COMPOSING a smoothie based on my dad for this St. Patrick’s Day theme is something I have been really looking forward to. It makes a lot of sense for many reasons:
First, my dad’s favorite color is green. Second, if I understand our family history correctly, my ancestors are Scottish, but also lived and emigrated from Belfast, Ireland in the 1800’s, (and there are currently McMurrin relatives in Ireland), so that is also fitting. Third, there are so many obvious fruit and vegetable choices that relate to my dad that fit with smoothies, but also other interesting items to consider too that make this smoothie recipe challenging.
What may be ironic is that I don’t know if my dad would necessarily approve of this smoothie. In fact he might say that taking all the things that remind me of him and blending them up is (to use one of his favorite words) “asinine,” in that each of those separate ingredients have a specific role and purpose on their own, and shouldn’t be combined, even in his honor. But…..I am not an engineer, I am not thinking this out critically, I am thinking about this emotionally, so I am just going to do it my way. I also picture that if I were able to make it for him, he would probably make some sort of strange comment, say “GAD” at least once or twice, but he would try it……and I think he would like it.
With that looooong introduction, brace yourself for the complex ingredient list- and this time, if you want to try the true “McMurrin,” NOTHING is optional.
- 1 small bunch grapes (I froze mine ahead of time)
- 1/2 cup frozen peaches or 1/2 fresh peach
- 1/2 apple
- 1/2 tomato
- 1/3 avocado
- 3 large strawberries
- handful of black or boysenberries
- 2 cups spinach or other leafy greens
- 1/2 cup grape juice
- 1 small scoop vanilla ice cream- or whatever flavor is in your freezer OR
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 2 spoonfuls pickle relish. Yes, just close your eyes and put it in. It will be OK.
- 1-2 cups ice cubes
I know there are a lot of ingredients here, but if you read this previous post, you know that my dad is not boring, and to do a smoothie by him justice, it couldn’t be boring either.
I have to give some context to the ingredients…
- Grapes– for the grapevines my dad cultivated.
- Peaches– for the peach tree that grew out of our compost pile in San Jose.
- Apple– for all of my dad’s fruit trees.
- Tomato– for my earliest memories of the smell of my dad’s greenhouse in SLC, for all the years when styrofoam cups bearing blue ball-point pen indents of intriguing tomato variety names like “Beefsteak,” “Early Girl,” and “Champion” lined our kitchen window waiting for my dad to plant them, and for the summer evenings spent putting drip systems in so that the tomatoes could be properly watered.
- Avocado– for my dad’s avocado trees, his avocado toast & the fact that he is currently contemplating how to send me a box of avocados.
- Strawberries– For the time spent in my dad’s garden picking them.
- Black/boysenberries– for the time when I was about 5 and heard my dad talking about how he ate the “poison berries” and how terrified I was thinking my dad had been poisoned until someone explained that they were Boysenberries and were not poisonous, AND for the Sleeping Beauty-worthy berry forest my dad created which threatened to take over the corral, yet provided lots of delicious berries through the summer months.
- Leafy greens- to keep the smoothie green- but now that I think about it, I should have had this one be swiss chard, since my dad did grow it.
- Grape juice– for the grape juice my dad makes from the aforementioned grapes.
- Ice cream– for the times when my dad would get upset at me because I would eat the ice cream out from the previously unopened of the box so that my parents wouldn’t notice that I had eaten it, but then my dad would take a scoop from what he thought was still a pretty full box of ice cream to have the unpleasant experience of discovering that I had consumed most of it. This may not make sense to you, but I know my dad will know what I am talking about.
- Honey– for the beehives my dad took over from my violin teacher’s dad & his beekeeper suit. If I had a picture of him in it, I would put that in here!
- Pickle relish– my dad puts it on tacos, why shouldn’t I try it in a smoothie? Just think of it as a tangy cucumber.
Ok, once you have compiled all of these ingredients and your memories, blend it all up.
Pour it into a mug which has some German script on it, garnish with some fresh berries and a dollop of pickle relish, serve it up with some homemade waffles, and then you will have a smoothie fit for Daryl McMurrin!
And guess what– it tastes delicious. Just so you can have the opinion of an unbiased person (non-McMurrin), I promise Rijen liked it too! My only regret now is that I should have also added a dash of Tabasco sauce. Or would that have been taking it too far? Did I forget anything dad? Steffan?
Now, I know creating a smoothie like this is somewhat whimsical/strange, however it was a really fun exercise for me to figure out what food items best represented my dad. In the age and place we live in, we are fortunate in that food represents so much more than just sustenance. Food can remind us of other people, like in my example here, or a place, or evoke a specific memory. It can also speak to a person’s character….are you vanilla or chocolate? Are you chunky or creamy? White or wheat? (chocolate, chunky, it depends).
In any case, I enjoyed of course figuring this out for my dad, and I think it could be a fun idea to apply in other situations. For example, you could create a fun, unique dessert someone’s honor for their birthday or anniversary, or perhaps a subway style sandwich (since sandwiches have a long tradition of being named after people). Let me know if you try this smoothie and if you feel inspired to create one of your own…..and if any of you come to visit, I would do my best to make one up in your honor too! (Without pickle relish of course).
For the random category today, I will highlight some favorite food-related memories. Sara, consider yourself forewarned! And immediate family- why don’t I have ANY pictures of macaroni and cheese! I must make it and photograph it post-haste! What are your favorite food memories? If you were a smoothie, what would you be?
And now the prize of the bunch…..Aleida just happened to email me this video today…from an experience in Vienna where watched Apfel Strudel being made and were able to eat it at the end. We were all strangely captivated by the girls highly scripted, careful, almost robotic yet utterly delightful demonstration (In both English and German). It is amazing how she handles the dough like it is a piece of silk.