A Toast to Encouraging Words and Inspiring Honesty

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 32 comments

Inspiring words turned  into a refreshing drink

I was doubly honored this week by two outstanding and original bloggers. First, Zerrin at Giverecipe shared her very first award, Kreativ Blogger, with me and 9 others - take a look at both her list and a simply sweet apple compote recipe! Zerrin, who blogs from her home in Turkey, started her site in late January with the goal of introducing readers to the incredible depth of her native cuisine. In this short space of time, she has presented a breathtaking variety of dishes, beautifully photographed and accompanied by thoughtful, personal commentary. Some recipes may be familiar to those already well-acquainted with Mediterranean food but so many others are complete revelations.

Next came the Sisterhood Award from a Wonder Woman of blogging - ChefBliss! If you haven't visited her site yet, head there immediately and check out the other recipients of this honor. From the very start of my blog, ChefB has been there to cheer me on, going so far as to cite something I've written as an inspiration for one of her posts and being kind (or is it brave?) enough to try one of my recipes. Quite simply, her blog exemplifies the joy of food.

Now, both of these awards came with requisite rules about passing them on but I can only reiterate that it is virtually impossible for me to choose from so many incredible sites. Once again, I wish to share this with all my fellow bloggers because we have in common not just a passion for food but also the desire to communicate and share it with a greater audience.

This brings me to a timely post from Lori at Fake Food Free who yesterday asked us to consider how and why we write, read and nurture blogs, both our own and others'. The discussion has touched on the rewards and difficulties of supporting each other in the food blog community, especially through comments.

It can be tough to leave meaningful words for every worthy post as we each discover new blogs to read in addition to our established favorites, all within the same limited time afforded by other aspects of our personal lives. However, such messages are the most tangible way to show each other support - for me, even a single phrase is a paragraph of encouragement. 

So how can we reconcile showing such reciprocity of support without becoming consumed by posting, reading and commenting? The answer must lie in what we as individuals feel is appropriate for ourselves - there is no quota, standard or formal protocol. Instead, I'd like to think that we have become a community of friends who boost each other at every opportunity while recognizing that we don't necessarily need to be a constant presence to show our appreciation of fellow bloggers' creativity and hard work. With that said, I want everyone to know how incredibly grateful I am for each and every comment you leave on my posts - your complimentary and encouraging words are fuel for my blogging fire!

In fact, among the comments for the previous post introducing my entry to the Eating Your Words Challenge - a gelatin expression of gustatory appreciation - was this candid assessment from Spryte:

"Stuff floating in jello has always kinda creeped me out . . . well . . . unless it's a tequila worm in a jello shot!!"

I loved it! In addition to encouragement, comments left on blog posts also often provide inspiration and that was the case here. I thought that perhaps my Jell-O creation could be made more appealing to Spryte if it were floating in a completely different medium. I had some mango jelly left, so I roped our resident mixologist, Mr. Noodle, into helping me create the following potent libation. It's not a tequila worm but I think it's worth a (jello) shot!

Mango Spryte
Named after its inspiration, this drink recipe is pretty standard and very flexible with regard to proportions. We chose rum as the alcohol base because it's a classic pairing with the coconut flavor found in the mango jelly as well as the citrus-infused simple syrup.


Crushed ice
Bacardi Silver Rum
Club soda
Orange-infused simple syrup (see suggestions at Online Pastry Chef)
To make syrup: combine 1:1 ratio of  sugar and water (for 2 servings, use 1/3 cup of each) in a pot and add orange zest or peel with pith scraped off. Bring to a light boil until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and leave to cool for at least 30-45 minutes. Syrup will thicken a bit; zest or peel can then be removed. For best results, allow orange flavor to steep in syrup for at least one day.
Mango/coconut jelly, cut in small cubes (mix can be found at most Asian groceries)
Optional: sprig of mint or basil (Thai basil, pictured)

To Make:

In a highball glass, add crushed ice and equal parts rum, club soda and simple syrup. Stir well and add several pieces of mango jelly. Top with herb garnish and enjoy!

3/7/09 update: Resident mixologist, Mr. Noodle, cautions that an equal part of simple syrup may result in a sugar overdose. He recommends approximately 1 oz of syrup per glass or, better yet, adding it to taste.


