Delicious and unique culinary creations are my favorite things to give at this time of year. And so it is with my basil lemonade, which I recently made over 25 jars of, with the absolute freshest and most lush basil leaves, for the very special teachers, coaches, staff and administrators who have touched my daughters’ lives since the beginning of the current school year. For an extra special touch, I poured the lemonade into old-fashioned, pint-sized mason jars, some of which were vintage blue, and garnished each jar with baby basil leaves.
Perhaps even more than actually creating and sharing culinary gifts, I love the responses to them. These range from an extra warm smile to an extra tight hug to a heartfelt “Thank you.” I’ve also received text messages saying, “It was yummy!” And one formal email saying: “Dear Yetunde and family, Thank you so much for the DELICIOUS herbal lemonade – what a great gift idea!!”
After a decade of taking food gifts to teachers, my daughters have grown tired of narrating responses to my food, so much so, that this year my younger daughter, Niara, took to being a guerrilla journalist and captured one particular response on snap chat video. She understood that not only might I get a big kick out of it, but also that I might consider it one of the biggest compliments about my food.
Before I share what happened, let me just say, generally speaking, I don’t condone violence. That is until I saw, in this snap chat video, two boys almost come to blows over my basil lemonade. When Niara showed it to me, I got so excited. My first thought, “Oh My God, is he going to punch him in the jaw?” was immediately followed by my second thought, “my lemonade was that damned good.”
In the snap chat video, the sound was muffled. The boys were silhouetted because Niara was filming from somewhere near the top bleachers while these boys were near the bottom. But this is what I understand of the story. . . Boy #1– we’ll call him Marco– had acquired the lemonade from my daughter a few moments before the snap chat began. Niara had had a few extra jars left because some teachers were not at school to receive their gift, so she let some of her friends try it. Marco was among them.
“What is it again?”
“Just think of it as garden juice,” Paige, one of my daughter’s closest friends, who knew it was tasty but didn’t know it was made with basil, told him.
Marco tasted it and liked it. Really liked it. “Wow. That is good.” He drank some more. “How can I get some more of that. . .I mean like on a daily basis?” Marco went to find a friend to share it with. This was Boy #2 in the video, whom we’ll call Isaiah. Marco found him in the gym.
Snap chat is on.
Excitedly, Marco, approached Isaiah, “Dude, you gotta try this!”
“What is it? What’s in it?” Isaiah asked.
“Man, I don’t know. . .garden juice. . . just try it.”
Isaiah took a sip, then cocked his head back for what turned into a big gulp. And just like that, whatever was left of the pint of lemonade when Marco first offered it, was gone. When Marco realized it, he let out a sound that was not exactly a word but was more like mortification.
“Dude! You drank it all!”
“You said try it. . .it was good. . . .where’d. . .”
Snap chat ended.
O.K., I didn’t actually see blows, but Niara said Marco was really upset, like he was going to cry or might not be Isaiah’s friend for the rest of the week. “Almost came to blows” may have been a bit of an exaggeration but that version would make a damned good commercial. . .Two teenage boys about to fight over a green drink in which the color came, not from food coloring, but from lush, green, basil leaves grown in our front yard.
Niara was right. Real or imagined, that was one of the biggest compliments I’ve ever gotten about one of my food gifts.
For more photos of our Basil Lemonade Gifts, click here.
To try a recipe for my Lavender Lemonade, click here.
To read about last year’s Rosemary Lemonade Gifts, click here.