Welcome to part three of the four part series breaking down the latest additions to my cookbook collection, Lemons, Cucumbers, Honey, and Strawberries from Short Stack Editions, short form, ingredient-specific cookbooks.
On the last episode of Under the Parrot Umbrella, we solved the world’s problems and answered the age old question: is there good way to bake a cucumber? Answer: no.
This week, we tackle honey.
Specifically, switchel, a predecessor of sports drinks and hailed as “nature’s Gatorade.”
Which is appropriate because today, I’m pretty sure I had the hardest workout of my life. But I don’t know that’s saying much.
Aside from a short window in grad school, I’ve never been much of a runner, instead preferring a steady and forceful stroll. My friends actually make fun of me when I find myself running because my technique is more of a horse-prance. Come to think of it…is there such a think as dressage for humans? Because I think I just found my niche.
And when I was a dance class regular as a child, I won “best smile,” as opposed to best anything else that has to do with dance.
Middle school gym was a horror. One of my teacher volunteered me during our track unit to demonstrate jumping hurdles. What I did instead was show the class how to knock every one of those hurdles over because I was a child who won best smile in dance class. You think that’s a child that’s good at methodical jumping?
In college, my finest fitness class performance was jazz aerobics, so there’s that.
But this week, I boxed, and it was amazing but rough.
Fitness week, a week where gyms around town offer special promotions and free classes, just wrapped up. I had grand, but unfulfilled intentions of visiting no fewer than five gyms, but I slept through and forgot about the classes at all but one.
Which is more than zero though, so….I think I’m doing pretty well.
On Thursday night I attended an intro to boxing. My exact review I texted my mom and sisters after was, “IT WAS AWESOME.” It was 95% women who wanted to learn a new skill and would encourage each other and cheer each other on. There were also two guys who very earnestly made Mortal Kombat style fighting noises whenever they were punching. It was all I could do not to respond with “Pew! Pew pew! Pew!” with each of my punches. It was free promotional Intro to Boxing class, guys. Calm down.
I tried another boxing class this morning. It packed more of a……punch.
No, but really. It was brutal. Awesome, but hard. And when it was all said and done, I hobbled my way next door to my favorite local coffee shop, and collapsed at a table, trying not to yell for a breakfast sandwich the way people on television yell for doctors in the emergency room.
“HELP! Someone! I need a breakfast sandwich! Please! A breakfast sandwich! With bacon preferably! And make sure there’s cheese! Please don’t forget about the cheese! There’s no time to waste!”
I needed to replenish. Obviously my first instinct was a breakfast sandwich for reasons that are cheese, but there’s a chance I could have done a better job with some electrolytes.
Which brings me back to switchel.
And guys. I’m officially not going to feel bad about what I’m about to type.
Switchel is really interesting! This drink, the typical recipe consisting of water, ginger, vinegar, and a sweetener (molasses, honey, or syrup), is an all natural way to replace electrolytes that dates back to colonial America, it’s predecessor oxymel, a drink of water, honey, and vinegar dating back to the fifth century.
It was the drink of choice of farmers, the Amish, and, naturally, Congress!
Because of the close quarters and lack of air circulation in earlier congressional buildings, there was always a large bowl of switchel on hand. Though they added rum to theirs.
It’s as they say, “ain’t no congressional session like a John C. Calhoun congressional session, because a John C. Calhoun congressional session has switchel.”
They say that. All the time.
- 2 tablespoons of a sweetener: molasses, syrup, or honey. (But guys, go with honey, or what even is the point of this blogpost?)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of finely grated ginger
- 1 mason jar
Mix the honey, vinegar, ginger, and lemon in the mason jar.
Fill the rest of the jar with water. Recommendation: this isn’t called out in any recipe, but I used bottled sparkling water 1) because water in my neighborhood tastes like a stapler, and 2) what drink wasn’t ever helped along by a fizz? (see: seven years of diet Dr. Pepper)
All in all, I could see how this is probably not a drink I will have all the time. It’s an acquired taste, but once acquired, this would be a nice drink to have when you need to rehydrate!
And all in all, I liked Honey by Rebekah Pepper! It might be my favorite so far! I’ve already been crunching the numbers trying to decide when to have the honey-sesame bacon from her “Little Bites” section. And then I’ve been trying to decide who I can swindle with promises of compliments and cheese to make me the roast chicken with lemon and pink pepper honey butter. And then there’s the honey malt ice cream recipe.
Guys, Honey is winning this race.
Coming soon and bringing up the rear: Strawberries!
For previous recipes: