This week on Hungry Still, we introduce an immune-system-boosting brew that is at once refreshing and comforting: a lemonade infused with ginger and thyme. Thyme, especially, is known for its relaxing, soothing qualities, used often in throat lozenges to reduce irritation from coughing. Ginger is for warmth. Lemon is for vitamin C…but also for the story it inspires.
Memory food is usually a recollection of years past, but I actually made this about three weeks ago when all the shelter-at-home measures were starting up—and that may as well have been years ago according to quarantine-time. I made it almost every day—a big batch in my slow cooker that would run for hours. I had an itchy, sore throat that kept coming back, and that was really scary. So I drank this and did some home exercises, thinking of better things.
With all this time to reflect, I couldn’t help remembering more than just the “better things,” though; a few encounters from the deep crevices of my brain came to the fore—painful aching moments: of arguments, of disappointment, of failures, of falling-outs. Things happen between friends that can sour up right away — or with time. Yes, it can happen real quick, catching you off guard and suddenly it’s over. It can also drag on for years, without anything major happening, and you’re left with a question mark inside.
For this kind of injury, there is no salve. Sometimes, we think we can do something to make up for it while we are all hot and zealous. No, to find this kind forgiveness you have to keep living in the sunlight, and grow from within.
So today, while the sting is fierce, we better make a healing tonic out of the sour and the bitter. Reduce the inflammation, ease that itch that keeps coming back and add in some warmth. Maybe you’ll pick up the phone and call this person up, or shoot a text over or send a letter through a perilous journey in the mail. Perhaps most of the words you really need to say stay unspoken — time flies by and we all are grown— but it feels like it’s due time to mend things. After all, these memories with people endure in the silence. It’s better to end the day on a solution of sweet remembrance than bitter ones. Especially in times like this, we all need grander, bigger hearts to forgive and to be forgiven, for the people who gave us lemons and to whom, probably, we gave some lemons, too. 🍋🌿
Recipe (Serves one 16-oz glass)
5 cups of water
1 large pinch of thyme
Ginger thumb-length (6-7 slices)
1 lemon (yielding around ¼ cup lemon juice)
Maple syrup / Sweetener of choice, to taste
- Bring water to boil on stovetop, add thyme, ginger slices. Boil for 5 minutes. Let cool.
- In the meantime, cut your lemon in half, and squeeze for juice. Yields roughly ¼ cup. Pour lemon juice into your final drinking glass.
- Strain cooled herbal brew. Pour to mix with your lemon juice, fill to top.
- Done! You may add back a few ginger slices for additional flavor, and ice cubes for a cold drink. Sweeten to taste, stir and enjoy.