Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I'm pretty focused on food. I subscribe to cooking blogs and newsletters, and I have opinions on the prominent recipe sites around the intertubes. So I was a bit taken aback when I got the most recent America's Test Kitchen e-newsletter, which featured a link in the content summary for lemonade. I clicked it and was taken to an article outlining the results of a taste test among store-bought lemonades.
I had to pause to digest that for a moment. See, I had expected that the article would describe ways to optimize homemade lemonade, or perhaps ways to jazz up regular old (slices of ginger, flower petals, or maybe some blueberries). Store-bought lemonade. Frozen lemonade even, in some cases. And all of them came in packaging of one form or another. It just wouldn't occur to me to buy lemonade. After all, there are three ingredients in the stuff: lemon juice, sugar, and water. None of these are difficult to come by if you're already in the grocery store. Isn't it just as easy to grab some lemons as to grab a heavy container of frozen concentrate? The lemons, after all, won't melt on the way home. Lemons will give you zest for baking, as well as juice for drinking. After that you can use a wrung out lemon half to clean mineral scale off the shower walls, or remove tenacious bathtub stains with the help of cream of tartar. And after that you can throw it on your acid-loving plants in the garden. What's left after drinking store-bought lemonade? Packaging. Landfill. Plastic that's going to kill a sea turtle or an albatross chick somewhere. Recycling if you're lucky and conscientious.
I just don't get it. How did we as a society get to the point where people are too helpless or "too busy" to make lemonade? Is it any faster or easier to mix up lemonade from frozen concentrate than it is to juice a few lemons? Why is there a market for prepared lemonade? With about 27 grams of sugar to the 8 ounce glass, this stuff is an occasional treat, or it should be. Can we not find the time and summon the skill to prepare one of the simplest of summertime indulgences? Does taste count for nothing?
The taste testers, incidentally, found five out of the eight store-bought lemonades pretty well undrinkable, including the lone organic brand. How do those odds sound to you?
Okay, rant over, folks. Thanks for your indulgence.