June 8th, 2010

Lemonade and the Literature of Food


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A Comet’s Tail of Chocolate to date, remains unpublished, although I am thrilled to tell you that an excerpt is included in the latest issue (#10) of Alimentum, The Literature of Food.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.

cilantro lemonade

Cilantro Lemonade
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.

The Glass:
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.”

Posted in Articles, Beverages, Recipes

21 Responses to “Lemonade and the Literature of Food”
  1. FOODESSA Says:

    Giddy you have every right to feel…enjoy it!

    Your lemonade recipe came just on time…because today I started my 45 day long ‘Limoncello’ experiment.
    Lots of unjuiced lemons!!!
    Not a fan of cilantro…however, I think Mint will probably do justice to your refreshing recipe.

    It was nice to read a little more about your very interesting personal background. Everyone has a story ;o)
    Flavourful wishes,

  2. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best Says:

    Congratulations!!! I know how you feel about seeing your work in published and having your name in print beside it. Such an accomplishment. I should have known that you had a cafe in a previous life, you have so many great recipes.

  3. Denise | Chez Danisse Says:

    Exciting! Congratulations!

  4. Renee Says:

    Lemonade– ingredients ready to go, yum!
    Allimentum– where can I pick up a copy? I can’t wait to read the story!

    Congrats to you; now go get the full book published! :)

  5. Allison Wright Says:

    Congrats Nancy, that is WONDERFUL!!! Hopefully we will be able to read the entire book soon :-)

  6. Wendy Says:

    Loved the story in ALIMENTUM since I was the cause of the final undoing of “the chicken man.”

  7. gigi Says:

    congrats nancy !! look forward to reading the article…and hopefully the book !

  8. Maggie Says:

    Congratulations, Nancy! It’s just “A Matter of Time” before the book is published!!

  9. Patrick O'Rourke Says:

    “fringy downtown community”, Hey, I resemble that remark..po

  10. Jennifer Justus Says:

    Congratulations Nancy! Can’t wait to read it! I’m taking a trip this weekend and have my copy of Alimentum ready for the plane. Your story will be first on my list!

  11. Fluffy Says:

    this is worthy shameless promotion!!

  12. elizabeth Says:

    Congratulations on getting published! I was previously unfamiliar with this journal but I’m dying to subscribe to it now as I’ve been looking for something new to read.

  13. foodonfifth.com, Teresa Blackburn Says:

    I will pick up my copy and read it with gusto and a wonderful glass of lemonade. Saw your review in the Arts Magazine this month as well….nice work Nance & Congrats.

  14. Cathy Says:

    Congratulations, Nancy! I can’t wait to read this. Also, I love the photograph at the top of this post. It looks like a painting–so pretty!

  15. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Dear Friends, thanks for all the kudos. Another step in the process…
    hopefully, as Maggie says, ” A Matter of Time”….

    Wendy–true, but think what you had to endure before the chicken man’s undoing!

    PO–like my high school principal once said to the assembly of wise guys: “You know who you are.”

    For now, Alimentum journal can be ordered via their website, $10 for an issue, including mailing cost.

  16. Barbara Says:

    Well, I had the pleasure of reading Nancy’s book in it’s entirety and it made me smile, and sometimes laugh out loud throughout. Hopefully, this will get your book noticed and on to publication where it needs to be!

  17. Yvonne Says:

    Congratulations, Nancy. I feel giddy for you.

  18. Tracy Says:

    I forgot to say congratulations! This is wonderful. You should feel giddy. What a treat! :)

  19. heather Says:

    Congratulations Nancy! I’m ordering my copy right now!

  20. rachel Says:

    How did I miss this, you do know I am always reading even if I go awol for a while don’t you?. Anyway lemonade and the news of publication of at least some of A Comet’s Tail of Chocolate (I love this title) – wonderful both. It doesn’t surprise me at all you are being published. Cheers to you and can’t wait to read more. from late rach xx
    Like the idea of cilantro (coriander to me)very much

  21. Five Ways to Eat Lemons | Food & Think Says:

    [...] day. But why not at least jazz it up with basil, mint or—though I can’t advocate it—cilantro? It certainly wouldn’t be out of the question to add some vodka to any one of those [...]

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