What do fresh, sweet cherries remind me of? Summer, yes, well that’s the obvious answer here, but it’s not the one foremost in my mind. Delicious, sweet cherries inevitably remind me of a press trip I went on, probably about 15 years ago, to Portland and Yakima, Washington, prime cherry country. It was put on by the National Cherry Growers Association (or something along those lines), and
it was mostly a lovely trip, with about 20 or so food editors from various publications. We had a picnic in a cherry orchard one day. Fried chicken, as I recall. Something cherry for dessert. Lobster dinner at the Heathman Hotel. So far, so good – ah, the glamourous adventures of a food writer! That is, until about 2:30 a.m., when I was catapulted out of bed with a severe case of food poisoning. So bad, in fact, that not only couldn’t I make it to the tour of the maraschino cherry plant the next morning, I also
refused the services of an ambulance to take me to the hospital because I felt that if I left my bed, I would surely die. Turned out that 15 fellow editors were afflicted with the same illness. A public relations nightmare, if ever there was one. I was never quite sure what caused it, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was the fried chicken at the picnic. But I don’t hold grudges – fresh cherries remain one
of my favorite summer fruits. Cherry crisp is an easy way to enjoy them, and only requires a cherry pitter to remove the cherry pits. My friend Rose Levy Beranbaum swears that a hairpin works better, but I haven’t tried that method. Give it a twirl if you don’t have a pitter, and let me know how it works out.