A Seasonal Collection: Raspberries

What a splendid day!” said Anne, drawing a long breath. “Isn’t it good just to be alive on a day like this? I pity the people who aren’t born yet for missing it. They may have good days, of course, but they can never have this one. And it’s splendider still to have such a lovely way to go to school by, isn’t it?”

“It’s a lot nicer than going round by the road; that is so dusty and hot,” said Diana practically, peeping into her dinner basket and mentally calculating if the three juicy, toothsome, raspberry tarts reposing there were divided among ten girls how many bites each girl would have.

The little girls of Avonlea school always pooled their lunches, and to eat three raspberry tarts all alone or even to share them only with one’s best chum would have forever and ever branded as “awful mean” the girl who did it. And yet, when the tarts were divided among ten girls you just got enough to tantalize you.

The way Anne and Diana went to school was a pretty one. Anne thought those walks to and from school with Diana couldn’t be improved upon even by imagination. Going around by the main road would have been so unromantic; but to go by Lover’s Lane and Willowmere and Violet Vale and the Birch Path was romantic, if ever anything was.

Lover’s Lane opened out below the orchard at Green Gables and stretched far up into the woods to the end of the Cuthbert farm. It was the way by which the cows were taken to the back pasture and the wood hauled home in winter. Anne had named it Lover’s Lane before she had been a month at Green Gables.

“Not that lovers ever really walk there,” she explained to Marilla, “but Diana and I are reading a perfectly magnificent book and there’s a Lover’s Lane in it. So we want to have one, too. And it’s a very pretty name, don’t you think? So romantic! We can’t imagine the lovers into it, you know. I like that lane because you can think out loud there without people calling you crazy.”

From ‘Anne of Green Gables’ by L M Montgomery

* * * * * *

‘Raspberries’ by Johan de Fre

* * * * * *

The raspberries
in my driveway
have always
been here
(for the whole eleven years
I have owned
but have not owned
this house),
yet
I have never
tasted them
before.

Always on a plane.
Always in the arms
of man, not God,
always too busy,
too fretful,
too worried
to see
that all along
my driveway
are red, red raspberries
for me to taste.

Shiny and red,
without hairs-
unlike the berries
from the market.
Little jewels-
I share them
with the birds!

On one perches
a tiny green insect.
I blow her off.
She flies!
I burst the raspberry
upon my tongue.

In my solitude
I commune
with raspberries,
with grasses,
with the world.

The world was always
there before,
but where
was I?

Ah raspberry-
if you are so beautiful
upon my ready tongue,
imagine
what wonders
lie in store for me!

‘The Raspberries in my Drive’ by Erica Jong

* * * * * * *

‘Raspberry Leaves and Grass, Great Spruce Head Island, Maine’ by Eliot Porter

* * * * * * *

Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is quality of thought, a state of mind. Of course we have our moments of depression; but there are other moments too, when time, unmeasured by the clock, runs on into eternity and, catching his smile, I know we are together, we march in unison, no clash of thought or of opinion makes a barrier between us. We have no secrets now from one another. All things are shared. Granted that our little hotel is dull, and the food indifferent, and that day after day dawns very much the same, yet we would not have it otherwise. We should meet too many of the people he knows in any of the big hotels. We both appreciate simplicity, and we are sometimes bored – well, boredom is a pleasing antidote to fear. We live very much by routine, and I – I have developed a genius for reading aloud. The only time I have known him show impatience is when the postman lags, for it means we must wait another day before the arrival of our English mail. We have tried wireless, but the noise is such an irritant, and we prefer to store up our excitement; the result of a cricket match played many days ago means much to us. Oh, the Test matches that have saved us from ennui, the boxing bouts, even the billiard scores. Finals of schoolboy sports, dog racing, strange little competitions in the remoter counties, all these are grist to our hungry mill. Sometimes old copies of the Field come my way, and I am transported from this indifferent island to the realities of an English spring. I read of chalk streams, of the mayfly, of sorrel growing in green meadows, of rooks circling above the woods as they used to do at Manderley. The smell of wet earth comes to me from those thumbed and tattered pages, the sour tang of moorland peat, the feel of soggy moss spattered white in places by a heron’s droppings. Once there was an article on wood pigeons, and as I read it aloud it seemed to me that once again I was in the deep woods at Manderley, with pigeons fluttering above my head. I heard their soft, complacent call, so comfortable and cool on a hot summer’s afternoon, and there would be no disturbing of their peace until Jasper came loping through the undergrowth to find me, his damp muzzle questing the ground. Like old ladies caught at their ablutions, the pigeons would flutter from their hiding-place, shocked into silly agitation, and, making a monstrous to-do with their wings, streak away from us above the tree-tops, and so out of sight and sound. When they were gone a new silence would come upon the place, and I – uneasy for no known reason – would realize that the sun no longer wove a pattern on the rustling leaves, that the branches had grown darker, the shadows longer; and back at the house there would be fresh raspberries for tea.

From ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier

* * * * * * *

Front cover of ‘Green’s Nursery Co’ Catalogue 1910 with an illustration of ‘Syracuse New Hardy Raspberry.’

* * * * * * *

I was picking raspberries, my head was in the canes,
And he came behind and kissed me, and I smacked him for his pains.
Says he, “You take it easy! That ain’t the way to do!
I love you hot as fire, my girl, and you know you know it too.
So won’t you name the day?”
But I said, “That I will not.”
And I pushed him away,
Out among the raspberries all on a summer day.
And I says, “You ask in winter, if your love’s so hot,
For it’s summer now, and sunny, and my hands is full,” says I,
“With the fair by and by,
And the village dance and all;
And the turkey poults is small,
And so’s the ducks and chicks,
And the hay not yet in ricks,
And the flower-show’ll be presently and hop-picking’s to come,
And the fruiting and the harvest home,
And my new white gown to make, and the jam all to be done.
Can’t you leave a girl alone?
Your love’s too hot for me!
Can’t you leave a girl be
Till the evenings do draw in,
Till the leaves be getting thin,
Till the fires be lighted early, and the curtains drawed for tea?
That’s the time to do your courting, if you come a-courting me!”

‘The Fire’ by Edith Nesbit

* * * * * * *

Raspberry and ricotta cake

cq5dam.thumbnail.400.400

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hour (60 minutes)

Ingredients

125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
1 egg
185g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
250g ricotta
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon, grated zest
3 tbsp mixed cut peel
300g raspberries
3 tbsp icing sugar

Method

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl for 3–4 minutes until fluffy and smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Sift in the flour and baking powder and stir to combine. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, bring together into a smooth round, and divide in two. Wrap each half in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4. In a bowl, beat together the ricotta, honey, vanilla and lemon zest, then fold in the mixed peel. Lightly grease a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Roll out each half of the dough to fit the base of the tin. Press one round into the tin and scatter half the raspberries on top, leaving a 1cm border around the edge. Spoon the ricotta mixture over the raspberries, then place the other round of dough on top and press the edges together.

Bake for 35 minutes until golden and set on top, then allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before removing. Serve topped with the remaining raspberries, a good dusting of icing sugar and some whipped cream on the side.

From Waitrose

* * * * * * *

Rubus odoratus (Flowering Raspberry) – Paper collage by Mary Delany (1700-1788)

* * * * * * *

The way we can’t remember heat, forget
the sweat and how we wore a weightless
shirt on chafing skin, the way we lose
the taste of raspberries, each winter; but

know at once, come sharp July, the vein
burning in the curtain, and from that light
– the block of sun on hot crushed sheets –
the blazing world we’ll walk in,

was how it was, your touch. Nor the rest,
not how we left, the drunkenness, just
your half-stifled, clumsy, frightened reach,
my uncurled hand, our fingers, meshed,

-like the first dazzled flinch from heat
or between the teeth, pips, a metal taste.

‘Raspberries’ by Kate Clanchy

* * * * * * *

‘The Raspberry Thief’ by Hester Cox

* * * * * * *

Isabel jumped down from a stile and came sauntering placidly towards them, making a charming note of colour with her dress of faded blue cotton and hair of golden red.

“I take it I win,” she greeted them. “I hope you didn’t all think I was dead. I’ve been exploring the fields and hedges. Look what I’ve brought you.”

She held out a large dock-leaf containing about half a pound of small ripe raspberries.

“Wild ones. I found lots of them, and they’re delicious.”

She offered the leaf to Dr. Browning, who helped himself to two or three and asked:

“Where did you find these?”

“Oh, just in the next field.” She jerked her head vaguely over her shoulder. “Have some, Felix, and say you forgive me for having a better bicycle than you. I didn’t cheat. I swear I didn’t. And I never touched my brake. Did you?”

“Of course not,” murmured Felix, oblivious to the raspberries she held out to him in contemplation of her small shining head.

“Then you both deserve to be certified insane,” declared Dr. Browning severely. “It’s time we were pushing on if we’re to get home before supper time.”

From ‘Dead Man’s Quarry’ by Ianthe Jerrold

* * * * * * *

‘Still Life with Raspberries’ by Levi Prentice

* * * * * * *

6 thoughts on “A Seasonal Collection: Raspberries

  1. Just lovely! All the more so because I recognised two of the extracts almost immediately – I hadn’t realised that I knew them so well. Thanks, Jane 🙂

    Like

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