It may be the beginning of April, though honestly March does not feel as if it were just a month ago – it feels instead like an entire year ago. Given the planet is in the middle of a pandemic my sense of time is completely skewed.
My grandparents, and presumably yours, lived through the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19. Hundreds of thousands of people lived with the terror of Polio until a vaccine was created in 1955. Covid-19 is the most recent disease to sweep across the globe. I’m not a scientist so I have no advice to offer of how to cure this disease. Nor am I a doctor, so again, no brilliant insights of how you can attempt to avoid this disease, though there are several things you can do to help “flatten the curve”*, and I sincerely hope you are able to do them. As someone who is most often found in the kitchen, all I can offer you at this moment is a bit of sunshine in a cup.
In February I had a work delivery to make on Nantucket, so my husband and I turned it into a micro-vacation. Once the delivery was complete we had forty-eight hours to explore the island. February is very off-season, on top of that the days we happened to be there were during school vacation week, so island life was even quieter. Yeah for us – it was almost as if we had the island to ourselves.
We hadn’t bothered to bring a car so our two options of exploration were our feet or the island bus. We clocked in over twenty miles during the forty-eight hours we were there. We wandered along the brick sidewalks and cobblestoned streets of the Town of Nantucket.
We took the bus out to Siasconset so we could get blown along the ‘Sconset Bluff Walk and shoreline, much to our delight. The waves were so cacophonous we had to shout to communicate. Mostly we walked along the beach tilting our bodies at a 45˚ angle to keep from being blown over as we took hundreds of pictures of the waves, both of us smiling like nutters. The wild winds, the crashing waves, and the complete lack of crowds suited us both.
Given the off season only small group of restaurants were open, including the Handlebar Cafe. We ducked in there, both to get out of the wind, as well as to enjoy a hot beverage and write some postcards we’d found earlier that day at the Whaling Museum gift shop. On the counter of the cafe was a sign for “Cup of Sunshine”, which sounded so good and novel to both Shawn and I, that we each ordered a cup.
What can I say? I am not always at the forefront of a trend, in this instance the Golden Milk trend. Go ahead google it. There are almost four hundred million results! Whether you’ve known about it for ages, or are just discovering it like me, I hope you’ll enjoy.
After we returned home I started playing around with the recipe and learned a smidge of fat helps your body absorb all the good qualities of turmeric (thank you Mark Bittman). So while it may seem odd to add oil to hot milk or hot chocolate, don’t skip it.
Now a quick word about spices. They need to be fresh. If the ones in your cupboard are from three administrations ago, or date back to your college days, or are older than your youngest child (who is now in college) think about composting those spices and starting with some new, fresh ones. I tend to buy mine in bulk, however during Covid-19 restrictions grocery stores are not allowed to sell from their bulk section. So invest in a few jars of new spices and you’ll notice the difference! If you have a mortar and pestle you can also consider getting some spices in their seed form and turning them into powder with a judicious amount of pounding. Consider it smashing therapy.
Sunshine Milk & Hot Chocolate Sunshine
There is an enormous amount of flexibility with this recipe, which makes it perfect for anyone who may not be able to pop out to the store at present. Having drunk a mug of Sunshine Milk or Hot Chocolate Sunshine nearly every day for the last month I’ve found no two mugs are exactly the same – so embrace the variations.
Note: there are two recipes, one for Sunshine (Golden) Milk, and another for Hot Chocolate made with Sunshine Milk as its base.
Milk or dairy-free milk of your choice – almond, soy, oat, coconut
1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon Turmeric Latte Mix **
If you don’t have a packaged mix you can put together the following spices:
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Ceylon if you have it)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 pinches of ground chili peppers
generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons of sweetener you can use whatever you have on hand – honey, agave, maple syrup, coconut sugar, regular sugar – brown or white
1-2 teaspoons coconut or avocado oil
Measure the amount of milk or dairy free milk by pouring it into the mug you’ll be using then pouring it into a small pan along with the oil. Warm the liquid on low heat until it is steaming, but not boiling.
While the liquid is warming spoon the other ingredients into your mug. Adjust the amount of sweetener, based both on which type you are using and also how much sweetness you’re in the mood for. Once the liquid in the pot is steaming pour into the mug, stirring until everything is combined. If you want you could also use a milk steamer or frother to get a head of foam on top. Totally up to you, and how many dishes you feel like doing.
For Hot Chocolate Sunshine just add the following ingredients to the above recipe:
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1-2 teaspoons chopped dark chocolate (optional)
additional spoonful of sweetener, if desired
*As I said I’m not a doctor or scientist but here is list of what is being recommended we do to slow the spread of Covid-19:
- Wash your hands
- Don’t touch your face
- Stop traveling
- Work from home if you are not an essential worker
- Keep six feet away from everyone if you must go out
- Gloves and masks can help protect you and others when you do go out, but washing your hands is still #1
- If you get sick self-isolate – ideally away from healthy people
** This is not a sponsored post. The baristas at the Handlebar Cafe were kind enough to tell us they used Nature’s Harvest Turmeric Latte mix and add in some maple syrup. Also since I am not able to get my spices and herbs in bulk I decided to check out the Spice House, who offer an online option for super-fresh spices which offers free shipping on their flatpacks.