Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sunshine for the Senses

I was disappointed when I woke up this morning and the sun wasn't shining, but behold a blanket of white had fallen overnight. It was very beautiful, but I was even more excited when the sun came out this afternoon.

Don't you long for a taste of summer sun in the middle of January and February?

I do. Probably because I live here in the midwest.

Last week I bought a quart of fresh blueberries imported from Chili. The first bite was the most incredible taste of summer sun I could imagine. It was magnificent! Transporting! I called to my daughter right away and we ate handfuls from the box, not even washed--and rolled our eyes and inhaled the smell and savored the taste.

So, this morning when the sun didn't shine, I forfeited writing time to whip up none other than--you guessed it--Blueberry Teacake for breakfast. The smell filled the whole house and my family was thankful for the treat.

Recipe from Mennonite Country-Style Recipes by Esther H. Shank

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Beat together: 
2 eggs
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 c. oil
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix in separate bowl:
3 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Add to wet mixture, alternately with 1 c. milk
Fold in one quart bag frozen blueberries (or huckleberries). Pour into greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
Bake one hour at 375 F.

The dish is already half gone! It didn't taste quite like summer or those fresh berries from Chili. But it made me remember the summer fun we had picking the blueberries, and it made me remember the times we picked huckleberries in Michigan with my Grandma. My Grandma Emma always had a huckleberry buckle (cobbler) ready to eat when we arrived to northern Michigan to visit.

If you've never had huckleberries, they are wild, much smaller, and much richer in taste. But you can make anything with huckleberries that you would make with blueberries.

Smells and tastes possess the power to transport us to another time and place. As writers, we should remember to evoke the senses in positive ways and remember a few long forgotten smells to pull the reader into the story. Some favorite smells are turkey dinner, brownies in the oven, yeast bread baking, the smell of fresh cut hay, fresh peaches and your mouth watering? Were you thinking of other times and places and happy moments?

What smells and tastes transport you? 
Have you remembered to include all the senses in your writing?

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