Years ago, before the dawn of Roxy, I created a fake restaurant called The Minty Finger.
This fine establishment’s menu featured—and continues to feature, for The Minty Finger hasn’t gone anywhere—food combinations for the strange. Not gross food. Not bizarre kid-mouth food. Not culturally extreme food. Just slightly odd food. I think it all started with Jon and me thinking aloud about off-trend food pairings after spotting something weird on a restaurant’s menu. Thus was born grape cappuccino, cream cheese mints, and cutlet-wrapped pasta ball.
After that first night of inspiration, Jon and I would spend our waiting time at actual, legitimate restaurants adding items to this fake menu. We’d crack ourselves up in the process and forget how hungry we were (we were always ravenous by the time we made it to a restaurant).
A few weeks ago, as I paged through Super Smoothies, I had a Minty Finger flashback. The recipe to blame: Constant Cravings. Ignoring the ridiculous name, I noticed a surprising item in the ingredient list: a diced apple.
Had I ever drunk an apple smoothie?
Apple juice is often a good liquid base for a smoothie. But I’d never actually put a chopped up pomme into the blender with all that jus. What would it be like? And…how Minty Finger a thought!
I decided I had to make Constant Cravings.
Mind you, the name alone triggered my gag reflex. Wasn’t “Constant Craving” a kd lang song from the early ‘90s? Or a bad rom-com about rival dieticians who fall head over heels? Either way, it made me think of that stale stereotype—the helpless, hapless woman in the face of incalculable food temptations: chocolate, cheesecake, poutine. The recipe’s patronizing introduction doesn’t help. “When you just can’t go another minute without something creamy and sweet, this delicious and rich-tasting smoothie will satisfy without the calories and fat that can do you in.”
Do me in?
Three AP classes, plus Ancient Greek at a local college while singing in the high school musical when I was 17 did me in. Competing in a mud run and then driving myself home, bruised, with grit in every crevice of my person, did me in. Giving birth after umpteen hours of labor did me in.
Nibbling on a creamy, sweet snack—heck, taking two—did not, nor cannot, do me or any other woman in. It’s this kind of prissy, calorie obsessed finger-wagging—“Ladies! Your figures!”—that makes me want to pelt someone with a cutlet-wrapped pasta ball.
It was a Saturday morning when I decided I ‘couldn’t go another minute’ without making Constant Cravings. I pulled out of the fridge an apple, some vanilla yogurt, apple juice and, from the freezer, a frozen banana. That’s one of the convenient aspects of Constant Cravings; many smoothie chefs probably have the ingredients on hand.
To start, I dumped ¾ cup of the yogurt into my sturdy blender with ¾ cup diced apple. I decided to peel the apple after my unfortunate experience with the red pepper in Beta Boost. My blender did not like this low-liquid combination and screamed and froze in place impressively each time I punched Puree. It took many a scrape and prod with a plastic spatula (yes, while the blender was off) to get the apple and yogurt even remotely combined.
Next I poured in ½ cup apple juice. The recipe suggests making it into ice cubes and then crushing it—which would’ve delayed breakfast by an order of magnitude—so I totally ignored those instructions. I added half a frozen banana, sliced, and sprinkled in a pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg (cardamom is another option). This the Osterizer whipped, chopped, grated and ground until smooth.
The results: I could barely taste the smoothie so anxious was I to down those creamy, sweet calories demanded by my hormone-hijacked womanhood.
Constant Cravings was fine in that unremarkable way chain restaurant food is fine (if you’re not paying close attention, or have been subsisting on freeze-dried REI meals in the wilderness for a week). The flavor was apple-banana ordinary with a slight holiday spice finish (without those little cinnamon-nutmeg notes, the drink would’ve veered dangerously into Baby-Food Land). Drinking the smoothie met a few needs (hunger/thirst, curiosity, what to do with the remaining apple juice in the fridge). And Jon drank it, although he described it as “kind of strange, and definitely not worth the effort to make apple juice ice cubes.”
I recommend skipping this drink entirely—and maybe trying the Virility Vibe in the “For the Fellows” chapter instead. With its banana, vanilla yogurt and salted peanuts, it sounds way more interesting.
But then again, so does the grape cappuccino.