Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Short History of Lemonade

This Anchor-Hocking Hobnail set belonged to my late Mother-in-law, and has now found a new home in my cupboard. I'm guessing the set to be about 50 years old; it appears to have never been out of the box. I'm crazy about dishes, so I've had fun this spring pairing the tumblers with my new polka-dot dishes. The set is perfect for serving lemonade.

I don't often make homemade lemonade, because with 4 thirsty kids it is just more work than I care to invest. Store brand frozen lemonade works for us; I sometimes doctor it up with strawberry syrup, whole berries, or float lemon slices in the pitcher. Schwanns makes a great frozen lemonade, but that is a rare treat because it has to be delivered at your door and is not available in stores.

Laura Ingalls Wilder writes about her first introduction to lemonade in her book, On the Banks of Plum Creek:

" 'Is your lemonade sweet enough?' Mrs. Oleson asked. So Laura knew that it was lemonade in the glasses. She had never tasted anything like it."
Naturally, lemons would have been few and far between on the prairie where Laura lived, although the drink became increasingly popular in the 1800's as a result of the fact that sea captains were recommending lemon juice as a scurvy preventative on long sea journeys.

The history of pink lemonade is less medicinal and more humorous. I had to chuckle at this explanation, which I found on Wikipedia:

"An article from a New Jersey newspaper cites William "Billie" Henry Griffith of Three Bridges, NJ as the discoverer of pink lemonade. The article reads as follows: ' A stiff breeze lifted those tights from the line and deposited them into the container. Dyes in those days were not color-fast and to Billie's dismay he saw his lemonade take on a pinkish hue! It was too late to make more for the crowds were already milling around. Always a trooper at heart, living by the creed that 'the show must go on' Billie used the occasion and shouted in his familiar way "Step right up and get some pink lemonade! Absolutely new! Better than any lemonade ever made!" The customers crowded in, they drank and came back for more and Billie had made a name for himself.'"
For the record, pink lemonade was more often colored with beet juice. Whatever your opinion of beets, you have to admit it is an improvement over Billie's pink lemonade!

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