Article and Photo by Debra Meadow
I recently gave a presentation on some basic nutritional concepts and opened the floor for questions, as always. “What do you eat when you want junk food?” someone asked.
Good question. To be honest, I no longer want junk food, though I am not a self-disciplined ascetic. Back in my misspent youth, I enjoyed (if that is the correct term) Hostess Cupcakes, Big Macs and Pepsi floats. Processed, food-like substances with ingredients that sound scientific are what I call junk. Once I recalibrated my palate to real food, any desire for this kind of thing pretty much vanished.
But treats! How I love to treat myself.
The difference between a junk food and a treat, is that junk has no nutritional value and probably, when you really stop to think about it and savor it, doesn’t taste all that good either. A real treat for me is something that’s not available all the time and when it is available, it is fresh and real and flavorful and knocks the socks off your taste buds. It might be a rich shortbread cookie made with real butter, a slab of velvety pate from pastured pork liver, or fresh cheese from sheep grazing on spring grass. Whatever means “treat” to you, be sure you give it its due by immersing yourself in preparing it (if necessary), serving it and letting it twine ‘round your tongue while you do nothing else, save enjoy the company of your tablemates (if you’re sharing).
Berries with Lavender-Honey Whipped Cream is a treat because, whether you choose those first juicy Hood strawberries, or sun-warmed raspberries, the last plump blueberries of August, or even a kitchen bowl full of blackberries from the side of the road, local berries are, indeed, a rare thing – each variety only appearing for a short, blissful few weeks – or even days.
Add to those berries a dollop of fresh cream steeped with lavender and sweetened with raw, local honey (maybe made by bees who visited the very same berry blossoms whose fruit is underneath) and you have a treat that just oozes Oregon summer.
The dessert also has plenty of nutritional value, although you needn’t think about this while you’re enjoying it – unless it adds to your enjoyment. Besides the anti-oxidant power of fresh berries, raw honey is full of active enzymes and is anti-microbial in nature. Lavender, according to Judy Richardson of Lavender Haven, is acclaimed by her customers, because “it makes people relax and go to sleep if they are tired, and just calm down if they are hyper.”
So relax and treat yourself!
Berries with Lavender-Honey Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream, raw if possible
2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers, crushed
1 tablespoon raw honey
In a small saucepan, mix cream and lavender. Bring just to a simmer over medium low heat. Remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or two layers of fine cheesecloth. Stir in honey until dissolved. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
In a chilled mixing bowl, whip cream with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Use immediately, or cover and chill for up to two hours. Serve with fresh berries.
Debra Meadow, NTP, is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner at Blue Raven Wellness (blueravenwellness.com). She helps people eat their way to health with real food that satisfies the senses and supports good health and ideal weight. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.