When did it begin, this unnatural fascination with a particular beverage? How deep does it run? Can he ever break free from its hold over him? I will answer these and other crucial questions as I explore the obsession that personifies Daniel today: The Arnold Palmer.
First, familiarize yourself with the object of his desire. An Arnold Palmer is a beverage made of half iced tea and half lemonade. Southerners might have a different name for it: summertime tea. I have a girlfriend that makes it for warm-weather girly get-togethers. I doubt she realizes it has this other famous pseudonym as it is named after the legendary golfer and is reportedly his favorite drink.
Although the beverage was created at the Cherry Creek Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, it is particularly popular in northern West Virginia, Central Ohio and western Pennsylvania, as well as the South, but is known throughout the United States. In Baltimore, it is known as “half and half”. In southern Ohio, particularly Portsmouth, Ohio, this beverage is known as a “Blend”. A purely cosmetic variation in which the drink is not mixed, causing the lemonade to settle on the bottom and the iced tea to float on the top, is known as an “Adam Palmer”. Also if you add a splash of grenadine it is called a “Bryan Palmer”. You can also buy it by the bottle, sold by the Arizona Beverage Company. (source: wikipedia)
ArnoldPalmerTee.com reports on their website that fans will soon be able to buy a 1-gallon ready-to-drink refrigerator size bottled Arnold Palmer in addition to the 16-counce, 23.5-ounce and half-gallon sizes.
Now that you know the “what”, let’s take a look at the birth of the obsession.
It began sometime in June 2008.The first mention of the drink came in Daniel’s review of Sabatino Brothers, posted on June 25, 2008. He states “Finally, you can make yourself an Arnold Palmer. An Arnold Palmer is half iced tea and half lemonade, and is very refreshing.” Little did we know we’d be hearing a whole lot more about that beverage in the months to come.
I remember that day, not like it was yesterday, but my memory of it is pretty clear because I really liked their skinny homemade fries. Daniel told us all about his drink as we devoured our lunch. He said he was trying to single-handedly revive its popularity. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy his drink and went back for a refill.
Since that time, Daniel has mentioned the drink in two other reviews, Swiftwater and Gumbo’s. That is not to say those are the only times he’s ordered it. Oh, no my friends. He orders it practically everywhere we go. The words “Arnold Palmer half iced tea half lemonade” flow out of his mouth followed immediately by eye rolls from Misty & me. And he says it just like that. As if the recipe was part of the official name of the drink.
Assuming he’s the only person in the greater Kanawha Valley area who knows what it is got him into a little trouble at Murad’s, as I reported in my recent General Complaining piece on the restaurant. I wrote, in part:
“When she [our server] came back to take the drink orders, she immediately began cutting on Daniel and the Arnold Palmer that he insists on ordering EVERYWHERE. He said he wanted an Arnold Palmer and followed that statement with the description of the drink in the same breath. Our server made sure to tell Daniel that she not only knew what it was and how to make it, she makes it better than anyone else. She explained the drink construction when she brought it back to him and pointed out the lemon wedge on the rim of the plastic cup.”
Daniel said later that she made him “feel like a retard”, schooling him on his favorite drink.
Our server told us that to make it properly; you have to add tea, then lemonade, then more tea, which should float on top of the lemonade layer. Given what we learned from Wikipedia just a few moments ago, I think she concocted an “Adam Palmer”, not an Arnold Palmer. Who’s schoolin’ who??
In an exclusive interview with The Vegetarian Wife, Fork You discovers intimate details about Daniel’s food-fixation from the one person who knows him best.
Fork You: What is your earliest memory of Daniel’s fascination with the Arnold Palmer?
Vegetarian Wife: This is a relatively new fascination. I have to say that this one crept up on me.
Fork You: Is he a golf fan?
Vegetarian Wife: No. The only sport he likes is Nascar. Oh- wait- is poker considered a sport too?
Fork You: Does he ask you to make Arnold Palmers at home?
Vegetarian Wife: No. Either he knows I’d say NO or he is confident that I couldn’t do it to suit his sophisticated palate.
Fork You: Does he try to force them on your children?
Vegetarian Wife: You know, he rarely orders them in front of me– or the children. Evidently, I tease harder than you do.
Fork You: How many Arnold Palmers do you think Daniel consumes in an average week?
Vegetarian Wife: However many he consumes with you plus maybe he sneaks in one on the sly in the Man Cave downstairs.
Fork You: Can you tell us about any other food obsessions he has at the present time?
Vegetarian Wife: Well, sushi is always hovering at the cusp. And, as a matter of fact, I do feel a new one coming on. The other day, I violated my Vegetarian Home Policy and purchased some bacon for him when I got some Fake-n for myself. After his second BLT in two days, he got a misty look in his eye and announced, “you know……. I think that the BLT is really the perfect sandwich.” So… Consider yourself warned.
Fork You: Do you worry that he might have an addictive personality?
Vegetarian Wife: We do not yet have a definitive diagnosis.
Fork You: Has his fixation on the Arnold Palmer caused marital problems?
Vegetarian Wife: Arnold Palmer is the least of our worries.
Fork You: Are you and the children apprehensive about eating out with Daniel, for fear he will again order an Arnold Palmer?
Vegetarian Wife: No, we kind of enjoy watching him explain what they are to nineteen year old servers.
Fork You: Have you considered an intervention?
Vegetarian Wife: I have long since learned that interventions are a waste of time. Instead, I follow the time-honored strategy passed down to our mothers from their mothers and their mothers before them. Each time I hear him say, “Well, you have iced tea and you have lemonade, so……..” I smile at my husband and think to myself, simply, that this too, shall pass.
Daniel loves this drink so much; he even orders it in restaurants with language barriers…where you should not try to ask for anything out of the ordinary. You know, those places where after you speak, you get a smile and a nod with the pleasant, blank look? Remember this account from my report on the re-opening of the China Buffet?
“Daniel, momentarily allowing his obsession with his newfound beverage of choice to cloud his mind, orders a non-standard drink: half lemonade and half sweet tea, the formula for an Arnold Palmer. Our server smiled and nodded and we thought there is no way he is getting what he thinks he ordered.”
Only because they are a five-fork establishment, they were able to deliver not one, but two perfectly mixed Arnold Palmers to Daniel. I wouldn’t recommend trying that at home. It was one of his most joyous lunches to date.
What do co-workers think of his obsession? Here are reactions from the street:
Misty says: ”I thought for sure he’d be over that by the time I came back from my maternity leave.”
Terry states: “I look for Mr. Hollywood to start ordering Shirley Temples next. I’m sure he is in a quandary now whether to preface the Arnold Palmer by describing it first to waiters. I am so much savvier than Daniel that I simply call them AP’s. I remember when I was a kid and ordered “round the worlds.” You made them by mixing Coke, Dr. Pepper, 7-Up, Mt. Dew and anything else you could find. I outgrew it though.”
Ron says: ”After listening to this Arnold Palmer nonsense, I’m glad I do not eat with them often.”
Although we have unraveled many mysteries today surrounding the enigmatic eating patterns of Daniel, burning questions remain: how much longer will he remain under the hold of the Arnold Palmer? And furthermore, what will become his next obsession? Stay tuned to find out…
Post Script: Did the Vegetarian Wife say Daniel was into… NASCAR?