Community Greens

People of all colors discussing evergreen ideas.

Growing Up Morrisania: The Curse Of Red Kool Aid

Kool-Aid-PitcherMother’s milk. I started life on it and grew healthy and strong with nature’s perfect food. It provided all my needs before I naturally transitioned to solid nourishment. Somewhere along the way marketing happened and maybe I went overboard as drank a big glass with every meal. And milk was even more quenching with sugar and vanilla or chocolate or strawberry flavor.

But chocolate milk doesn’t compare with Red Kool Aid. After my grandmother died, and we all had to pitch in to get dinner on the table, it became my job to make a pitcher of Red Kool Aid for dinner. I drank gallons of it from a Flintstone jelly jar glass and on Sundays from the good glasses with the green and white Grecian motif. Is Red Kool Aid the gateway drink to sugar addictions?

So what’s not to like about a package of chemicals, tap water and sugar, as much sugar as you want. Dosing yourself on that much sugar just can’t be good for you, can it? If a can on coke has 9 teaspoons of sugar, acid and carbonation to get it all into your system faster, Kool Aid with red dye that stains your tongue for what seems like hours, can’t be that bad. Besides, we are hard wired to enjoy sweet drinks. We have sour, salt, and bitter taste buds to protects us. Sugar serves satisfaction. There is a connection to survival. Our taste buds are just as important as the four food groups. I am sure there is a place for Red Kool Aid. As a kid, I thought I needed it to survive.

When my intake of Red Kool Aid surpassed my intake of milk I knew I was cursed by Red Kool Aid. Grandma never saw the projects. She had died a year or so before we got the letter. They gave the 5 of us 2 bedrooms: mom, my older sister, my older and younger brothers and me. That may have been one of the reasons my sister didn’t come with us when we moved. I realized everyone living in the projects had the Red Kool Aid curse. Funny, but that knowledge helped me move beyond Red Kool Aid. It became cool to drink iced tea.

I didn’t drink my first cup of coffee until I was 27, but that’s a story for another day.


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