21 September, 2012

Memory Tea

...A B C D/ Can I bring my friend to tea? /E F G H I J/ I love you....

Hey, Mom.
"Hey, what?"
‘Member that iced tea stuff you used to make in summertime? It had Tang and maybe cinnamon?
"Yes, probably."
Probably you remember, or probably cinnamon?
"Probably cinnamon. Remembering? You know better."
So, what else was in it?
"Lemonade mix, I seem to recall."
Right, and instant iced tea. This Lipton instant, is that it?
She shrugs. I pick up the jar. It’s glass, and I can see through the bottom.
Yes. This looks familiar.
She laughs.
"I don’t know how you can look at that when you’re thinking of something I made a hundred years ago and say that it looks familiar."
The tea, it looks powdery. Little fluffy round crystals. That’s what looks familiar.
I show her. She agrees.
"Let me know how it turns out."

It’s not likely that she remembers the proportions, if she ever had any. She may have just taken all the containers, dumped them together and stirred in as much cinnamon as she felt like using, then portioned the whole mess back into the empty containers. That was her style.

I didn't believe that I’d find the recipe online, but doubting the web isn’t a bright thing for me to do. I found several recipes, all very similar.  However, all of them refer to this beverage as a hot drink. I remember my mother mixing it up in pitchers and serving it over ice. I think it was her crunchy granola hippie compromise for soda.

I bought the ingredients, but haven’t mixed them yet. I’m a little afraid that no matter what I do, I won’t capture in my mouth the memory in my mind.
Resee Witherspoon’s version sounds like my mother.
"My grandmother had this spiced tea recipe — it's very southern. You take instant powdered tea, a can of Tang, a can of powdered lemonade, and you mix them all together with some nutmeg and cinnamon. I'm telling you, southern people will know this recipe. And you shake it all up, then you put it in a Mason jar, and put a piece of fabric on top and a piece of ribbon around it. Then, whenever you want, just put two scoops in hot water. It's the most delicious thing in the world."

Read more:
 Reese Witherspoon's Recipe for Spiced Tea - Good Housekeeping 

This one sounded right, and referenced Girl Scout days. 

Spice Tea with Tang
1 cup instant iced tea (plain, lemon, sweetened, unsweetened)
2 cups Tang instant breakfast drink
1 tablespoon of allspice or pumpkin pie spice

Mix well and use as is, or add some Jello (lemon, orange, lime,?) instant lemonade mix, or powdered apple cider mix. For a mug: Add one heaping tablespoon of the mix to a mug of boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Drink when it’s cool enough to stand it.


My mother might have learnt it through Girl Scouts, except she was a scout troupe leader in the late ‘70s, and I remember drinking this stuff when we lived in Indiana, in the early '70s. She couldn’t have learned it when she was a Girl Scout, because Tang hadn’t been invented yet.

Yes, whippersnappers, I remember when Tang was invented. Shaddap. Also, it used to come in grape.

This one came up on the Cooks.com recipe search. It has enthusiastic reviews!! Note the enthusiasm!!!


1 c. instant tea
14 oz. Tang
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 pkg. lemon flavored Kool Aid
Mix all dry ingredients well. Add 1 cup of sugar to mix or sweeten to taste. Use 2 Tbsp. for 1 cup of hot water.

"I had a severe case of bronchitis and lost my voice. My mother-in-law made this for me but substituted allspice for the cloves. Within 2 days I felt so much better and I had my voice back!! I don't know if it's all the vitamin C from the Tang or what but if you're sick this stuff is a definite necessity AND it tastes great!!!"

"This is awesome stuff for sore throat, sickness, and a yummy evening or morning beverage. This has been passed down two generations in my family."

This last one sounds most like what I think I remember, and has suggestions for packaging it as an inexpensive gift for a child’s teacher.

Spiced Tea Mix Recipe

2 cups orange-flavored drink mix (Tang)
1 cup lemon flavored instant tea powder (has sugar mixed in)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
TO MAKE A CUP:  Mix 3 teaspoons of mix to a mug of hot water.  Mmm, enjoy!

Okay, and I lied. I did mix it all up, and taste-tested it both hot and iced. The moment the cinnamon hit the Tang/tea mixture, my nose said, "Ahh! THAT's the stuff!" So. But because I had an array of bakin spices, I fiddled around. The cinnamon's the important bit... to me. The other spices are just gilding.

Here it is:
Memory Spiced Tea Mix
(regular batch)
In large bowl, mix together:
2 Cups Orange Tang
1 Cup Lipton Instant Iced Tea Powder
1 Cup Lemonade Mix
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Allspice
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Ground Mace
(This is because I had Mace, which I usually don't and is completely unnecessary and just a bit too posh for this homey little recipe. If you don't have Mace but want the posh version, try 1/2- 1tsp ground nutmeg)
(large batch)
In large bowl, mix together:
3 Cups Orange Tang (one whole container)
1 1/2 Cups Lipton Instant Iced Tea Powder
1 1/2 Cups Lemonade Mix
3 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
1 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Ground Mace
(this will fit nicely into 2 large Mason jars)
(gigantic no-leftovers batch)
4 22 oz. Mason Jars, with lids, empty and clean (or mix it together then put it in all the empties)
In large bowl, mix together:
2 Containers Orange Tang Powder
1 Jar Lipton Instant Iced Tea Powder
1 Container Lemonade Mix
6 tsp Ground Cinnamon
3 tsp Ground Allspice
3 tsp Ground Ginger
3 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Ground Mace

Use 1 -2 heaping Tbsp per glass or mug. Share and enjoy!

If you try any version, let me know how it turns out.

