Did you know that this past Thursday was National Lemonade Day? My cousin wrote about it on Facebook, and I actually went to look it up. It’s a weird holiday, primarily because there are numerous Lemonade Days. According to NationalDayCalendar.com, it’s actually the first Sunday in May. That site even offers official ways to observe #NationalLemonadeDay. And lemonadeday.org says that September 1st is the official national kickoff of 2020 Lemonade Day. So what’s up with that? Both the National Day Calendar site and Lemonade Day’s site have one thing in common with their lemony holiday. Their sites relate to entrepreneurship and business startups, and how something as simple as a lemonade stand in a driveway or on a sidewalk can be the start of a budding business career for a child. I think back on my own youth and I can attest, I had my share of “lemonade stands.”
Lemonade, Worms, and Tea Bag Holders
I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was very young. My grandfather ran a sort of general store in Chelsea. Actually, my grandfather ran numerous businesses. From the box and barrel business he ran with my father, to owning multiple triple-decker homes, and that small beach shop at his beach house in Hough’s Neck, which I mentioned in my post A Yankee Doodle Dandy and Sauteed Cousa Squash The store in Chelsea carried odd-lot stuff; toys, kitchen goods, candy. My brother Bill ate a full pound of jelly beans from there one day… not a happy ending. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
Making money with old tea bags
My grandfather also sold pretty ceramic tea bag holders. You know, the kind of little dish that holds your teabag when you’re done with it. I don’t remember exactly what they looked like, but there were numerous designs, from flowery grandma type things to more modern 60s vibe pieces of art. He offered to let us sell them in our neighborhood to make money one summer. He gave me a case, with the understanding that I had to pay him a wholesale price for the pieces, and I could keep whatever I made above that.
I took the case and went door to door to my neighbors convincing them that they needed not one but perhaps 2 or even 3 holders. And weren’t they so pretty? Maybe they could use them as gifts, too. My neighbors, God bless them, actually bought them! I sold a whole case of those that summer and made enough money for a movie or two, and probably candy and popcorn. It wasn’t a fortune, but it gave me a good feel for how successful selling felt.
Other entrepreneurial opportunities
Once I got to around 10 or so, my father had started working for my Uncle John. He paid us a quarter an hour to sort diodes, type labels for his mail-order catalog, and to bundle those catalogs by zip for bulk mailing. I memorized an amazing number of zip codes, and became very speedy with typing that year. My uncle was actually pretty shocked at how much work we did and gave us a raise to 50 cents an hour at some point. The money saved from THOSE jobs bought me a typewriter, and a new bicycle when I was twelve.
Yes, and we also sold worms, or we tried
We also spent a random day selling worms with our friends, the Smiths. They’re the kids that went fishing with us in my post about fishing hikes to the Ipswich River. We’d do a bit of digging and lifting rocks in the early morning to collect worms and night-crawlers, put them in a bucket with some soil, and sit along the road waiting for random fishermen to drive by. Not something that happened very often to be honest. More often than not in that location, it was people heading to the dump to drop off the week’s trash. Mostly those worms either went back into the garden, or we used them ourselves. But it was a fun day, sitting and talking and just enjoying the beautiful freedom of summer vacation.
It’s all fun and games til someone hits a car with an acorn!
It was fun until my little brother, Bill got yelled at. He’d been throwing acorns across the street, but accidentally threw one when a car was driving by and it pinged off the door. The guy driving the car pulled over with a screech, jumped out of the car, and started yelling about his vehicle and how kids don’t understand the value of things, and if he ever drove back through again he’d be watching for us. Yikes, how to ruin a day for some little kids trying to make money to buy rootbeer popsicles. He was definitely NOT a nice guy. But back to lemonade stands.
I distinctly remember one summer, we set up a lemonade stand in front of our friends’ Lisa and Richie’s house just a couple doors down from ours. We had a big pitcher of Wyler’s lemonade, a little box to sit behind, and a separate box for our money. It was a hot day, and I’m guessing we drank a good deal of our product. As we sat there sweating just a bit, and chatting about how many Charleston Chew wrappers Lisa had collected that summer to submit for a chance to win a horse (she actually DID win the horse that year amazingly enough!) a car pulled over. A young guy rolled down his window and asked us “Is it cold?”
We totally misunderstood him, “No! It’s really hot out here!” He looked shocked and asked us again whether it was cold, and we answered him the same way. He laughed and got out of the car to walk across the street. He was definitely a “hip” 60s guy with chinos, loafers, and a golf shirt. I do remember his close-cropped hair and the laugh as he said, “NO! I mean, is the lemonade cold???”
When we assured him we had ice and he’d be getting a big cup of cold lemonade. He agreed to buy some. He drank a cup, took another cup for the road, and gave us a couple dollars, telling us to keep the change! That’s the way to treat kids trying to sell stuff.
But this year, when I saw that, at least according to a few calendars, August 20th was National Lemonade Day, I decided to try a bit of lemonade magic with a pork roast I was cooking for dinner. It came out perfectly and we’re still enjoying it and the vegetables that got roasted alongside! I hope you do, too!
Lemonade Blackberry Roast Pork
- 1 1/2 – 2 lb pork roast (if you want to do this with a pork tenderloin you’ll need to reduce the cooking time by about 1/3 and check the temp to ensure the pork is cooked through)
- 8 – 10 Rainbow baby potatoes cut into quarters
- 6 or so carrots sliced into bite size pieces
- 1/2 yellow onion cut into wedges
- 3 TB minced garlic
- 3/4 cup lemonade (I used Simply Lemonade)
- 2 TB blackberry balsamic vinegar
- 8 sprigs lemon thyme (you can use regular thyme)
- 2 TB lemon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Small bag of frozen Brussels Sprouts
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
- In a deep casserole, lay chopped vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions) across the bottom of the pan in a single layer.
- Use a fork to put multiple holes in your roast, then place the roast on top of the vegetables.
- Spread the garlic, over the top of the roast, pressing it into the holes you’ve made
- Lay the thyme sprigs over the top
- Pour the lemonade into the bottom of the pan (it should be enough to keep everything in a 1/2″ or so of liquid)
- Drizzle the vinegar and the lemon olive oil across the roast.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired.
- Place the roast in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
- Take the roast out of the oven and increase heat to 400 degrees F. Stir the vegetables and baste the meat. Pour the bag of frozen Brussels Sprouts over the cooking vegetables. Cover tightly with foil.
- Place the roast back in the oven and allow to cook covered for another 20 – 25 minutes.
- Remove the roast from the oven and remove the foil, baste again and stir the vegetables. If the liquid has dried, add more lemonade. Return to the oven without the foil.
- Allow to cook for another 20 – 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes or so. Test the meat with a meat thermometer. It is done when it registers 140 degrees F.
- Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. (The picture below shows the meat being pink. It really was only slightly pink, but the purple potatoes reflected color in the shot.) Pork that is cooked, yet still moist, is slightly pink.
- Remove the roast from the pan, put the vegetables into a separate bowl, and carve.
If you’re using this recipe for a pork tenderloin, you may want to reduce the amount of vegetables, and other ingredients. Keep enough liquid in the pan to cover 1/2″ deep. The juice is great over the vegetables. Store the leftovers (unsliced) in the refrigerator with a bit of the juice. It’s amazing.