Monday, July 03, 2023

When Life Gives You Vinegar...

One of my favorite YouTube channels is Tasting History with Max Miller. Every Tuesday -- sometimes more often -- Max makes an old recipe and "while that's cooking," he dives into the history behind the dish. He is charming and informative and blessed with a hundred ways to reference hard tack.

Usually, I watch from the comfort of my couch as Max cooks and noshes on historical foods. However, he recently made something that I just had to try...

The past 5 weeks since my main source of income dried up have been... interesting. The future is more steeped in uncertainty than usual, which leaves a sour taste in your mouth.

If I had a dollar for every person who told me "when God closes a door, He opens a window," I'd be able to pay this month's electric bill.

Sure, make lemonade when life gives you lemons. But what about when life hits you with vinegar...?

Well, Max recently came up with the solution:


Make shrub! 

This once in-vogue drink made from a sweetened vinegar-based syrup hearkens back to Colonial America. Delicious, beautiful, and oh so refreshing, it pairs as well with sparkling water as with gin.

To Make Shrub:

Simply cover bruised, mashed berries (I used strawberries) with white wine vinegar and let sit undisturbed for a day. 

Yes, it smells like vinegar. Ya can't avoid sticky situations when making shrub. Instead, you just have to soldier through...

At the end of 12 - 24 hours, boil for a minute, then strain the mixture through a sieve, saving all that clear liquid. Discard any seeds and pulp. (My chickens thought it was Christmas!)

Add sugar and simmer till well dissolved. 



The result is a decadent jewel-tone syrup. It's the sort of thing that makes you hold it up to the light and drown your gaze in its super-saturated color.

Just pour a bit of the shrub over ice, fill the rest of the glass with sparkling water, and stir. It. Is. Divine. No vinegar taste. The vinegar ordeal is over.


Shrub is my new favorite summertime drink. It is impossible to make without the vinegar. And it got me thinking...

When your plans have been smashed, doused with an acid bath of setbacks and naysayers, it's in your best interests to take some time to ruminate. To sit undisturbed and reflect. To let good ideas marinate.

Then you owe it to yourself to act. 

This past week, I began working with a superb business coach. I can confidently say that had Scribe not imploded, I would never have entered into this new relationship. I can also state with equal confidence that this new adventure has energized me more and brought me more creative excitement than anything else has done for years. It's a very shrubby experience.

Don't be afraid to put your good ideas to the test -- to see how they react when you get fired up.

Keep your vision clear on what you intend to accomplish. Discard what threatens that clarity.

Sweeten your new endeavor with supportive allies as you persevere toward your ultimate goal. 

I have no doubt you're like me -- you've been around the block enough to know that life ain't always easy. It's full of complex ferments and unexpected acid tests. When overwhelm threatens to mash us down, that's when it's time to take a page from the ones who came before us: 

Make shrub and find a way to enjoy, rather than be overcome by, this wild ride that is your life!

Chin up, my pretties! I have faith in you. You can do this!

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