My father never liked cooking, but he did love to blend. He was a smoothie king in the day when blended beverages were the provenance of Orange Julius and freaky health places where only hippies dared to tread. They weren’t cool yet, especially not to me.
I admit that I used to be mildly embarrassed about my father’s smoothie madness. He loved the blender. He made eggnog from scratch, raw eggs and all, and never understood why I turned up my 8-year-old nose at such grossness. He put yogurt and peanut butter and orange juice and nuts into the blender and laughed at the disgusted look on my face as I watched them liquefy into something unnatural. And yet it almost always tasted good. I don’t remember a time that it didn’t taste good, but I may have blocked it out. I believe he did threaten to put peas in one blended beverage, but I’m pretty sure it was one of his many idle threats, like saying we would be going to New Hampshire instead of taking the turn to Framingham.
He’s been using the same blender that he got for a wedding gift over 35 years ago, making smoothies and grossing me out for decades. Each time I make a smoothie, I think of my dad, the mad smoothie scientist, cackling and juggling m&ms and arching his neck upward to catch them, then dancing around the kitchen pulling random items from the cabinet and the fridge to make the perfect smoothie, every time. He made drinking healthy smoothies fun. And although I never did like having fun, seeing it as improper and just plain silly, I inwardly enjoyed the whole game. Not that I would ever let him see it, no way.
Now I’ve got my own blender, and even though I don’t cackle or juggle (I’m just not that coordinated), I’ve inherited the mad smoothie scientist gene. I’ll put anything in a smoothie. Today I even experimented with the smoothie as a cure for general ickiness, a malady that strikes me all too frequently. Ages ago I found a cold remedy online that suggested boiling turmeric, honey, milk, and pepper together and then drinking it.*. It tasted pretty good, but I drink too slowly, and the turmeric always settled into a lump at the bottom of the cup. Gross. Not too gross for a smoothie, my dad would probably say. So I blended, and came up with an entirely palatable, not gross at all smoothie.
Mango Turmeric Smoothie
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tsp brown rice powder
1/4 cup frozen mango chunks
1/2 cup rice or almond milk
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tsp ginger (it's better to use grated fresh ginger but powdered is fine, too)
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup water
I don't like cold drinks and I also have a problem with powdery-tasting smoothies, so I boiled the brown rice powder and spices and whisked them together, then added the mangoes for about a minute to unfreeze them a little before adding them to the mix. My cheap little blender can't handle frozen anything. I drank it just now and my sinuses are already cleared.
I wonder what my husband would say if I told him we were going on an all-smoothie diet.
*I tried to find the original post about the turmeric drink without any luck. Here is a similar post in case you want to try it yourself.