Dear Kids,

I don’t mean to be picking on you. (And yes, I am well-acquainted with the phrase “Pick on someone your own size.”) Please take this note in the spirit it was intended – as words of friendly advice.

Lemonade stand mMany a summer weekend you can find me biking around Portland. I would love to stop for a nice cold glass of lemonade. So why do I cycle by your stand with a dejected and guilty glance? Because in this golden era of foodie-ism, in a time when Portland is consistently rated one of America’s best little food towns, when local food is practically the Maine state motto, when Rachael Ray battles kid chefs on TV, when your very own parents are no doubt well acquainted with such once exotic items as quinoa and heirloom pork, you remain, I am sad to say, in the Lemonade Dark Ages. You are still serving up that fake-tasting, powdered stuff that comes in a can.

Admittedly, you are adorable, but frankly speaking, you ought to pay me for drinking the stuff, not the other way around.

I know you can do better. I know you can earn my business. I am willing to pay twice what you are charging for a glass of lemonade that actually tastes like real lemons. Yes, this summer is on the way out and you are headed back to school. So tear (or print) out this recipe and save it for next year’s lemonade business venture. I’ll be the one on the bicycle, searching for a tall, cool glass of homemade, old-fashioned, unprocessed lemonade. Bonus points for interesting flavor variations.

Wishing you all success,

Peggy Grodinsky, Food Editor

Old-Fashioned Lemonade

Adapted from “Stop and Smell the Rosemary: Recipes and Traditions to Remember” by the Junior League of Houston, Texas. This recipe can be varied in all sorts of ways: Add fresh basil or mint leaves, a few lavender flowers or slices of peeled, fresh ginger root to the sugar water as it heats. Strain out and discard after the mixture has cooled. Replace the sugar with honey. Puree fresh strawberries, push them through a fine-meshed sieve and stir the strained mixture into the lemonade, which will turn a pretty pink hue.

Serves 6

3/4 cup sugar

4 to 6 whole lemons

Bring 4 cups water to a boil with the sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cool.

Cut the lemons in half and squeeze them. You should have 1 cup lemon juice.

Stir the lemon juice into the cooled sugar water. Chill.

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