When Life Gives You Lemons

Oh, dietary indulgences...

I wanted to write an Easter recipe for the ol’ blog this year, but…the truth is that I don’t celebrate it, and it just didn’t seem right. Though I frequently decry corporate holiday celebrations, it is, quite frankly, impossible to say no to candy. So far, the peanut M&M’s, Jolly Rancher jelly beans, and Cadbury eggs have been “simply irresistible.” And tomorrow, I will hardly be able to hold back as I raid the stores for discount sugary Easter bits. There’s simply nothing like bringing it back to your childhood–digging in the plastic green, pink, and yellow grasses for the jelly beans your mom dumped ruthlessly in the basket, scooping the succulent “yolk” out of the chocolate egg’s center as it dripped all over your face and fingers, biting gluttonously into the peanut butter eggs that always make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth…

We celebrated many Easters at my grandmother’s house in my earlier years. There was always a ham–a big, salty, fatty, nasty packaged ham that my grandmother or aunt attempted to spruce up with pineapple rings–and there was always the pearl onions, the mashed potatoes, the cream cheese and olive ants on a log. And candy. There was always candy. The thing about Easter is that I never really liked the food we ate. I still really despise ham, and though it may seem surprising given my love of bacon, it is still my least favorite part of the pig by far. Pearl onions were good, but you can’t eat more than a few of them when you’re a kid; they are onions, after all. Mashed potatoes were too typical, and the few times the women in my family attempted scalloped potatoes, they were…just a big brown crusty mess! My mother never cooked on this holiday, and so the food was relegated to the mundane, the uninspired, and the untouchable, particularly for my small mind.

Instead of Easter dinner, my partner and I will be feasting on sandwiches from Sub Shop here in Oswego–one of the things we wanted to do before we graduated. Because, after all, you are not truly an Oswegonian, or a true Sub Shop fan, unless you’ve had the Eric Cole and the Al Roker. Though we spent basically all weekend inside recovering from hours and hours of travel, the nice weather inspired a picnic mood in us.

Today’s recipe is a simple homemade lemonade. What I love about this recipe is that you can control the added sugar; many store-bought lemonades have obscene amounts of sugar, and they are often not sour enough for my liking. Plus, homemade lemonade is so easy! It is the pinnacle of any picnic, or any lunch/dinner in the summer, for that matter. We added a little alcohol to ours last night as well, and let’s face it: if you are making drinks for a party, why spend 7 or 8 dollars on pre-made drink mixers with high fructose corn syrup and chemical preservatives when you can buy a few lemons and call it a day? Life handed me lemons this weekend–the stress of moving to Buffalo from Oswego, and graduating, is really setting in–but, like the old adage, I made lemonade.

Homemade Lemonade

Nice, Cool Pitcher...

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/2 bottled lemon juice
1/2 gallon filtered water
extra lemon juice
extra lemon wedges
Svetka vodka (optional)

-Mix hot water and sugar together until you get a syrup, then add fresh and bottled lemon juice, and cold filtered water.
-Place in the refrigerator and let cool for approximately 20 minutes (less time if put in freezer, but don’t forget about them! You’ll have a solid lemonade pitcher)
-Pour 8 to 12 oz. over ice, and add an optional 1-2 shots of Svetka vodka. Tip: Squeezing (or saving) extra lemon juice and/or lemon wedges will allow you to make your individual lemonade more puckery!