Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bug Juice

I know -- it sounds disgusting -- like what can happen when one rides a motorcycle without a helmet, while grinning. Not lovely.

Nevertheless, bug juice was what my grandmother called a concoction she kept in her frig at all times. Having been born in 1893, she was raised to waste nothing. She wasn’t a terribly enthusiastic or creative cook, but she did her best.

Getting back to the aforementioned beverage -- essentially, Grammy made a pot of tea, chilled it in a covered pitcher then added whatever fruit juice was on hand. Sometimes it would be the syrup from a can of peaches and/or fruit cocktail. Other times she might add leftover lemonade or orange juice not enough to make a proper serving.

As did and still do many in the Midwest, Grammy favored a Jell-o side dish for lunch or supper. These often included tiny marshmallows and always, some sort of canned fruit and maybe a banana. Mandarin orange juice was a frequent addition to the bug juice pitcher as the fruit went well in lime Jell-o.

During rough economic times, it wouldn‘t hurt to take a few lessons from our foremothers. For them, being frugal was not at all the same as being cheap or chintzy. It was being smart.

Come to think of it, embracing that idea of "waste not want not"would be good for Mother Earth as well as our wallets. Besides, making use of things we’d otherwise just throw away can be satisfying and rewarding. That is, if you can avoid becoming a hoarder. Oy! Now there’s another story . . ..!


Mark said...

Interesting story. For sure, our ancestors knew how to stretch things, they had too.

Janney said...

This is awesome! I love these old stories and I try to emulate their ingenuity... being poor was nothing to be ashamed of back then if you made the most of what you had. My Dad always told me "poeple nowadays don't know how to be poor". I love this and I might try it out!

dcpeg said...

I'm so glad you liked it,Janney. The options for adding to the tea are endless. Grammy sometimes added a little zip with 7-Up or ginger ale. Hope you do try it. It's surprisingly good and never the same.

Pete said...

Peg, The last time Aunt Dot was out here (IL.) I asked her for her bug juice recipe. She said,
1 gallon tea, brewed and cooled
2 scoops Tang
2 scoops instant lemonaid (she liked Summertime)

She also said mint tea made it even better. I remember grammy adding the leftover juices from her gelatin salads, "But not too much!"
Lots of love