I adore tea: iced, green, black, white, oolong, rooibos, pu'reh, herb, hot, sun, latte, fermented, I have an extensive collection of loose-leaf teas. A quick inventory and I have…more than 50 different types. Seems a bit excessive? Excessive is kind of my thing. Despite the impressive existing assortment, I have been experimenting with fresh ingredients: summer fruits and herbs that anyone can find. This week I'll post a few favorite combinations. Refreshing Paleo summer slurpers, quenchers, and coolers, starting with this Cherry Basil Iced Tea.
I have a confession to make. I don't love summer. I know, calm down, hear me out. I have an explanation for such a mind-blowing bomb drop. Now let's be clear, I don't hate summer. I think it has potential: longer days and searing temperatures are perfect. The assortment of fresh produce is amazing and there are many great events; at least where I live it's a tourist draw. There is more to do, see, eat, drink, and people to meet. So why do I feel so indifferent about the season between sweet spring and glorious fall?
I have always been an ambitious person and started working quite young. My parents provided a reasonable budget for basic needs, and wants; things like back-to-school clothes and entertainment. My brother and I were always put first, but fancy Guess jeans and silk shirts weren't in the budget for my parents. If I wanted to own those fancy (overpriced and trendy) threads I had to come up with the difference. I mean, a girl simply can't live thru junior high in the 90's without such items, right? Obviously not.
So my first summer job was at 12 years old. I was the best darn babysitter…ever. I had a recipe for chocolate chip cookies and play dough memorized (separate of course, not combined), and could play like no other. Our next-door-neighbor paid me a whopping $6 per hour (double what the regular babysitting rate was) to look after her 2 small boys. Monday thru Friday I would be at her house a little before 7 am to watch the boys until 3-ish. I got the kids up, fed them breakfast and lunch, cleaned up our mess and kept the 3 of us entertained all day. In addition to the regular Monday to Friday gig, I would babysit for other people around town on nights and weekends. I was going to have so many silk shirts, one in every color! Oh, and colored jeans. Best… wardrobe… ever. What can I say, I like nice things.
Every summer since that one I have had one, sometimes 2, and a couple of years 3 summer jobs. One year I cleaned vacated apartments, scrubbing walls and cleaning appliances; I pulled weeds for a landscape company; I looked after other people's kids, sometimes daily, and saved up for a car. I had places to go. Silk shirts were out, it was denim overalls, Doc Martens, and plaid flannel shirts this time, but a car was on my radar. Once I could drive it expanded my working opportunities. More driving meant added expenses in gas, plus I was responsible for ensuring and maintaining my car. I NEEDED a new CD every week and a bigger/better/louder, deck/speaker/subwoofer for my awesome car ('85 Dodge Charger). Which then would rattle like a set of maracas.
Living in a tourist area, summertime booms, there are more hours to be had. When I started serving, working extra shifts, double shifts, weeks without a day off wasn't unusual. I would say “Make hay while the sun shines.” My boss loved me as I would cover most shifts. Working every day as a waitress does great things to your cash flow. Now spent on shooters, Lulu Lemon apparel and yoga classes. In retrospect: yes, it was busy, but I could have said no to a few shifts in order to hit the beach. Working every day fed my compulsion to be the best-dressed workaholic ever.
Still today I run retail stores, but the type of retail is exponentially busier in the summer. The volume doubles or triples in June, July, and August. For my entire adult life I have never taken a summer off, never had more than a few days away from the grind. I don't even know what that would look like.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for sympathy. Life is choices, and I choose to work like a maniac all summer. I choose to stay in the line of work I am in that dictates summer mayhem. I am just saying, summer and I are acquaintances, we aren't close friends. It's okay while it's here, but I don't get excited about it. Maybe when I start food blogging full-time (someday) summer and I will become better friends. At least I hope so, it seems pretty great. The people that know summer's relaxed attitude love it. I want that love.
Homemade and refreshing iced tea with a twist.
- 1 cup cherries stemmed and pitted
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 1.5 l boiling water
- 1 lime or lemon cut into wedges
- Place fruit and herbs into a large jar or pitcher.
- Pour boiled hot water into the jar and let sit 1-2 hours.
- With a wooden spoon gently press the fruit and herbs, bruising them and pulling the flavor into the water.
- Refrigerate, pour over a glass full of ice and serve with lime or lemon wedge.