Khok: Lemon gray start

This pandemic is graying out my enthusiasm for writing, so forgive me for almost missing my deadline. It would have ended on this empty note, but I smelled the refreshing fragrance of lemon peels, and snapped out of lethargy.

I thank Pantone for announcing the 2021 colors of the year, thus seeding an idea for my story today.

Welcome, Ultimate Gray (pale shade of dove, uh, like dark rain clouds?), and Illuminating (easy: the color of lemons and buttercups).

Gray reminds me of tenement walls, asphalt roads and road markings. On the other shoulder (trying to be funny), yellow is sunshine, road signs, and sunflowers.

Amie, my niece who’s still stranded in our house due to the pandemic, said, “Gray means resting, fortitude and contemplation, while yellow represents happiness and newness.”

At this, Uncle Gustave joined our discussion.

My uncle said: “Symbolisms aside, kids, gray reminds me of well-done steaks, tsk, tsk, fruit molds and dying embers. Ah, but yellow is a bright antidote to this despair—oops, symbolism!”

“How’s that, Uncz?” I asked.

He replied, “Have you heard of limoncello?”

My Aunt Tita Blitte replied for me: “The Italian liqueur? It’s made in Southern Italy, around the coast of Amalfi.”

My nephew, Polonggoy, noted that the lemons being used for the liqueur are not sprayed with pesticides. “And they’re huge, bigger than the biggest Fuji apple you can find.”

My uncle, who had tasted the liqueur twice in his youth, said the elixir is sweet, and infused with the fragrance and flavor of lemons minus the acidic taste of the fruit.

Since I come up gray when it comes to this drink, I asked Uncle how best to use it.

Limoncello, if you drink it as an aperitif, has to be chilled.

Wait, I heard Pannon protest about my spelling of gray. To be “pantonic” about this, gray is American, and grey is British. I’m using the former because I’m using American English.

With that out of the way, my uncle continued. “Limoncello is a good mixer. It perks up gray food. Chefs use it to flavor cocktails, cookies, and cakes (makes tiramisu shine). Celebrity chef Ina Garten adds it to spike fruit salad.”

The liquor ban is still graying out our party spirit (pun intended) due to the pandemic. But I just have to share this homemade limoncello.

On second thought, the gray part of the year is taking over me. I better not share the recipe because the liquor ban is still alive and kicking.

Celebrate life with lemon juice instead. Drink it with well-done steak to start your pantonic year. It’s a crime to overdo steaks, but that’s better than breaking the ban.


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