Rediscovering the tastes of my childhood

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Rediscovering the tastes of my childhood

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Some of my earliest memories are of the sights, sounds, and tastes of my grandmother’s kitchen. She passed away almost exactly one year before the stay-at-home order was put in place in Washington State. At that time, I was already an online student working from home and my partner was driving across the state every weekend to work and come back home. When lockdown started, I didn’t realize how cooped up I would feel. I decided I needed to revisit the feelings of my grandmother’s kitchen. Around the same time, my family got a trailer full of boxes of my grandmother’s things. In this box was a handwritten cookbook filled with the recipes and stories from my childhood. There were handwritten letters from my great-grandfather to my grandmother, recipes she had clipped out of newspapers in the 1970s and 1980s, and family recipes I thought were lost when she passed. One of which was a Spiced tea, also known as friendship tea, recipe. For me, this tea is the epitome of Christmas time spent with my grandma. This recipe exists on the internet, but it was never as good as the one my grandmother made.
When I found these recipes, I set out on cooking my way through them to pass my time during lockdown. My partner was working remotely so he was home to try them with me. It was an emotional experience for me after the loss of my grandmother and it reminded me how much food can bring people together. This recipe no longer represents Christmas and my grandmother, it now is something that makes me think of lockdown with my own family and how it brought us together. If it wasn’t for the stay-at-home order, I probably wouldn’t have connected to these recipes again and I definitely would never have had to buy tang.
The pandemic has brought a greater connection to history and sensory history. The pandemic has also changed the way we experience our senses and even changed those senses for some people. Sensory history shows how people experienced the world around them during the pandemic.
If you try this recipe, don’t be afraid of adding more or less of what you like. I don’t know what measurement a scoop is, but as my grandmother always told me, we don’t measure to be perfect we measure with our hearts. My best guess is that there are about 2 tablespoons in a “scoop”.

Ginther’s Spice Tea
1 ½ cup Tang
6 scoops lemonade
½ cup instant tea
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cloves (or fresh whole cloves)
1 tablespoon cinnamon (or fresh sticks)
Combine the above ingredients. Add 2 Tablespoons of mix per cup of hot water.

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This item was submitted on October 14, 2021 by Sierra Janssen using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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