  • Chef E said...

    You so deserve this, your kindness and sweet nature come through your blog, and I feel we share so much that many of us are kindred spirits in life...so shall you shine on in my glass of life like the bright yellow lemon in this post!


    oh and the word verification is 'supper' so that means I need to know when and where to be on time :)

  • Anonymous said...

    Before I comment on the total sincerity driven through this post (and the inspiration that said sincerity has fueled in me), let me just say, "look at you breaking out the mango and herbs for a tasty looking drink!" With that said, excellent points here, both well expressed and, in turn, well comprehended.

    I'd have to claim the same about you as I am tickled pink (although I prefer purple ;) ) each time I receive notification of a new comment on one of my posts. So as not to make this some sort of short story, let me sum up here with just one word, to hopefully express my gratitude and/or appreciation for the support.. salamat! :)

  • Bob said...

    Congratz on the awards! Heh, that drink is awesome. Spryte is wicked cool, I really want to go to one of her wine tasting parties.

  • Brenda said...

    How wonderful about the awards!

    Hmmm, jello in a drink is a great concept. Kind of the adult non-milky version of bubble tea (one of my favorite things in the world)!

    This would make for an awesome summer party drink. Duly noted. :)

  • Lori said...

    What a way to turn a comment into a wonderful creation! I can almost taste this drink already. I am cocktail crazy. Don't worry, I don't drink too many I just love seeing all the combinations around the food blogging world. Yum!

    Thanks for the mention and congrats on your awards! You are certainly deserving of them.

  • Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

    Congrats for awards you fully deserve them!! Ohhh lady you make me insane with this drink mango, rum and coconut so scrumptious and refreshing...well if not have a lot of rum hehe...

    Enjoy your awards with this awesome drink!!

  • Spryte said...

    Ahahaha!!!! You TOTALLY ROCK!!!

    I've never had anything named after me!

    Jon is the mix-master in my house and I'm definitely going to seek out some mango jelly so he can whip up a batch of these babies!

    Congrats on your awards!!!!

  • Anonymous said...

    I thought for a nanosecond, and in an incredibly perverse way, about not commenting here today.

    I mean, you *know* that I will have been reading your post and that I never fail to be inspired by the insightful, thought-provoking and sometimes downright joyous things that you have to say, and also by the way it is that you choose to express your thoughts both here and in the comments that you leave on the blogs of many others, mine included.

    I reconsidered my perverse position however, as there couldn't be a more appropriate time to leave a comment on this, the day that you show us how to turn a comment into a cocktail.
    You continue to be nothing short of inspirational.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Apologies for the delay response to your comments!

    Elra - Thank you! Mr. Noodle and I celebrated well.

    5 Star - Thanks! Clear rum, crushed ice, and sweet syrup makes me forget the snow still on the ground.

    Chef E - 7:30 on the dot! It's Pizza Night Thursday, dontcha know? Thank you so much - you are also one of my very first and most vocal cheerleader. I truly appreciate your friendship!

    Gaby - I'll trade you a glass of Mango Spryte for a slice of that ricotta-veggie pizza!

    Scotty - Salamat to you, too and you're welcome [pretend it's in Tagalog, which I'm poor at now, except for food-related words!]! You've got the most fun sense of flavor and ingredient combinations - I look forward to your new creations. Which reminds me - Magic Sauce is making it's appearance for dinner tomorrow night. I'll let you know how it goes!

    PassionAboutBaking - Thank you so much! I'm so glad we connected - visiting your blog is like a virtual trip to the finest pastry shop.

    Bob - Thanks! Spryte's awesome. Maybe if we keep naming stuff after her, we'll score invites to the tastings!

    Chitra - Thank you! I celebrated well and often!!

    Brenda - Yes!! "An adult, non-milky version of bubble tea" describes it just right (I thought about adding tapioca balls but didn't want to crowd out the mango jelly). For those who do not partake of the firewater, then flavored sparkling water would make a great, bubbly substitute.

