My latest godson recently visited me. One morning while making home versions of McMuffins—little turkey sausages between oat-floured English muffins, with smoked Gouda slices added to one, alfalfa sprouts to another, little 4-year old Henry looked over to me from his chair-chair and asked, “Uncle George, where are the strawberries?” “I have some nice ones,” I replied and my housekeeper having overheard brought a bowl of California types, probably ‘Driscoll’ over to the table. I made thick slices under his direction and he replaced the cheese and sprouts with them. The strawberry turkey McMuffins tasted delicious, with an unusual contrast of savory-sweet texture, perfect for the low-key amusement of breakfast.
Later for lunch, Henry asked that we make tiny, mini hamburgers consisting of little pieces of bun, meat, and thick slices of strawberry. This was even tastier and one of those simple children’s ideas that make adults feel a bit stupid. He went on to making normal-sized hamburgers with large fresh cut pear and peach slices, and they were ok. Pears weren’t the match for burgers that the strawberries were. The peach burgers were better.
I was reminded of a story of a friend who left his small liberal arts college in the early 70s to get a job in “the real world” (a trend at the time). Pizza Hut was still new enough to be a big deal for neighborhood birthday parties. He was managing one in the Pittsburgh area, a city of close-knit blue-collar neighborhoods. A family of a dozen or so came in and settled at their table. Soon, a young kid—the birthday boy, so little he couldn’t see over the counter—came up and asked my friend Steve, “Sir, do you have peanut-butter pizza?” Steve noticed his nose was running. At that time, a birthday child could have “whatever pizza combination they want—extra toppings free!” by which they meant store toppings. Steve said, “Why sure, young man”, ordered a bunch of appetizers for the family and darted to a nearby supermarket for the peanut butter. He said it wasn’t nearly as bad as he’d expected, and some of the adults tried it. But the kid was transported to heaven. Steve is now a business executive, and active in local politics in Austin, Texas. He often wonders about that kid—what he turned out like. I promised him I’d watch my godson’s progress and see if he ends up “Iron Chef” material—minus the tattoos or I’m not his godfather.