Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Root Beer

I just can't get my head around why root beer isn't as widely liked over here in the UK as it is back in the US. I often struggle to find a good can of root beer. I only dream of proper draught root beer. One supermarket chain over here sells a cheap brand named Carter's Root beer but the taste is not good. It doesn't have that lovely creamy base note that good root beer has and it is sweetened with too many artificial sweeteners rather than good old sugar. BUT if you have to have a root beer and that's the only one. . . .

In the mean time, a little gift has come through the post. Some friends of ours from Ohio have sent me some sassafras root, some brewer's yeast and a book of how to make root beer at home with a pile of recipes. I may just try to make a batch.

My love of root beer goes waaaay back. I can remember the exact day I started to love root beer. (warning: nostalgia alert)
It was high summer and we were living in Bismarck, North Dakota and I was about six. It was bed time, but I was in the bathroom with my first loose tooth. The tooth had been wobbly for days. That warm summer night, it finally came out. I had to get it out myself or my dad would have pulled it for me and I didn't trust him not to hurt me.

I ran into the living room and showed my parents the tooth and the new gap in my mouth. Mom was so thrilled for me that she declared that a celebration was in order. We got into the car. I was still in my pajamas, how exciting is that! Mom took me to the A&W drive in and we ordered root beer floats! I loved going to the A&W. This was one of the last old fashioned types of drive in. The car was driven into the parking spot. There was a little intercom thing in your parking bay just under the menu. After giving your order, you just waited in the car. When the order arrived it was on this metal tray with big clip on it. If you rolled your window half way down, the tray could be clipped to the window. Instant table!

Were the mug's frozen? I seem to remember that, but it could be my memory is fuzzy. I do remember that with root beer floats the ice cream would get a very thin frozen film of root beer forming on it. I loved using a spoon to get that bit. Going to the A&W root beer stand in the summer was a great way to cool off and if you're there to celebrate your first tooth coming out, it's heaven.

My husband says that root beer tastes like toothpaste but I don't listen to him. Since that night, I have always loved root beer.

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