August 11, 2010
Now that we live in the mid-west, I am really missing the cooling ocean breezes of coastal Maine. I know it has been a hot summer pretty much everywhere. We all sweat and swelter and think that it must be hotter here than anywhere else. I certainly miss my days by the lake, but at the same time I think it is crucial to enjoy the season no matter what it gives you. In a few months I will be piling on the layers, shivering and wishing for those humid golden days of summer.
Last weekend, we dripped our way through an art fair, stopping frequently for cold drinks in the shade. In the midst of unpacking and settling into our new location I was tired from the heat, the newness of our surroundings, and all the unknowns of our life here. After perusing the the unique and interesting art work, we wandered back to the car in a daze wondering where to find respite from the heat.
Then, we stumbled upon a lemonade stand. With a sign painted in vivid blue and yellow and two cheerful, though sweaty, children, it was the perfect antidote to the fatigue of the day. It transported me, momentarily, to the time in my life when summers seemed endless and priceless. Whenever we felt like it, my sister and our friends and I would mix up a can of lemonade concentrate in a pitcher, haul out the big old chest cooler and some cups and practice our entrepreneurial skills. I'm sure we had a sign of some sort, but our primary form of advertising was yelling, "Lemonade Stand" at the top of our lungs. We didn't live in a neighborhood of closely spaces houses and sidewalks, but we hoped someone would hear us and come by for a glass. Our best customers were the mailman and our neighbor who lived just up the hill.
Ray and I placed our order and each got a large blue cup with a bendy straw, ice, and cool sweet lemonade. It was a dollar a cup and we gave them three: I learned early on from my customers that you always pay a little more than is asked at a lemonade stand.
Lately, I've been making basil lemonade at home. I was inspired by a drink I had at a bar last summer which had lemonade, basil and some sort of liquor. In this case, I omitted the alcohol. I love the contrast of the sweet, tart juice with the savory green flavor of the basil. Its simple and refreshing, especially if you don't have lemonade stand near by to cool you off and make your day. I just mix up a batch of lemonade* and add eight or ten ripped up basil leaves. I let this cool in the fridge, giving the basil time to infuse the lemonade and then serve over ice. Cheers to cool drinks on hot summer days!
*Usually, I just mix up a can of lemonade concentrate. This is quite sweet, though, so I would like to try making it from lemon juice next time.