I went to the high school where the “High School Musical” installments were filmed. Yes, it’s supposed to be set in New Mexico, but the building is on 13th East in Salt Lake City. When I was a student (circa the Pleistocene era), it didn’t look as it does currently. That is a pity; it was a grand old building.
So I say Salt Lake, and the follow up question is always, “Are you Mormon?” It’s like peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs or bread and butter. The answer is no, I am not. My father had three employment possibilities when he received his doctorate. He knew nothing about any of the cities, so he pulled a Doctor Dolittle and chose Spider Monkey Island. Actually, he chose Salt Lake. My parents fell in love with the beauty of the state and live there still.
Growing up a non-Mormon in Salt Lake was an interesting experience. My classmates were generally involved with church or family activities after school, and so were unavailable to hang out. My closest friends were either the “Gentiles” as non-Mormons are known to the LDS or the “Jack Mormons,” those who claimed a church connection but did not strictly adhere to the tenents of the faith. I don’t recall what flavor my best friend Liz was, but it didn’t matter. We just fit well and enjoyed each other’s company.
In our junior year, we took a foray into foreign territory. Liz decided to run for elected office and I was to be her campaign manager. I think even at the time we didn’t consider it likely she would be elected, but we were not deterred. A two woman army of posters and campaigning for EHAG 2nd Vice marched forth.
An aside: If you have to pick a name for an organization of women, and your school is East High, could there be any worse acronym than the one for “East High Associated Girls?”
All through the arduous campaign season (2 weeks???) we dodged the mud slinging (Candidate X for EHAG 2nd Vice), keeping an ever positive, on-focus message of “Liz for EHAG 2nd Vice”. The campaign is probably responsible for launching several major political careers because of its simple brilliance.
And then came the day of the assembly, where the un-polled sweaty student body would hear the clarity of our message and vote to put the best candidate into office. What, we pondered could be the piece de resistance to push the vote over the line?
[Facepalm] Why didn’t we think of it before? It’s brilliant!
And so it came to be that she [and I?] wore cutouts of large fruits, pears to be exact, in the gym that morning. When it came time for the EHAG 2nd Vice candidates to speak, she gave her quick spiel, and then she and I sang “It a-PEARS to me, Liz should be EHAG 2nd Vice.” Not content with the pear costumes and the singing, we also did a little dance at the same time. Mega!
I was planting my potted rosemary yesterday and decided to look up interesting cocktail recipes utilizing its spikey fragrance. When I hit Martha Stewart’s site, I immediately started singing the campaign song in my head. It made me laugh. So for you Liz, many years and many miles between us (she lives in AZ now), I dedicate this recipe. For my Mormon friends, enjoy the story because clearly the beverage is right out! Maybe someone, without looking at the yearbook, can tell me who did actually win that coveted office, because our campaign attempt went very pear shaped!
Pear-Rosemary CocktailsAdapted from Martha Stewart
- 6 to 10 pears
- 4 cups (32 ounces) vodka
- 1 cup sugar
- 12 sprigs fresh rosemary plus more for garnish
- 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) pear nectar*
- 4 cups (32 ounces) sparkling water
- Put enough pears into a 48-ounce glass jar to fill. Add vodka. Seal jar, and let stand at room temperature 2 weeks (up to 2 months).
- Heat sugar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add rosemary; remove from heat. Let stand 30 minutes. Discard rosemary. Let cool completely. Syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 month.
- Fill 12-ounce glasses halfway with ice. Add 4 tablespoons vodka, 2 tablespoons syrup, and 3 tablespoons pear nectar to each. Top with 1/2 cup sparkling water. Serve garnished with rosemary sprigs.
Pear nectar is usually available in cans in the supermarket, but if you want to make sure you’re using quality ingredients, you can make your own.
- 4 cups fresh, sliced pears
- 3 cups water
- Sugar (I prefer raw sugar, but it takes longer to dissolve)
- Lemon juice
Select very ripe fruit. Peel, core and crush the pears (I used my food processor). Combine crushed pears with water, place on stove and slowly heat to a simmer for 2 minutes.
Press the mixture through a colander, then through a fine sieve. Measure liquid and to each cup of liquid add 3/4 cup of sugar and juice of 1/2 lemon. Bring back to a simmering temperature.
Pour into sterilized jars to within 1/2 inch of top, screw on lids and invert for 5 minutes. Leave to cool, checking to make sure the seal has formed.