Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Angelina Jolie Invents Ginger Ale

So there I was, talking on the phone with my Noo Yawk friend Maddy, when everything happened at once. Except that I didnt know everything happened at once, or that anything had happened at all. Which is to say that the pot that was full of my attempt to make Lime and Ginger Drink Concentrate with sugar and water and ginger and lime juice (the pot I forgot to turn to “low”) was still happily bubbling away on “high” when the phone rang. 
In the few seconds it took me to update Maddy on the kids and grandkids and Ron and why I know with 100% certainty that George Clooney would make a lousy husband even though weve never met (though I do like Lake Como) and how liposuction is looking better with each passing year and whats good enough for Chers butt is good enough for mine but Id be scared to have a face lift because of Murphy Brown's Law and Meg Ryans lips ... 

In those scant seconds, that stupid old pot boiled over like a witches cauldron, spitting sugar-water-ginger-lime syrup over my smooth-top range. All messed up with no place to go, a molten river of syrup inched over the stove top and on to the kitchen floor as sticky clouds of steam drifted toward the ceiling to drip down the walls and counter tops.
I wasnt aware of any of that until Maddy and I stopped talking, at which point I innocently stepped into my sugar-water-ginger-lime kitchen, retreating so quickly and in such shock that I tracked a trail of syrup into the dining room. Fueled by adrenalin and a fast slug of scotch, I crept back to turn off the stove, ick-ick-icking through what felt like the last days of Pompeii. 
Unaware Id dipped the sleeve of my blouse into the liquid pooled on the stove, my arm soon fetched up on the dining room table, where it stuck. After the stove cooled down, I tried to lift the syrupy pot, but it was heavy and some of the contents sloshed out to drip down the side of a cupboard.
When I first came up with the idea of a drink concentrate flavored with lime and ginger, I liked the notion so much that I decided to make an extra-large batch, forgetting that a concentrate requires only a few spoonsful per glass. My enthusiasm bolted free like an unbridled pony. “More limes!” I thought. And then, when the concentrate tasted too limey, “More sugar!” And then, when it tasted too sweet, “More water!” And then, when it tasted too watery,“More limes!” And so it went, with lashings of ginger. I never actually considered that there might be a bit much of the stuff by the time I'd finally finished. My advice to you, Dollinks, is that if you ever get a hankering for Lime and Ginger Drink Concentrate
1. Don't try this at home
2. Don't - under any circumstances - double the quantity
3. Don't use a pot smaller than a Humvee, and ...
4. Have Maddy leave a recorded message
So let me tell you what Ron said about my creation: “This is the worst recipe you've ever made! I do wish the man wouldn’t equivocate. With all that lime juice (16 limes, Dollinks), all that sugar (12 cups, my pets), and all that ginger (½ cup, maybe more), it tasted like ginger ale, but was a whole lot sweeter and a whole lot messier than real ginger ale. I didnt know I was about to invent ginger ale. I’ve always hated ginger ale. But yes, if you cut the sugar in half and added vats of soda water, what I made would probably pass as a reasonable facsimile of ginger ale in the same way that I would probably pass as a reasonable facsimile of Angelina Jolie, minus all the kids and Jennifer Aniston’s voodoo doll. That my recipe cost four times as much as ginger ale and made more than any human could ever consume in a lifetime was irrelevant. I’d unlocked the recipe for ginger ale! I was going to be rich! 
Unfortunately, I’ll never publish my recipe for Lime and Ginger Drink Concentrate (not that I don't want to be rich - I do, of course). The concoction was so stomach-churningly sweet and such merde (Translation: passable) that Ron made me pinky-swear that I would never, ever tell anyone how I made it because anyone who tried my recipe would never read this blog again.  He poured it all down the sink, chipped away at the sticky stuff that had dried and hardened on the stove, washed the floor, wiped down the counters, and ran every cup and plate we own (somehow, everything had morphed into one giant lollipop) through the dishwasher. He also made me promise that I would never make this again even if the ginger ale people bribed me to reveal my recipe as a sneaky prelude to what would surely be their follow-up lawsuit. 
The only thing worse I’ve done on the culinary front was boil beets in the pressure cooker just as the lid decided to blow. When we finally scraped the last beet off the ceiling, we repainted. So Dollinks, with regret, I will not be giving you my (now-secret) recipe for Lime and Ginger Drink Concentrate.
What you will be getting are the photos that show me proudly preparing the recipe before Ma Bell broke loose and Maddy and I started talking. I’m telling you this sad story so you’ll know cooking failures can happen to anyone, Dollinks. You just have to do your best, learn from experience, and resist the temptation to boil beets in an aging pressure cooker with a faulty lid. 

A promising start! (artistically arranged, if I do say so, and I do) 
Juicing the limes ...

Slicing the ginger ...

Stirring the sugar syrup ... soooooo professional, n'est-ce pas?

But then ... “Noo Yawk calling, Dollinks! Yada-yada-yada ...!” Disaster!

OUTED! Testing Lime and Ginger Drink Concentrate   
straight from the stove top. It later hardened and burned black as tar.
Eight huge cups remained after half the concentrate splashed
onto the floor, the cupboards, the counters, the stove ... 

With the kitchen in ruins, we had no choice but to go out for pizza and I felt guilty and paid for it but in my black heart fantasized sticking Maddy with the $10 tab because the pizza was stale and not fully heated through and Ron said What do you expect for 10 bucks? and in my still-black heart I thought 
Filet mignon with Béarnaise sauce! but stifled because I didnt want to seem stuck up which, of course, I was considering everything that happened after I invented ginger ale and Ron threw out my secret recipe and the kitchen became a lollipop. We washed down our pizzas with Coke.
*   *   *   
I have filed this post at dawn because - by the time you read this, Dollinks - Ron and I will be in an exotic locale where the drinks have tiny paper umbrellas, the palm trees sway in warm, tropical breezes, and the beach sand is powdery fine. How did you guess? We are, indeed, holed up in our TV room, watching reruns of Gidget Goes Hawaiian! Ill return with more recipes on Oct. 8th. Until then, my precious Dollinks, happy cooking! xox  Nicole

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