Elaine Revelle: Putting strawberries to ultimate use

wooden spoon

I’m fed up with FedEx.

After receiving an email notifying me of a missed delivery by FedEx, I got suspicious of it being genuine. Of course, it asked me to click on a link (that set off an alarm), had no tracking number (uh-huh) and alerted me to a “tag” left at door (so tag, nowhere).

Somewhere in my lizard brain I thought 'scam,' actually it was more like SCAM!

The email even promised three more delivery attempts would be made. I waited … nothing happened, no one came, nada.

So, I moved the offending message into my folder labeled “weird” and ignored it.

Then I found out that a cousin had sent me some family items she had run across when moving. Oops! Maybe she sent it FedEx? I decided I should check it out.

Take my advice, don’t bother. You can’t get a real person on the phone, just a syrup-y female voice, total robot, asking for my tracking number.

After telling Ms. Treacle Voice I didn’t have one, several times, she advised going to the website for further help.

That was where my frustration went from mild to virile. The Q&A “help” page was anything but, since every A to my Q asked for my tracking number. As I got closer to the edge of my patience, I tried typing “representative” and was told I had to have a tracking number to proceed.

To be honest, I would have slammed the receiver down, but where’s the satisfaction with a computer on the other end?

Two days later, the U.S. Postal Service delivered my cousin’s package. Goodbye, FedEx. Hello, USPS. Obviously, the email was bogus.

The package was from the Freear side of my family and I was happy to receive the items.

My mother was a Freear. Her only sibling, my Uncle Joe, and his wife, Aunt Gay, lived in Buellton for many years. They were a big part of my life and I still miss them.

Their only son, my cousin John, my last link to the Freears, passed away in March. My recent communications have been with his widow, Cheryl, and I’m grateful for the mementos she has sent.

Going through pictures brought back memories of my aunt and uncle. Both loved to cook, were hospitable and creative.

Uncle Joe’s phony abalone has appeared many times in the Spoon. I’ll probably drag that one out as we near the Christmas season; it’s party perfect and a real treat.

This week is an old favorite from my aunt. Her lemonade pie is perfect for a light dinner and will be even more so if our current hot weather persists.

Simple, quick, easy and it’s the only use, as far as I can see, for Cool Whip.

While the original recipe calls for a graham cracker crust, I prefer a pastry one; results are less sweet and, as a bonus, the flavor is more pronounced.

Made from common pantry/freezer ingredients, this one can be made on a minute’s notice.

By the way, there are a couple brands of prepared pie shells on the market to make it even easier.

AUNT GAY’S LEMONADE PIE

baked single pie crust*

1 six ounce can lemonade**

1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk

1 nine ounce container Cool Whip

Thaw lemonade and Cool Whip. Mix lemonade and Eagle Brand milk together, using eggbeater, mixer or wire whisk. Fold in thawed Cool Whip and mix well. Mixture will be stiff at this point. Pile into baked pie shell, garnish as desired, thin lemon slices, sprigs of mint, etc. and refrigerate until ready to serve.

*Use lemonade, limeade, orange or tangerine juice. You can also experiment with some of the frozen tropical drink mixes. Try daiquiri, piña colada or mai tai for instance. Mix a little rum into the Cool Whip … surprise!

Longtime Valley resident Elaine Revelle can be reached at thewoodenspoon@juno.com

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