A History of Lemonade By Jill Dresser and Hermann-Grima / Gallier Historic Houses photo used with Creative Commons license from paparatti on flickr
Lemonade has been around for hundreds of years all over the world. Let's learn some history about its few ingredients: lemons, sugar, water, ice
This map shows you where the most lemons are grown. What type of climate is needed for lemon growing?
The Many Uses of Lemons Thru History can save you if you accidently took some types of poisons smelled nice (remember how smelly the streets used to be!) flavoring food ornament (decoration) medicine cleaner
1 ingredient down...3 to go! In the 1700s and 1800s in New Orleans, people drank rain water that was collected in large tanks called cisterns . This water would come off the roof of the house, go through gutters and stay in the cisterns. Because it's so hot in New Orleans, people drank a lot of liquids. They were always looking for ways to make their water taste better. Adding lemon juice and sugar was a great idea.
These are the cisterns at Hermann-Grima / Gallier Historic Houses. This is where all drinking, bathing and cooking water sat. (It's also where mosquitos made their homes!)
What about sugar? ‘the sweet salt’ Sugar has had a wild past. It was first used as a sweetener in Asia hundreds of years ago. People in Europe didn't find out about it until they went to Asia looking for spices to trade and people to conquer. Before this time, the only sweetener that people used was honey. Can you imagine only having honey to make candy and cakes out of? Sugar is, "very necessary for the use and health of mankind." William of Tyre 12th Century
Sugar comes from sugar cane. Sugar cane grows in parts of the world with lots of water and warmth. To get the sugar out of the cane is very difficult to do and requires much hard work. Photo used with Creative Commons license from Benderish
Here's what you have to do: 1. cut and bulk together the cane 2. crush the cane to get the juice 3. boil the juice to make it concentrated Photo used with Creative Commons license from pintxomoruno
Europeans brought sugar back to Europe with them. However, they did not want to do the hard work of cutting it down, bulking it together, crushing it, boiling it and packaging it. But they really, really wanted that valuable sugar...
They decided that they would steal workers to grow and process that sugar. This is one of the things that led to Europeans going to Africa and stealing African people and enslaving them. Sugar was as valuable as pearls and spices. Slaves that were stolen were free. This meant that Europeans could make a LOT of money.
The enslaved Africans were brought to Europe at first. Then, as Europeans began exploring North and South America, they brought the stolen slaves with them. This map shows you where Europeans and Africans went in the 1400s through 1800s. Can you see New Orleans?
These are the slave quarters located on a Sugar Plantation near Bunkie, Louisiana. In the background, you can see the large sugar house. Notice how many buildings there are. Sugar plantations had many slaves working on them.
Processing sugar cane was a very difficult and dangerous job. Many, many enslaved workers were burned from the boiling sugar cane syrup or died in the heavy and hard process. People were constantly looking for a solution.
Norbert Rillieux found the answer. Norbert Rillieux was born in New Orleans. His father was a white, sugar planter. His mother was an enslaved worker. Norbert's father sent him to France to be educated, as many other Creole families did. Norbert was very intelligent. He discovered a way to boil the sugar cane that was much less dangerous and much faster.
This sugar processor made it much safer. Norbert Rillieux saved many lives and many dollars. He is certainly a local hero!
Okay, so we've talked about lemons. We've talked about water. We've talked about sugar. What are we missing?
Think about how hot New Orleans is in the summer time. Think about life without air conditioning or fans. Think about life without a refrigerator. Think about life without ice cream. Think about life without ice.... Wait a second... isn't there always ice in some places in the world?
Ice Trade! It started in Massachusetts. A man named Frederic Tudor figured out that he could sell the ice in his pond to people in hot places. So, he began cutting up the ice in his pond. He cut big blocks of ice and packed it into a ship. Those ships headed south, to New Orleans and other places nearby.
...aren't we lucky we don't have to do that anymore!
Think about the information you've learned about the ingredients for lemonade. What information do you want to include on Lemonade Day about your lemonade ingredients?
special thanks to Hermann-Grima/Gallier Historic Houses in New Orleans for this presentation photo used with Creative Commons license from wallyg on flickr