I’ll Be With You In The Squeezing Of A Lemon

My quote of a title is from Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘She Stoops To Conquer’. And what interests me about that particular play is that people do not agree on what it ‘is’. It is a comedy, yes. That is agreed upon. But then – is it a comedy of manners? A sentimental or romantic comedy? Or a comedy of errors? Or is it satire?

The postcard above shows us an elaborately-dressed ‘limonade seller’. It is from the turn of the century – the publisher is Lichtenstern & Harari, Cairo. Oddly enough, it was labeled ‘India’ when I purchased it, but of course Cairo is not in India.

It is one hundred years later, and still today one can find current photos of the ‘limonade sellers’ of Cairo that closely resemble our own limonade seller from the past.

What comes to my mind, when I see these photos, is a sense of the work involved in being a limonade seller. It is, from a distance, a charming-looking thing, a personalized thing, something which holds the essence of ‘slow food’, which (if we are at all involved in food culture ‘life’) we are beckoned to the doors of each day in our own society where ‘slow food’ is fairly uncommon.

I wonder if the job pays well. I wonder if he would prefer to do something else. In other words, I wonder if – just as Goldsmith’s play is different things to different people – ‘slow food’ is the same thing to all people.

The link above (with the photo of the current-day limonade seller) also has some recipes, if you would like to explore Egyptian drinks. I’m sure I will!


8 thoughts on “I’ll Be With You In The Squeezing Of A Lemon

  1. Thank you, Karen, for this unusual postcard! I was so happy to see karkaday mentioned in the “Tea and Other Hot Drinks” section of the ‘limonade sellers’ site to which you linked above. It brought fond memories of a friend who passed away ten years ago. He traveled to Egypt about twenty years ago, and upon his return he related how refreshing a glass (or several glasses!) of iced karkaday tasted after a long day of sightseeing under the hot desert sun. With a mutual friend, we found a supplier in New York City that carried imported loose karkaday (hibiscus flower) tea, and we all enjoyed its mildly spicy flavor, sweetened with just a touch of honey. The color of karkaday tea is a most striking garnet to ruby shade of red. Hibiscus tea is marketed by many major U. S. tea companies, but the American brands are almost always blended with other ingredients such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and clove, so it is difficult to easily reproduce the taste of pure hibiscus flower tea in the states. — Leo

  2. What a great story, Leo! I think I’ve seen hibiscus tea without the extra ingredients somewhere . . . will now keep an eye our for it! šŸ™‚

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