Friday, January 30, 2009

The virtues of Kool-Aid

I don't care what anybody says - I love Kool-Aid.

I always forget that I love kool-aid, though, until I go back to visit my mom and sister. They inevitably have a nice fresh pitcher of it in their fridges and I can always count on it being one of my three favorite flavors: lemonade, pink lemonade, or the blue one (which is now I think blue lemonade, technically, but also used to be berry blue back in the day).

NB: I HATE red Kool-Aid, and none of my comments here will pertain to it. Let that be duly noted by any of you red-Kool-Aid-lovers out there.

According to this
random but interesting blog, berry blue was pulled off the shelves because it looked too much like windshield wiper fluid. (How ridiculous is that?!) Being able to recall many a glorious summer day when I ran home hot and thirsty after spending the afternoon in the merciless summer heat of the Texan sun, and also being able to recall that the only thing that truly quenched my thirst - truly nipped the proverbial parched throat in the bud - was a glass of blue Kool-Aid, it really sticks in my (proverbial) craw that we are no longer allowed this simple pleasure, this, frankly, unalienable right of the children of the 80s.

Besides being refreshing, Kool-Aid has many other virtues which I now feel the need to expound upon. This post was all precipitated by a random episode that occur
red a couple of days ago while I was wandering around my flat thinking "I am so sick of drinking water." Why would I be thinking that, you might ask, given water's general reputation as a life-giving-life-sustaining substance. Well, I've come to feel that way after what has amounted to two years of a very boring drinking life. Allow me to explain...

*enter Wayne's world scooby-dooing noise*

It all started going downhill when we left the big apple (that's NYC for all you weirdos who don't already know that) in January 2007. As a mid-twenty-something living in Manhattan, breathing was a good enough reason to pop into that cute cocktail bar / rustic pub / ludicrously expensive restaurant you hadn't tried yet and have a drink with a girlfriend. Consequently I frequented all sorts of local and not-so-local establishments with a healthy frequency in order to try amusing concoctions that left my wallet a lot lighter than my head by the end of it. London is not nearly as tempting when it comes to this, mostly because a drink here costs as much as a meal there. (Also why many of my culinary dalliances lately have been restricted to the kitchen in these shady economic times.)

Coming to Europe also simplified my drinking habits because here, unlike everything else under the sun, good wine is actually pretty damn cheap. I no longer saw the need to order the bon-bon martini or have two cape codders with my dinner when I could indulge in a decent French sauvignon blanc or Cotes du Rhone, or even a good glass of Spanish Cava for a fraction of the cost and exponential amounts of taste.
Lastly, although admittedly my habit of drinking club soda with lime started state-side, I didn't really know what "soda and lime" could be until I came to the UK. Because here, you don't just get a little withered slice of lime in your pint glass. You get Rose's Lime Cordial. And believe you me, that is enough to make anyone give up good old plain club soda.

*Exit Wayne's World scooby-dooing noise*

So now when I'm at home I either drink water, soda and lime, or tea (yes the British have rubbed off on me somewhat). And consequently almost every night when we sit down to dinner, Matt says:

"Don't you get sick of just drinking water or club soda?"

Up until this past Christmas break, I had always answered a smug "no, I do not" feeling that I had perhaps finally found a healthy, moderate regime when it came to appropriate daytime libations. Up until this past Christmas break, I had not had kool-aid for what amounted to a life in dog years. And let me tell you, what a bland life it had been!

As soon as I saw that pitcher of blue goodness in my sister's refrigerator I squealed with glee - the hot Texas summer rushing over me in a Proustian wave - and proceeded to drink nothing but Kool-Aid until I left her house and went to my mom's. There I switched to regular lemonade Kool-Aid and vowed never to take a hiatus for that long again.

The next time we went to H.E.B., I bought myself 20 packets or so of my three favorite flavors. Ironically, I can't find them right now and I am really considering actually calling Matt at work to ask if he knows where they might be...but I digress. Onto the meat and potatoes of this post:

Top Five Reasons Kool-Aid is Virtuous
(and/or damn good fun to drink)

5. Because it has a freakishly amusing frosty pitcher thrusting his fist in the air as its mascot. I love seeing people thrust their first in the air with happiness and frosty pitchers of almost anything look good.

Because it's an unpretentious, yummy, colorful and fun thing to drink. Nobody can feel like a BSD
while drinking Kool-Aid, and, let's face it, the less BSDs in the world, the better.

Because it stains your lips and sometimes your teeth, and, for those lucky few who seem to unknowingly have a particular way of drinking it, gives you the good old Kool-Aid moustache - all of which provides the world with another dose of much needed comic relief - no matter how small, how insignificant, or how puerile.

Because Kraft was clever enough to create the Kool-Aid points reward program which provided me and my sister with many a cool knick knack, not to mention a cool lesson (unbeknownst to us) in actually saving up to get what you want. Wouldn't it be good if half of America had gotten that lesson?

1. Because it makes you feel like a kid again. (Or if you are still a kid, it will one day provide you with an instant-liquid-time-machine-link to your childhood which you will cherish once you're gray and old.) And anything that makes you feel like a kid again is good, in my book.

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  1. Very good !!!
    leave your comment

  2. You said "puerile" and I LOVE YOU for it!
    I have to say, I have a soft spot in my heart for ICE COLD GRAPE Kool-Aid.
    For an extra dose of childlike Kool-Aid enthusiasm, try freezing one flavor of Kool-Aid in an ice cube tray. Then mix up a batch of ANOTHER flavor and garnish with other-flavored cubes.
    (wild times, my love, wild WILD times)

  3. You have rocked my world with that suggestions.
    Thank you.