In part, due to my nature, in part, a product of my times, I spent my younger entrepreneurial years operating under the radar. Stained glass window designer, silk screen printmaker, craft co-op gallery director, gourmet brownie baker…
My bohemian sensibilities, you might say.
In the late eighties, I went legit, opened a little cafe on a shoestring. Called A Matter of Taste, it was a charming spot housed in a old warehouse facing Nashville’s riverfront. It drew as many characters as customers, and was the springboard for some funny adventures.
I wrote a book about the cafe, the intrepid women who worked with me, our fringy downtown community—all on the cusp of corporate gentrification. Entwining tales of offbeat catering jobs and nurturing meals unfold to a larger story of adaptation.
A Comet’s Tail of Chocolate to date, remains unpublished, although I am thrilled to tell you that an excerpt is included in the latest issue (#10) of Alimentum, The Literature of Food. The title of the story is “The Insurmountable Problem,” and has a drippy chicken delivery man as its star…
I confess, seeing the story in print has made me a bit giddy. So I thank you for indulging me in this small piece of self-promotion. And, I invite to check out this literary review of food. Founded in 2005, Alimentum features poetry, fiction, and essays from writers worldwide.
“That chicken man.” I gritted my teeth. “Gives me the creeps.”
But wait! You know how I always like to give you a recipe with a story. So, here’s a quick and easy one: Cilantro infused Lemonade. The herb pairs beautifully with the citrus; the combo seems right for the advancing summer heat—so cool and refreshing.
Lemon zest and fresh cilantro infuse a simple syrup. ( I believe that lemon basil would be wonderful as well–and I shall try that too, once my lemon basil grows a wee bit taller.) Mix the syrup with a little lemon juice, sparkling water and BLING—you have a sophisticated summer drink. Just the right thing to sip on while savoring the Word of Food.
for the Simple Syrup:
1 cup Sugar
2 cups Water
zest of one Lemon, and some slices
1 cup coarsely chopped Cilantro
Place water into a saucepan and stir in sugar. Add zest. Bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and plunge in chopped cilantro. Toss in about 3 thin slices of lemon. Let cool for a couple of hours.
2 T. Infused Simple Syrup
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Sparkling Water, like Pelligrino
In a tall glass, put in 2 Tablespoons of Simple Syrup. Squeeze in lemon juice. Drop in ice. Pour in sparkling water and stir. Garnish with lemon slice and cilantro sprig. Sip and enjoy.
We all watched as the door closed and a gnomish pink man with long orange hair and beard in a navy blue uniform scampered off, dolly in hand, to his delivery truck. The Music City Egg truck had a big red chicken painted on its side and was illegally parked on First Avenue, straddling the street and sidewalk at an angle. Underneath the chicken was the enigmatic company slogan, “Yesterday’s lay delivered today.”