green in all forms ::::
After a typical summer-early fall rain storm in Atlanta, I walked outside to inspect my withering tomato plants. Ravaged by the squirrels, I had all but a few juicy bites to enjoy, noting the nearby grass littered with deftly nibbled green and red cherry tomato remnants. There was a glittery flash that caught my eye on the patio. A bright green iridescent shell of a beetle lay quiet and still. The thorax was askew. The elytra (wing covering) was partially opened. A leg was missing. Hmmm, I thought. Interesting. I should take it inside to show the kids later.
I came back 10 minutes later after weeding the tomatoes. The beetle had moved. No, parts of it had moved. Its thorax gone, wing coverings twitching. I peered closer: a scurry of ants, purposefully inspecting and dismantling the beetle, were in action.
That dismantling of body jogged a memory for me, remembering the post-partum haze of each of my three children. Though my body was certainly lush yet broken and tired, perhaps even feeling dismembered after that first emergent C-section, it was more abstract than that. My soul felt left of center, yet, in the glorious middle. There was joy bursting everywhere in the seemingly oppositional fatigue of birthing and breastfeeding. I wasn’t just me anymore: I was a mother, too. To someone. My soul had unfolded a new part, raw and pink. I compare it to the scene in the Pixar animated movie Inside Out, where two of the characters, Joy and Sadness, take a shortcut through the Abstract Thought area to get back to Headquarters. They are first transformed into Cubist versions of themselves (this brought loud and immediate laughter from me — and no one else — in the theater), then to two-dimensional forms and lines. A life change often thrusts us into these multi-perspective places, where we try to understand ourselves and the situation in a greater life context.
Somehow, I got all that from the dead beetle. I don’t always need a life change directly affecting me to ruminate on these many-faceted event. Sometimes, it’s something else having a life (or death) change. Or, in this case, a dead beetle being carried away by omnivorous ants.
If in need for a lush refreshment, a bit of fresh green, and a Cubist eye temporarily, this green apple basil fizz is your answer. The iridescent beetle is not obligatory. Just add some vodka to the drinks for a “multi-perspective” view.
One year ago: seriously awesome black bean burgers
Two years ago: shakshouka and strawberry-balsamic basil popsicles
Three years ago: black beans with goat cheese and cilantro oil and roasted purple cippollini onions and purple cauliflower
Four years ago: corn-avocado salad and hollapse (Mennonite cabbage rolls)
- ½ cup (100 g) sugar
- ½ cup (120 ml) water
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
- A handful of fresh basil, rinsed and torn
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into slices
- 2½ cups (600 ml) chilled seltzer water, or more depending on how sweet you like your drinks
- a few splashes of vodka (totally optional but totally good)
- Mix sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Off the heat and stir in the lime juice and basil. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Add the apple slices (I added the cores too, just for flavor) and the basil to the syrup. Cover and refrigerate for at least one day to infuse the apple and basil flavors into the syrup. This may be done for up to three days.
- Strain syrup into a pouring container. Reserve the apple slices. Discard the basil. Use a 1 to 2 ratio of syrup to seltzer in each iced glass and stir gently to combine. Add in vodka, if using, and stir again. Garnish each drink with a few of the reserved apple slices. This recipe makes 4 drinks.