“B” is for “Blueberry”

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter B

Blueberries are native to North America, consumed for roughly 13,000 years before European colonists arrived. Although Europe has its own native “blueberries,” theirs are a closely-related species called “bilberries.” Luckily for Europeans, we let them have some of ours during the 1930s for cultivation. The North American blueberry was first cultivated in New Jersey, where it is the official state berry. I can personally attest that “the New Jersey blueberry” (Vaccinium caesariense) is the best. (I am not from New Jersey and have not been compensated for my opinion.)

I love fresh blueberries; blueberry pie, not so much. My father, on the other hand, LOVED blueberry pie. I think his taste for it developed sometime in the mid to late 1960s, when he learned he was allergic to coconut, among other things. Before that, he LOVED coconut custard pie. Now, when I say he LOVED those pies, each in its turn, I mean he rarely ate anything else for dessert. (Except zeppoles, which he LOVED during his birthday week. I was going to explain zeppoles further, but I think I’ll save it for “Z” on April 30th.)

My late husband also loved blueberry pie, albeit not to the obsessive extent that my (late) father did. You’d think that might have been a bonding point for them. That would be a stretch. I’m not sure if my father even liked my husband, who had three strikes against him in my father’s eyes. Jerry was my second husband, wasn’t Catholic, and was twenty-three years older than I. Just about the only thing he had going for him was that he liked blueberry pie. In their relationship, blueberry pie was a polite meeting in no-mans-land. Definitely not a “bonding.”