If Life Gives You Lemons…

   As summer approaches and the days grow warmer, we start to think of cooling beverages, nostalgic summer traditions and the burgeoning supply of fruit on our trees, thanks to the epic rainfall of the past few months! What better way to combine all three than to make lemonade!

   Although one may think of lemonade as a quintessential American beverage, it actually had its origin in ancient Egypt. Kashkab, a mixture of barley water, mint, black pepper and the leaves of citron. was the drink of choice for thirty pyramid builders. Citron is the predecessor to our modern lemon. When lemons finally arrived from North Africa, they became central to the drink, which was renamed qatormizat. The tart beverage was now made with lemon juice, water and sugar. Sound familiar?

   By the mid 17th century, carbonated lemonade had become quite popular in France. Vendors carried vats of it on their backs, and sold it to passing pedestrians. These vendors became so popular, that in 1676 they unionized, and became the Compagnie de Limonadiers.

   With the advent of long ocean voyages in the 18th century, both for pleasure and business, scurvy, a disease caused by lack of vitamin C in the diet, came into play. To combat the disease in the British navy, the sailors were made to drink lemon juice daily. When they went to war with Spain, their main lemon supplier, they had to switch to limes, earning them the name “limeys.”

   In the mid 1800s, the American temperance movement championed lemonade as a substitute for alcohol. The wife of then President Rutherford B. Hayes, served only lemonade at the White House, earning her the nickname, “Lemonade Lucy.”

   During the sweltering summer of 1879, a truly American tradition was born when a merchant set up a stand outside of his store and began selling lemonade to passers by. Following his lead, dozens of stands sprung up around the city, especially by enterprising youngsters. This thriving small business actually taught children about business management, capitalism and competition. Nowadays, many have added offerings of cookies or rice crispy treats to their menu, and – believe it or not- some have been observed using Venmo or PayPal! Of course, these youthful captains of industry might also have to learn the concept of government regulations, as most states now require a license to operate a lemonade stand. California does not.

   Throughout the years, and in spite of beer and legal alcohol, lemonade has maintained its popularity. In fact, it is the official state drink of Arizona! So when life gives you lemons…….. make lemonade!

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