Today the annual Lipton Ice Tea “Big Splash” event is being held on one of the public squares in Leuven. Lipton is a big sponsor of the Student Union and the students arrive in their thousands to don the free yellow t-shirt and sun glasses. Just look at Lipton’s promotional video – man, you have to admit, this looks like brilliant fun! Go on watch it – it’s only 1 min. long. If only I were a teen-ager again….
Last year one of the teenagers in our house made the most of their youth and had a bash at the splash on their way home from school with a bunch of friends. Strictly speaking it’s for students only but somehow they managed to blag their way in. They came home soaking wet sporting Lipton’s bright yellow t-shirt and sun-glasses, glowing, shivering and happy.
“Our team did really well – we managed to sock a whole load of water balloons at the other side and made it to the final round before we were beaten!” they announced gleefully. How annoying it must be to have a mother who pulls a snotty face and declares that Lipton’s ice-tea is a manifestation of corporate greed, is full of isoglucose, artificial flavourings, not a single tea leaf from China flavouring a single can …blah, blah, blah, etc. etc.
“Next year,” I warned my teen-ager “I’m going to organise “The Mega Buttermilk Bash” or a “Colossal Clabbered Clash!”. The said teen-ager looked at me with amixture of horror and irritation. They needn’t have worried. Like I’d have the funds to organise anything like that! Anyway it’s impossible for advocates of traditional flavours to compete with isoglucose syrup.
You can’t. You just can’t.
So, here we are – another year, another event and nothing has changed much in the world of the corporate sponsorship of sweet , artificial drinks. The paleo diet is in full swing. George Osborne has introduced a sugar tax. There have been a series of earnest articles in the mainstream media on the evils of the white stuff – and still Lipton Tea owned by Unilever rolls into town and organises another Big Splash handing out free drinks to the next generation of isoglucose addicts. There has, however, been one small seismic shift since last year. Last week my 16 year old pinched her nose, grimaced and drank some of my home-made clabbered milk. I was amazed – I hadn’t even prompted her. After three gulps she gagged alarmingly but held it down.
“It’s not that bad is it?” I suggested.
She looked at me, the grimace and disgust writ large across her face and retorted,
“Yes it is!”
Still, she drank it. Spontaneously. As far as I’m concerned this is a nano victory with huge implications. A teeny-tiny baby-step towards defeating the food corporation’s monopoly on tastes and flavours: sweet and salty, rarely bitter, never sour. Better still she has been drinking a glass most days since and told me the other day, “I’m getting used to it. It’s quire refreshing actually.”
For the recipe see here.