Day 327 – National Strawberry Parfait Day

The Parfait Lobbying Association must be sinking tons of cash into the official holiday governing body because today is the third such day in the last year to honor a parfait. I like a good parfait, but does it deserve three days? If you appreciate a chocolate parfait, does a strawberry parfait need its own recognition? Are there more days coming down the pike? Butterscotch parfait day? Pumpkin parfait day? Wake up people – Big Parfait is running this country, or at least our holidays.

The word parfait is from the French and literally means something perfect. Well that seems a bit much, but a parfait is certainly delightful. There are different kind of parfaits too depending on where you are in the world. In France, a parfait is a frozen dessert made from a base of sugar syrup, egg, and cream. It’s made needing less stirring than your typical ice cream (think of your ice cream maker), so it was a dessert that could be easily created by the home cook. That’s how the French parfait began to gain more popularity. If you were to order a parfait in England, you might be served a very smooth meat paste similar to a pâté sweetened with liqueurs. Leave it to the Brits to ruin a perfectly fine dessert by making it into a foamy combination of chicken livers. That’s probably more of a culinary delicacy, but no thank you. Here in the USA, our parfaits are on the sweet side and are actually layered and served in tall glasses. They can be made with cream, ice cream or even gelatin and they layered with granola, fresh fruit, cookies, syrups and anything else you want. Today, I would layer mine with fresh strawberries.

Today was the first day I have had off from both jobs since Memorial Day. Not that my life has been extremely taxing over this last month, but there’s something about having a whole day off with nothing to do. I slept in a little (I can’t believe waking up at 7:45 is sleeping in to me now). I had a nice leisurely morning. I made breakfast. I had coffee on the deck with Lola. It was everything I wanted it to be. Then I got to spend the day in the yard. Most of it was spent mowing, but I took my time today so it would come out nicer. I removed some weeds that have been bugging me, especially some giant stalks that were growing in random spots that if I didn’t no better, I would have thought Lola planted them with magic beans she had received from trading in our cow. Lola was outside too and was power-washing the deck and porch. We were both working the land in our own little worlds. It was hard work, or at least tiring work, but it was good work that made you feel you accomplished something. At the end, I went for a swim in the river to cool down. The water is still freezing, but it was a refreshing oasis after sweating away the day. Then Lola came down and we had a beer in the early evening sun watching the water. That’s a pretty great day. I recharged myself which is what a good day off is supposed to do, so that was a win.

I was able to finally get our propane tank refilled today too so our grill was back up and running. For dinner, I fired up some burgers which were the perfect meal for the end of a day like today. I topped each burger with cheese, cheddar for Lola, American for me, and then added fresh tomatoes and arugula too each. Lola had some ripe avocado on hers while I had a pickle on mine. I also made some seasoned french fries on the side. We were both famished when we finally sat down to eat which was the sign that we had both put in good hard days of work. Then we nestled in to watch some entertainment and let our minds drift away. We started watching the new Netflix series GLOW which so far has been pretty good. After our first episode, it was time for some dessert so I went into the kitchen to start parfait making.

I had picked up some supplies at Clements earlier in the day, the most important being the fresh local strawberries. These were fantastic. They were nice and ripe, with a bright red color to them all. They were sweet and that slight perfume-like taste to them – so good. I had sliced up a bowl of these earlier and had them sitting in their own juices with a touch of sugar to help them break down. I whipped up some fresh cream too which would be prefect with the fresh berries. Then I started assembling. I technically don’t have parfait glasses, but we have long tall beer glasses and those work out just fine. The bottom layer was vanilla ice cream. I topped that with the fresh strawberries and then the whipped cream. On top of that I sprinkled in some crushed animal crackers to give everything a little crunch. I topped that with some strawberry topping. Then I repeated. At the very end, I topped off both servings with more whipped cream so it would have that nice, fluffy top. They looked delicious and refreshing.

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Now I know why the French call this perfect. It really was. I think that had a lot to do with it being the reward at the end of a pretty great day, but it was good no matter what. I thought that the ice cream would be hard as we scooped it out of the glass, but the addition of everything else kept it soft and workable. It melded together with all the other favors. The sweetness of the strawberries were front and center and the strawberry topping enhanced that as well. The whipped cream mixed with the syrup of the berries and the ice cream to create a real creamy delight. The animal crackers delivered the right crunch too because it needed a little more texture. The cookies were a nice sweetness but not overly sweet. It really was a great little treat and although I wasn’t all that excited for a parfait, in the end it was one of my favorite desserts we’ve had in a  while. The only thing I wish I had was longer spoon to make it easier to get all the goodness at the bottom.

This wasn’t a big day of celebration. I didn’t have to spend all day making it or searching it out. All I really had to do was get some strawberries. Still, this was one of my most favorite celebrations in a long time. I think it was because it was the sweet reward at the end of good day. Today was filled with hard work, with sweat, with cuts and scrapes and bug bites and itches. It was a day of sunburn and of muscle aches and pains. But it was our day. We were doing what we wanted to do because we wanted to do it. It was that feeling of pride. That satisfaction at the end of the day. That feeling that Andy Dufresne talks about on the roof at Shawshank Prison, about having the warm sun on your back. That’s what the end of the day was for us, just feeling relaxed and good tired together. A parfait was just the sweet ending to top it all off. It was the joy of hard work and the promise of more days to come. That, my friends, as the French say is “parfait.”

Next up: National Chocolate Pudding Day

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