When Life Hands You Crusaders, Make Crusaderade
But, apparently, Rice is not alone. In Rush Limbaugh's opinion, "Bush is sitting around the White House pretty happy with what's going on in the Middle East -- there's a new paradigm going on." This sunny-side-up judgment was borne out during Bush's get-away day joint press conference with Tony Blair. "This is a moment of intense conflict in the Middle East," said the president, "yet our aim is to turn it into a moment of opportunity." Ah, yes... when life hands you Lebanons, make lemonade.
In that spirit, may I present to you a recipe for sekanjabin, the original "Crusaderade," drunk in the Middle East during the Middle Ages and afterwards. It is a sweet, tart, minty drink syrup intended to be diluted with cold water, although it's quite tasty hot as well (not that anyone much is thinking about hot drinks here in the microclimate at the moment).
1 l/4 c. white sugar
500 ml/2 c. water
250 ml/1 c. vinegar (you can use wine vinegar, white vinegar, or a fruit-flavoured vinegar; balsamic vinegar might provide a very interesting flavour, as well)
125 ml/1/2 c. fresh mint, washed and bruised, but intact with stems (I prefer spearmint, but you can use any variety of mint you have on hand)
the juice of one lemon
Bring the water to a boil, then dissolve the sugar into it. When it boils again and all the sugar is dissolved, add the vinegar. Stir well and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat, transfer off the heat, and stir in the mint and lemon juice. You can either leave the mint in the syrup to store it, or you can fish it out. The syrup will keep almost indefinitely without refrigeration.
To use: Dilute the syrup to taste in cold or hot water. Enjoy.
This post is actually quite timely for me, since I'm just putting the finishing touches on a manuscript I started on the weekend, which I hope will be another pocket guide similar to the streetcar book. It's tentatively entitled How to Dress Like A Muslim: A Non-Muslim's Guide to Modern Islamic Clothing, and is basically a glossary of terms, with some how-to advice and other trivia sprinkled in for flavour. If you've ever wondered, "How did she get fabric to do that around her head?" or been annoyed by a misuse of "burqa" in a newspaper, this is for you...