Recipe for Nostalgia

One hand-painted sun tea pitcher with a working spout but a broken spigot, purchased for .50 cents at a yard sale

1 gallon filtered water

6 tea bags

A sunny windowsill

Time to think and reflect on when the livin’ was easy

Chicago in the summertime is a truly magical place.  Everyone is happy, well-fed, and full of Vitamin D.  Not to mention living in complete denial that winter will eventually return and we’ll go back to spending 30 minutes looking for street parking.  The less civilized – or less shameful? – will put some piece of garage clutter in a sedan-sized box they have carved out of a snow drift. (For my east coast readers, this is real and it is called “dibs”.  When we first moved to Chicago in 2010, I was surprised that someone could forget their baby stroller in the middle of the street in the dead of winter.  I then learned that if you move said stroller to park your car, you may get your car windows smashed out.  Things were beginning to come into focus…)

We’ve had some perfect weather lately, and this weekend was no exception.  Saturday consisted of the Green City Farmer’s Market for cheese curds, apricots, and croissants to take with us as we walked to the Lincoln Park Zoo just around the corner.  After all the monkeys, penguins, polar bears and rhinos we could bare, we headed home to find a delightful neighborhood yard sale.  We made out like bandits with two cigar boxes, a book, the aforementioned pitcher and almost left with a red-and-white checked picnic tablecloth.  (.50 cents, sure. $1? Too much.  Too much I say!)

It was time to hop in the car and we soon found ourselves at Firecakes for a delicious seasonal fritter, and then to Restoration Hardware Chicago Gallery at the 3 Arts Club, which – having long been promoted to me – was quite delightful.  David and I enjoy colorful & modern interior design, so the 100 shades of grey sprawling across 4 floors, while absolutely stunning,  left us feeling like little kids in the impressionist wing of the Louvre.  The rooftop was absolutely gorgeous, and we may have snuck a few apricots while deciding where to eat dinner.

If there is one thing my husband and I agree on, it’s an honest love of BBQ.  We’ve been to most BBQ joints in Chicago, and one of our favorites by far is Green Street Smoked Meats.  I’m that person who finds one thing I love and will joyfully order it 100 times, so I happily zoomed to the counter to request my ole’ standby: Pulled Pork Sandwich (with ‘slaw on the side.)  My hubby went for the Thunderbird with the Elote Style Corn side.  Yum, yum, yum.   (There may also have been a quick stop for a mini Sicilian Pistachio gelato and a trip to 26th street to visit Sugar Shack for the fried dough, but this is merely hearsay.)  Bellies full, I daresay we passed out by 8pm.

Sunday crept in at it’s usual sleepy pace, providing the perfect opportunity to get in the kitchen and time travel back to a time before bills, stress, and adult relationships.  Some foods transport you to the kitchens of your childhood, when you questioned the cleanliness of mom’s tasting spoon or were appalled at the number of butter sticks in Grandma’s candied yams.  (Again, things are coming into focus…)

Sun Tea.jpgWhen I was little, my mom made sun tea in a quintessential 1980’s sun tea pitcher, complete with hand painted yellow and green flowers.  The lemony-herbal tea bags sat safe in the flowery container of joy, basking in the sun for what seemed like ever and ever.  I think this is particularly nostalgic because in a day and age when you can uberEATS a new puppy practically, why in the world would you spend 8 hours brewing tea on a windowsill?  Because as a generation who has the world at our fingertips, we long for the tactile experience that has gone missing.  We’ve lost records to tapes, tapes to CDs, CDs to mp3s and at a certain point when you wonder “what the heck is music?”, you buy a record player.

So I bought a sun tea pitcher.

You can never go home again, but you can always bring a little piece of home with you.  And sometimes, that’s all you need.

Love you, Mom.  Thanks for the recipe.

Much Love,


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