Tuesday, February 28, 2017

「多賀あさひや」のカフェを始める前に丁稚羊姜で有名な近江八幡の和多与さんが経営する八幡掘りの「逢茶あまな」さんで必要なことを色々教えていただきました。その時お世話になった従業員の方お二人が今日の午後かわいいお土産を持って訪ねてくださいました。そのお土産は苺の鉢植えです。真っ白な可憐な花から緑のかたい小さい果実が顔を出し、やがて真っ赤な苺になっていきます。苺と言えば、昔、祖母が畑で苺を植えていて、春になるともぎ取るのを手伝って毎晩お風呂上がりに食べていたのを思い出します。小さいけど赤くてとっても甘い苺を薄い塩水で洗って、ガラスの容器に家族それぞれの分を順番に入れていくのは子供の私の役目でした。スプーンで潰してお砂糖を少しと牛乳をたっぷり入れて、皆が食べ終わってもまだ自分のだけは残っているようにゆっくりゆっくりスプーンですくって食べました。苺は私の大好きな果物。アメリカにも苺はありますが大抵びっくりするほど大きいのです。味のほうは....どうやら軍配は日本に上がるようです。何十年ぶりかで故郷に帰ってきて真冬に近所の野菜市にきれいな苺のケースが並んでいるのを見て驚きました。甘くておいしい苺です。遠くから運ばれてくるのかと思ったら、何と地元の農家の方が出荷していらっしゃると聞いてもう一度びっくり。有り難いことです。故郷でこうしてまた美味しい苺が食べられるのですから。Before I started my cafe, I learned many necessary things for the cafe from another cafe named "Amana" which is run by Watayo in Ohmihachiman. Watayo is famous for Decchi Yookan (sweet bean jelly wrapped with skin of bamboo) in Shiga.  Today, two ladies who taught me at Amana visited me bringing a cute gift.  It was strawberry plant. First it has small white flowers and green hard fruits appear from there, then they gradually turn into red berries. I remember the old days which involved strawberries. When I was a child, my grandmother was planting strawberries in her small field. In spring I picked berries for her and at night she let me put them in individual glass bowls on the table. I smashed them with a spoon, and put a little sugar and much milk there. Then I took my time eating them so that I would still have them in my bowl even after every family member had finished eating. I like strawberries very much. I can find strawberries in the US but they are giant and not as sweet as in Japan. When I came back to Taga last year, I was surprised to find strawberries at the vegetable stand near my house. It was wintertime and I was also surprised to know that they were from a local farm. Native strawberries are very sweet. I really appreciate being able to get such fresh, sweet strawberries in my hometown.