves 3 would have been more accurate, and an 8 looks like a 3….
A quick calculation decided the calorie content was still surprisingly low… my son’s breakfast normally contains more calories than a woman my age dare consume in a day. This was positively saintly in comparison.
I perched on the bed with my bowl as he delved into his breakfast. We were running out of cream long before the strawberries had significantly diminished. ‘There’s a bit left…’ No more than a spoonful each, of course, but still… I divided the remainder of the cream between the two bowls and we continued our repast as my son commented on the low calorific value…
I, meanwhile, had the left the pot on the windowsill…in sunlight… at eye level. At some point it dawned on me that I had omitted to multiply the nutritional information by the requisite two and a half times to match the volume of the pot…and while my son was still well under his normal breakfast intake, I might just about squeeze in a coffee and a stick of celery for the rest of the day…
Wilful blindness? Had my normally useful mind failed to make that calculation on purpose? Who knows…. Who, in fact cares? I refuse guilt. I have no regrets. I had strawberries and cream for breakfast… and some things shouldn’t be counted, just enjoyed.