Sunday Stew – 004 Barbie Dolls and Berries (In Sweet Ricotta Creme)

Last week, I opened one of my social media pages to find an unexpected post from an old friend. She shared a memory from our days as little girls, about our adventures, when we could spend the entire day dressing our Barbie dolls for their soap opera lives and walking through the woods- our backyards, which consisted of only about 20 trees, 8 “sticker-briar” bushes, and a few areas of honeysuckle- in search of berries and whatever else of interest we could find. Although, I had no clear memory of one particular instance, or day, flashing images of dolls in fists, pine needle and combs crunching underneath our feet, and tiny berries under green leaves began to gather in my mind- no faces, memories don’t have faces-, congealing a remembrance of things past.

As a child, I loved dolls. Barbie dolls were especially of interest to me because they resembled grown-ups to me. Barbie and her network of socialites had fancy cars and clothes, blue tiled kitchens, pink mansions, and bubbling Jacuzzis. Barbie was a doctor, a princess, an astronaut, and just a girl from Malibu, in high heels and Daisy Duke, cut-off shorts, sitting in her Jeep for hours, after being cracked and popped into a cross-legged position. Sometimes, she was white, black, and in the late 80’s, even evolved to Native American and Asian. On her destructive days, she would morph into a  choppy-hair, scissor-cut-mini-dress-wearing, “Ms. Hot-Pants” who had fallen victim to various substance dependencies and toxic relationships with the two community Kens, forcing multiple interventions hosted by young Skipper and Kristie at the Malibu Mansion.

My friend’s post reminded me of how we would dress my Barbie dolls in their best clothes, and take them on our adventures through the woods of the neighborhood- forcing her abandon the need for Ken, pink convertibles, and vanilla scented kitchens for periods of time as we explored. Eventually, Barbie in all of her grandeur was to be left behind, propped upright at the base of tree, as we continued on, alone in our journey, picking wild berries from the ground, along the way. This would go on for hours with no particular destination or purpose; but for pure enjoyment, fueled by the berries. As my friend pointed out, “we could have gotten poisoned, or something, but they sure were delicious”! Whatever that “something” was, or the poison we evaded, we didn’t care. We were fearless and the berries found were sweet!

After digesting what she had written, what followed in my mind, was a myriad of little themes, and connections to the big picture of what was shared. That this childhood friend of mine, and I, though not in constant contact with one another, remain connected through our ability and willingness to recall memories of a time when our Being was profoundly evident. No bookshelves and internet searches filled with self-help doctrines, horoscopes, diagnoses, warning signs, or cures. We were merely, following through on the agreement of our existence, wholeheartedly; trekking through the woods, uncovering wild berries, as we ate and collected them in open fists for the sharing. Without fear, or expectation, we simply went about the business of enjoying the sweetness of the fruits of our journey through the woods, until it was time to return home with Barbie.

“…I remember when we would take your Barbie dolls & go walking through the woods to find wild strawberries & raspberries (while trying not to get pricked!). Looking back, I realize we could have gotten poisoned or something, but they sure were delicious”

Berries & Sweet Ricotta Creme:  Berries and Sweet Ricotta Cream-1

  • 1 cup of chilled whipping cream
  • tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla (and bourbon) extract
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1 pint of fresh mixed berries

Beat the whipping cream, confectioner’s sugar, honey, and vanilla, until it stiffens and begins to form peaks. Slowly incorporate ricotta without over mixing. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Top with fresh mixed berries.

Can be served over shortcake, sweet cornmeal cakes, pound cake, or alone in a dessert bowl.

Thank YOU for enjoying a little Sunday Stew with me! Please follow me so that we may do this again next week! -Jennifer M. Jones, The Cosmopolite with a Plate

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