Dinner for a Week – Wednesday (Bayberries)
The woman said, this is the last bunch of snow pea greens. The season is over. I have to snip the lower part off each stem, so they won’t taste woody.
A new person sat on a low wooden stool in the gap between the stands of the veggie seller and the poultry seller. In front of her was only one basket. It was filled with bayberries. My mouth watered. The bayberries can be very sour, so sour that my mouth still waters upon seeing them 30 years after I last saw them. Her bamboo basket was large and flat, holding only two layers of the berries. They bruise very easily; it is not a good idea to pile them in a heap. She covered a half of the basket with a damp towel which was stained purple by the juice. On the open side, she sprinkled a few green leaves from the bayberry tree. This is exactly my memory of bayberries and how they were sold in my childhood. If my grandpa was alive, he’d buy a handful, give me the darker ones to eat, because they are sweeter, soak the rest in rice wine for a month. I would stick out my purple tongue to everyone and be happy all day.