Adventures in tasting

A young chef tries out blueberry lemonade

My red-headed nephew decided to participate in our forage fest this past weekend and created a new recipe all by himself for the occasion.

He proudly recited the ingredients and instructions for us as he portioned his treat into cups to be passed down the long table of smiling adults. We praised and complimented him as we sipped, puckering on the undiluted syrup, and displayed our purple-stained teeth in wide smiles for him.

He had many tips and recipe suggestions for us and beamed as we emptied our cups before bounding off to return to the floor to play with cars and dolls with the rest of the cousins.

I love to see children exploring food. Growing up, my mother encouraged (insisted) that we take three bites every new food put in front of us, and she provided many opportunities for us to challenge our young palates.

Trying new flavors, textures, and ingredients is a safe, consequence-free way to take risks and exercise bravery, which boosts confidence and self-esteem. Conversations over those new foods provide occasions to learn new descriptive vocabulary, to practice articulating and asserting opinions and considering the opinions of others, and can even ignite interest in exploring other cultures and languages.

Most young children are picky eaters to some degree — this little one being somewhat high on that scale — so I was delighted to see him taking initiative and creating his own recipe to share. Perhaps his enterprising nature will spur him to continue his culinary endeavors, maybe even to branch out away from his comfort zones, and I look forward to his next creation.

Carter gave me permission to share his recipe for “blueberry lemonade.”

Carter’s blueberry lemonade syrup


The juice of 8 lemons

4 cups frozen blueberries (wild foraged can’t be beat, but store bought is just fine)

Sugar to taste (I used 1 cup)

Water — variable, just to loosen the mixture. (I ended up using about 2/3 cup)


Add the juice, blueberries and sugar to a blender.

Splash some water over the top and start blending.

Add water until the syrup is the desired consistency. You want it to be smooth but not soupy.

Strain if you wish to remove the blueberry skins, but I didn’t bother.

There are many possible serving options. You could simply pour ¼ cup over ice in a glass and top with sparkling water. You could drizzle a few tablespoons over lemon sorbet. You could use equal parts syrup and vodka and top with tonic water for an adult refreshment. I used the syrup for an Italian soda.

Blueberry lemonade Italian soda

Pour 2 ounces syrup over ice in a glass.

Pour 2 ounces heavy cream over the syrup.

Top with lemon flavored sparkling water.

Stir until combined and frothy.

Garnish with whole frozen blueberries and maybe some whipped cream for extra sweetness.