Dear Kid,

If you were older, you might have joined me when I was going through my West Wing phase. And if you had been around during the episode where the president was playing poker with his staff you would have learned about all the different types of punctuation marks (that’s tomorrow’s blog—set your alarm clock) and strawberries. Well, you’d have learned that strawberries are the only fruit with their seeds on the outside. The Madonna of fruit if you will. (NOTE: Madonna shocked the world by appearing on stage in an outrageous bra, back when wearing an outrageous bra without anything over it was shocking.)

Not only do strawberries wear their seeds on the outside, they aren’t a berry. Real berries are much more modest and keep their seeds covered up. Technically speaking, each seed on each strawberry (and there are generally about 200 per) is its own fruit (a type of dry fruit called achene) with teeny tiny seeds on the inside. But don’t spread that bit of news around because achene just don’t taste as good without a strawberry holding them together. Botanists can take their strawberries one seed, I mean achene, at a time, but the rest of us don’t need to bother. We’ll isolate them between our teeth. Floss anyone?

Speaking of teeth, strawberries can help remove stains from teeth. The acid in strawberries is nature’s enamel whitener.

Strawberries are part of the rose family. Just without the thorns. Or roses. And with strawberries. I’m beginning to think botanists are a little looney.

As a symbol of perfection and righteousness, medieval stone masons carved designs of strawberries in churches.

Strawberries are also great for athletes. They are rich in nitrate which can increase the flow of blood and oxygen to muscles by as much as 7%. In one study, participants who ate nitrate rich foods (like strawberries) burned 100 calories more than those who did not. Of course, since they’d eaten 150 calories worth of strawberries, it’s not obvious that this is a good weight loss strategy. But presumably your muscles will recover more quickly.

Each spring in parts of Bavaria, country folk still tie small baskets of wild strawberries to the horns of their cattle as an offering to elves. They believe that the elves, who are passionately fond of strawberries, will help to produce healthy calves and an abundance of milk in return. I am considering tying small baskets of wild strawberries to the dishwasher in the hopes that US elves are equally passionate about strawberries and will come clean the kitchen.

Love, Mom