( The Beatles; All Together Now)

10 March, 2012

300 Words

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....

I'm embarrassed to even post this as an entry, but I've been delinquent in posting at all. Go on, give me a D+ for it, if you like.

A website asks for a 'writing sample', one that 'demonstrates ability to write concisely on a topic', which, as a matter of fact, I CAN. I just usually don't. Unlike some other writers of my acquaintance, I actively enjoy the process of writing, the language, the mechanics and the unfolding progression of thought as I write. On occasion, I need to write about a thing before I am able to understand how I feel about it.

However, the assignment is 300 words that demonstrate...yadda, yadda. So I must choose a topic, first of all. "Write what you know" is a great idea, unless you're writing science fiction, which by definition is something the author doesn't know. But at this point in my life, I know so much stuff. And a lot of it is purely boring. Also, I am obviously stalling. I'd like to write about something other than cooking or child-rearing or knitting, something that will capture the attention of the site's editors. What do I know that other folk don't know?

whiteface makeup application
stilt walking for beginners
how to build a fire-eating torch
I-Ching readings at parties
preparing for a gig
how to write a murder mystery
sewing a pair of stilt pants

Make sure your hands and face are very clean. Oils left on the skin will interfere with the application of the greasepaint. Place a small amount of the greasepaint in the palm of your non-dominant hand, and rub it gently until it is very soft and pliable. With fingertips or a makeup sponge, apply greasepaint evenly to your face, working symmetrically so as to avoid streaking. Crusted blemishes on your face will be a problem at this point, so simply dab a little glob of makeup on them, and leave them until later. Be sure to work the makeup well into your eyebrows and the 'corners' of your nose- the crease where the sides of your nose meet the lower edge of your cheek. Cover to your hairline, ears and chin, or some predetermined edge. Scrunch your chin up to ensure that you're all covered even when grimacing.

When your face is evenly coated, with your ring and middle fingers covered in white, gently pat all over your face. This works the makeup into your skin and hides your pores. Your makeup should feel tacky, but not thick or goopy. If you've left any blobs of makeup on your blemishes, now is the time to gently and carefully cover them, blending the edges of the makeup blob without disturbing any scabbing you may have. Check the mirror. Do you look good? If so, it's time for powder.

Classically trained clowns like a powder sock, which is a deceptive term. An old gym sock isn't the thing at all. A trouser sock, made of pantyhose material is better, but what you need for a good powder sock is a densely woven material that permits the powder to seep out, without leaving textural marks on your makeup. A child's dress sock is often a good choice, but be sure to only use white socks, as sock dye can bleed onto your powder. Some clowns avoid the sock entirely and simply shake powder onto a puff and pat their faces with the powder-coated puff, or dip large fluffy brushes into a powder box and brush the powder onto the face. These are more wasteful and messy than the sock method, but a novice will wish to try each method to determine personal preference.

Once your face is completely powdered, (tap or stroke your face all over with your fingertips- any stick spots require more powder), you will use a large soft brush to remove the excess. When you make faces in the mirror, you shouldn't have powder flaking off- if you do, brush again.

Check your face again, turning side to side, up and down, and brush your eyebrows back into place. Now you are ready to paint on your details.

Okay. My word processing program says this is 458 words. But it's a start.

24 January, 2012

Tiara Tuesday

...have you seen her all in gold/ like a queen in days of old/ she shoots colors all around/ like a sunset going down/ have you seen a lady fairer?..

1: Tiara Tuesday (TM)
is today; now, everyone

be regal and posh.

2: Tea-filled china cups

sail beneath powdered noses:

pinkies aloft, all!

Tiara Tuesday activities:
Bubble baths. 
Luncheon shall be on china plates, even if luncheon is a taco from Taco Bell. Inappropriate, impractical or downright silly shoes are acceptable and shall be worn on Tiara Tuesdays. Beverages, even non-adult beverages such as milk, apple juice or plain water shall be served in champagne flutes, wine glasses or cut crystal highball tumblers.
Furry jackets or stoles are Tiara Tuesday-approved outerwear. Fluffy boas are optional, but recommended.
Participants are encouraged to bestow something upon another, perhaps un-tiaraed, person. You may bestow a new package of paper upon the copy machine, a regal pat upon your dog, or a lovely smile upon the person in the toll-booth. Identifying an act of bestowance at the time is not necessary (though permissible), but the word should be in your mind as you do it.

It is permissible on Tiara Tuesday to enter every room as if you expect applause.

Things that are glittery or sparkly must be given at least cursory attention on Tiara Tuesdays. Bedazzled belts, besequined berets, metallic threaded camisoles, sparkly eyeshadow, crushed glass in the streets of your city shall be noticed and smiled upon regally, so pay attention.
In conversation, use of superlatives and exotic or obscure words is encouraged.
All hand movements must be accompanied by a lifted pinkie, including but not limited to jar opening, hair brushing, makeup application, nose blowing, door opening, filing, phone answering, tea drinking, tiara adjusting, specatacle wiping, driving and of course, crocheting or knitting.
A Princess Hat (satin cone with organdy scarf attached) is an acceptable substitute for a tiara, though less glittery.

The Princess Principle of Intention:
For those of you whose tiara-deficit state causes you to believe that you mayn’t participate until NEXT Tuesday, please be advised that you are permitted to wear your future tiara Right Now.
That is to say, if you are planning to purchase a tiara, you may behave as though you already have it on your head.
Please contain your gasps of astonishment when you catch glimpses of yourself in mirrors and recall that your tiara is invisible to everyone but you. Astonished gasps are so un-Princess-like.

The Rolling Stones; She's A Rainbow