“We love you like we love lemons.” So said a card to a very special family we said goodbye to in Mexico; a family we had bonded with for their sense of humor, their sense of balance, and their sense of good food. A mutual love we share? Lemons.
Lemons and I have had an intense history. My first ever lemonade stand was quite a success. Very young at the time, I had heard about a missionary couple in Africa and wanted to raise money to send them. I acquired an antique desk lying around our farm house as my stand, constructed a meager sign advertising 25 cent lemonade, and parked myself next to our mailbox waiting for traffic. In a relatively brief period, I made 35 dollars, and sent every penny of it off to Africa.
35 dollars was a fortune! Especially when you take into account that the only traffic passing through was truck drivers on a deadline. My new found success got me to thinking, If I made 35 dollars for other people without even trying, imagine what I could make next summer for myself!
With that one thought, I forged ahead to come up with a business plan. I would charge 50 cents to instantly double my profit. I would increase both production and quality of the product, the lemonade. And I would enlist one of my older brothers to man the stand when I couldn’t be there in person, making sure we were always open for business. After some negotiation, we agreed to enter a partnership. My sole objective? The big bucks.
After an entire summer of intensive lemonade pushing, you know how much I’d made? Not even 5 dollars.
But more humiliating than the lack of sales was a moment that has taken up permanent residence in my memory: I was in my bedroom during low-traffic hours and heard the familiar sound of one of the feed trucks arriving to unload at the barn. As usual, it needed to back into our driveway to be able to turn in to the barn driveway directly across. I heard the beeping that accompanies such a maneuver. I also heard, however, a clack! sound that was quite unusual. I ran over to my second story window to see the transport truck back over my lemonade stand and crush it underneath it’s massive tires. Within seconds my lemonade stand was reduced to a sad little stack of wooden pieces. I started shouting and waving my arms in desperation and futility. But it was too late. There was nothing to be done. With that, I was officially out of business.
As tragic a moment as that was for me, I took away a valuable lesson: Motivation is a key factor in success. Unbeknownst to me at the time, generosity had beat the pants off greed.
I don’t blame the lemonade. How could I? It hadn’t failed me. So my relationship with lemons, though shaky, was never off the
Years later, as I started to really enjoy cooking, I came to have strong feelings for lemons. I mean, I really came to love lemons. The are bright, beautiful, and full of pizazz. I love them in tea, in tarts, in sorbets, in sauces, in salads, squirted over fish, roasted with chicken or in a tall glass of water.
So how better to showcase my lemon love than with a classic lemon curd? So easy, so delicious.
zest and juice of 5 lemons (approx. 1 cup lemon juice)
1 cup (200g) sugar
3 eggs + 2 yolks
makes 2 1/2 cups of lemon curd
In a mixing bowl over a pot with gently boiling water, add lemon juice, zest, sugar, and butter. Mix all the eggs together in a separate bowl and once butter has melted, add your eggs and yolks to the stove top mixture. Whisk the mixture often and watch it thicken!
Once the mixture is thickened to your liking (I like my curd very thick so I whisk it from 20 to 25 minutes) remove from heat and allow to cool. It will set a tad thicker so keep that in mind. Spoon into jam jars and refrigerate for later use. That is, if it’s not going into a pie right away or being spooned over ice cream!
Stay tuned for my next post to see how we can incorporate this gorgeous lemon curd into an elegant and easy dessert!
To this special Canadian slash Mexican family, you know who you are. And I love you like I love lemons.