Here in Saudi Arabia, summer has started last April and is now in its driest month (June). As this weather nears its peak (August), my appetite for oily and protein rich foods loses more and more. My craving for the dog days of the season turned into something cold, sweet, and trophic. Nothing could better define what I have in mind than the word “smoothies”.
Smoothies are slushy fruit-based drinks that got a boost from the growing popularity of home blenders in 1940 in the West coast of the United States. The birth of Smoothie King chain in 1970, which popularized a nutritional smoothie formulated juice with the addition of vitamins and other supplements, made Steve Kuhnau the pioneer of this particular beverage. By the 1990s, smoothies were already a multibillion dollar industry, with the introduction of smoothie machines that helped propel the drink out of specialty shops and on to menus in restaurants and university cafeterias (nestleprofessional.com).
At present, the popularity of smoothies continues to evolve. Its common indulgence category as a beverage is now penultimate to the on-the-go meal or snack or dessert, most especially in the West and, of course, the tropical parts of Asia. This is the reason why it is a must-listed item on the menus of quick-service restaurants.
Recently, I stopped by not a restaurant but a local smoothie shop called Tabeie wa Sehei (in English, Natural and Healthy), which is just beside the grocery store near our place, to quench my longing for a cold drink. I took a friend’s word for how good their smoothies are.
I was then asked to choose among the fruits that are absolutely ambrosia on the counter. Picking was not easy. All the fruits are pleasing to my taste and smell. Eventually, I chose strawberry because my two most favorite fruits (soursop and guacamole) were unavailable. The best from the choices were strawberries because they are very good sources of vitamin C; in fact, they contain more vitamin C than citrus fruits providing 149 percent of the daily value (Food and Nutrition Information Database, University of Illinois Extension).
Tabeie wa Sehei’s smoothies only come in two sizes: medium (6 SAR) and large (7 SAR).
While waiting, I decided to watch the beverage specialist make my healthy drink. He only used four ingredients: approximately 10 pieces of strawberries, 4 pieces of ice cubes, 2 tablespoons of vanilla, and a cup of milk. After about 10 minutes, there he was pouring the red smooth thing in my medium cup.
On the flip side, do not be confused between a milk shake and a smoothie. A milk shake is blended with milk, ice cream, and flavoring. A smoothie will never need an ice cream and is often made with limited ingredients — ice and milk as the primary ones. Flavors can vary from frozen or fresh fruit to liquid flavoring.
What I liked most about this beverage is the natural sweet and sour taste that just leaves the mouth wanting for more. There is not much of that sugary taste thereby making the shop’s name (i.e., natural and healthy) congruent to what it sells. I remember how I savored slowly sipping the saccharine and vinegary contents of that cup in order to enjoy the natural flavor and grainy texture of the berries as well as their pellet-sized chunks swimming in the pool and slipping through the straw. The first and last sips provided me with the sweet indulgence I longed for.
Until summer is over I am considering this smoothie shop as a sort of harborage amid this scorching weather. Payday is now around the corner; I will surely come back for another cup. A large cup is what I will take by then.
Simple Breakfast Smoothie at thevanillabeanblog.com
Join the July-30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge at simplegreensmoothies.com
Strawberry Macadamia Nut Green Smoothie Recipe at incrediblesmoothies.com
Are Green Smoothies Good for Athletes at greensmoothies.com
Smoothies and Shakes at pbfingers.com