Orange Crush was my favourite soda pop flavour when I was a kid. That heavy glass bottle, frosty-cold and dripping with condensation on a sweltering summer day. The sweet, citrusy nectar slipping down my parched throat, followed by the delicious burn of the carbonation . . . oooh, so thirst-quenching and absolutely heavenly.
The reality is, I probably drank less bottles of Orange Crush in my whole childhood than I could count on all my fingers and toes – soda pop was a very rare and special treat, reserved for birthdays and holidays – and usually shared (one bottle amongst several of us sisters). My father kept a large nail in the glove compartment of our car – not for car emergencies, but for special thirst emergencies. On long trips in the summer time, when he pulled into a gas station to tank up, my younger sisters and I would hold our breaths in anticipation, not daring to ask, but oh-so-fervently-hoping that he would zip into the station to return with a dripping Orange Crush bottle he’d pulled out of the ice-filled cooler.
Giggles of anticipation accompanied his ritual of placing the nail-tip on the top of the metal bottle cap, giving it a sharp whack with his hand, or a tool (or even a big rock) if he had one handy, and handing us the bottle of orange ambrosia, with a perfect drip-less hole in the top. That was his clever pre-sippee cup adaptation. All was quiet in the back seat as we passed the bottle back and forth, rationing the sips and making the pop last as long as possible, until the last warmed-from-our-hands and fizz-less drops were drained from the bottle.
Smart guy. That one bottle kept us as quiet as the built-in movie screen on the seatbacks do nowadays – and much cheaper, too.
I think that’s why I’ve always loved the zesty flavour of oranges, and in those years, if I got to choose a frozen treat – it was always a Creamsicle. The bright combination of citrusy orange pop and creamy vanilla ice cream transported me right back to those Orange Crush days.
In my teen years my love affair with orange continued. To get more of my fix, I made my own special version of a Creamsicle as an ice cream float – a big frosty glass beer mug filled with several scoops of vanilla ice cream, then topped up with pure unsweetened orange juice (usually made from frozen orange juice concentrate). I devoured a lot of those. That kind of orange juice float is so much better than a soda pop float, I think – less sweet and with much more real orange flavour.
This Cantaloupe Creamsicle Smoothie came about from those memories of Orange Crush in a nail-holed bottle, and my teenage orange-juice-float addiction, and an overabundance of sweet ripe cantaloupe on my counters one day this spring. The touch of cream cheese adds just the right amount of tang and creaminess. . . a fresh, velvety creamsicle in liquid form.
This smoothie has now become a much-requested favourite of my teenage son. Maybe some day it will be the taste he remembers with a fond smile . . .
Kitchen Frau Note: Next time you have a nice sweet cantaloupe (because we all know that sometimes we do get those flavourless duds!), quickly squirrel away half of it to cube and freeze, before anyone knows it’s missing. (Just tell them it must have been an awfully small cantaloupe.) Spread the cubes on a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet and freeze until firm. Remove the cubes and store them in a heavy duty freezer bag. If you make more than enough you can keep them in the freezer and have them ready to make a cantaloupe creamsicle smoothie whenever the urge strikes, or your family begs you for it.
I use frozen orange juice, reconstituted with water according to the directions, to make my smoothies, but freshly squeezed orange juice would, of course, be great.
If you need it a bit sweeter, add another drizzle of honey.
Cantaloupe Creamsicle Smoothie
- 3 cups frozen cantaloupe cubes (375 gms/13 oz.)
- 1½ cups (360ml) orange juice, plus a little more if necessary
- ¼ cup (65gms) cream cheese (¼ of a 250gm/8oz block)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place all ingredients in a blender and whirl until smooth.
If the mixture is too thick, add a drizzle more orange juice until it blends freely.
Makes 3 to 4 servings (about 4 cups).
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What are the treats you remember from your childhood?