    Girlichef - Thank you, especially for showing your support to me and Savor the Thyme by participating in our challenge!

    doggybloggy - Thanks! I drank it all, too, which is why I waited until the next day to write and post. Sobriety tends to help with lucidity.

    Hornsfan - Thank you! A single word or phrase often sparks an idea and then takes off from there.

    Jennifer - I'm happy to provide you a nice start to the day (although cocktails before noon doesn't always go over well). I will never tire of saying it: thank you so much for inviting me to join you in co-hosting Eating Your Words!

    Lori - Thanks so much! From my first visit, I was hooked on your blog because you are so willing to ask the provocative questions or to share your insight even if it's not mainstream. Of course, I also love your healthy recipes and your stories about Brazil!

    Sara - Thanks! I had worried that the jelly might dissolve but the use of agar-agar kept it in shap! Then again, if it HAD melted, that might have really added something different to the flavor!

    Gera - Thank you! We considered using cachaca or even pisco but they're sometimes not as easy to find as rum on store shelves here. BTW, does Uruguay have a national liqueur/liquor?

    Spryte - Thank you for being a muse! I was going to e-mail/leave a comment as a head's-up but was too sleepy by the time I posted so I'm happy you saw it early. Bottom's up!

    Maria - Thanks! I firmly believe that the best celebrations are those that have a little bit of zing to them, courtesy of a refreshing cocktail!

    Daily Spud - You know you're my heroine (role model, not illegal drug). If you hadn't commented, I would've come over to your blog and left increasingly desperate and pathetic pleas until you relented. But really, thank you for these lovely words - they mean so much coming from you!

  • Spryte said...

    Bob... you know if you're ever in Pittsburgh you and your lovely gf had BETTER stop by for cooking & drinking... oh I mean tasting!

    That goes for you and Mr. Noodle too!!

    I'm still so giddy!! I've been posting links to this all over the net! hehehe

  • Anonymous said...

    You are so great! Congratulations, not only on the awards, but on being such a warm and wonderful person. I do love coming by here--I generally leave all warm and toasty. This time, I will leave slightly drunk, as I contemplate this deadly new cocktail you guys came up with!

    I appreciate the mention as well--it's like a virtual shot in the arm, and I appreciate it!

  • Kiezie said...

    Perfect Post!! Well said, I agree with you on the commenting, I have to tell myself it's ok to let go sometime, both as a commentor and commentee!! :) But I love the community we are creating! Thank you also for your beautiful words about my blog, you honor me more than you know!

  • Heather said...

    lovely cocktail. i really enjoyed lori's post the other day - it was a good conversation starter and definitely interesting to see everyone's responses.

    congrats on your awards, too :)

  • Sapuche said...

    As always, I loved your post, and your Mango Spryte inspiration is, well, inspiring! The mango and alcohol combination has me smacking my lips. And congrats on the awards! Now, where'd I put that Bacardi...

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Spryte - Thank you: we may just show up on your doorstep one of these days!

    OPC - Warm, toasty and drunk is not a bad way to leave the party! Just don't end up in a snowbank! (Wait a minute, y'all don't get snow in NC). And since we've been talking about credit, I needed to give you props for the simple syrup.

    ChefBliss - My blog world has expanded because of how often you selflessly feature other bloggers on your site. I value our friendship and look forward to a long time of happy blogging for all of us!

    Heather - Thanks! You're a supreme mixologist yourself so it's such a compliment to read your words.

    Sapuche - It's not as mind-altering as yaqona but a whole lot prettier!

    Reeni - Thank you! I got a lot of benefit from it - a tasty and relaxing drink!

    Gera - Wow! We've actually had Tannat before from a winery in Virginia, although I think the grape grown here in the US is much different from yours. I should look for a bottle, along with one of the dulce de leche liqueur. That sounds so delicious! Thank you for the info.

  • Cris said...

    Such cute awards! You won't believe it, my husband fixed me a mango drink last week, hehehe, this one looks fabulous! And I did it!!! I posted the eating words challenge just now!!!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Cris - Obrigada! Mango, to me, always represents warmth - we just finished the last of the gelatin although we ate it straight, not in a drink! And thank you so much for participating in the challenge - I can't wait for you to see it along with the other entries on Monday.


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