Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Passing Peak Lemon
These things sneak up on you, like global warming and the credit crunch. On Saturday, the shelf-stocker at Greg's Meat Market told me he hadn't been able to order bottled lemon juice for a month, and that the other stores in town didn't have any either. This sounded fishy to me, so I investigated. There's definitely something going on. Shaw's did not have either Realemon or their house brand in the big green bottles, only a tiny plastic jug. I bought two. Hannaford's did have regular-size bottles, but a brand I hadn't seen before--"Lemon Time." I bought two of those too. And why am I hoarding lemon juice? Why am I acting like a Baghdad taxi driver who can't find an open gasoline station? It's because recently lemonade has become a big item at our house, both the cold and hot varieties: bottled juice, water, and Splenda. I'm sort of an improvisatory cook, using whatever's around, so my shopping isn't systematic either. The problem with lemon juice is that there's no substitute for it--hence the panic. Googling around revealed that there is indeed a worldwide shortage of the sour stuff, caused by weather and crop failures. I won't trouble you with the details. I'm just here to remind you that food comes from farms, not grocery stores. If you see a a farmer today, give him a nice cold lemonade.