This is a story about Luta, Clank and a pitcher of margaritas.
You all remember Luta. She graces this space often on account of her kindness, warmth, outrageousness and ridiculousness. Luta looms large in the annals (and the kitchen) of my childhood. She is a force. But there is another force, one whom you haven't yet met. Her name was Clank. Well, actually, her name was Rosemary, but to us, she was always Clank. (The story of that nickname, like most nickname-origin stories, is not nearly as funny or endearing to those who weren't there at its inception. So I shall spare you.) Clank was a lot like Luta, but she didn't live in Texas. She was right here in my small Ohio town.
Clank was the records clerk at the school where Mom used to work. The two of them became fast friends and it wasn't long before Clank was a member of our family. She lived across town with her mother, Mary, who lived past the age of 100 and credited her longevity, among other things, to Jack Daniels in moderation. Like Luta, Clank was a surrogate grandmother to me. Always looking out for me, teaching me well, being my friend and making me laugh. "Hot dog ol' Rose," I can still hear her say, her self-referential way of expressing surprise or joy. She was real, and honest, and no-nonsense, and smart, and trouble-making. She passed away a few years ago and not a day goes by that I don't miss her.
Anyway. I am here to write about margaritas. So let me get on with it already.
Back in the day Mom used to invite her school friends over to the house on Thursdays for happy hour. On one of those Thursdays, Luta was in town from Texas for a visit. Mom arrived home after school with Clank in tow, but had to leave right away to take me somewhere or pick me up from something. "Clank, this is Luta. Luta, Clank. I'll be back soon." If there were ever two women on the face of the earth who could feel at home with anyone, regardless of the situation, it was Luta and Clank. They were old friends before Mom had both feet out the door.
Mom arrived home a half hour later to a kitchen smelling of lime and filled with laughter. Luta had made a pitcher of her margaritas. Clank and Luta would have been fast friends regardless but I'm telling you, the tequila didn't hurt. Clank needed a stiff cup of coffee before heading home that night and might have joked about having to stop and take a nap on the way.
Tonight Mom and Sister came over for some of Luta's margaritas to start the long Memorial Day weekend in style. With fondness and cheer and no small measure of nostalgia, we raised our salted rims to Luta and Clank.
Luta Roberts' recipe
This recipe halves easily.
4 c. crushed ice
1 1/2 c. tequila
2/3 c. freshly-squeezed lime juice (about 5 limes' worth)
3 T. Cointreau or triple sec
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 egg white (pasteurized is best)
Lime slices, to garnish
Kosher salt, for glasses
Rim glasses with lime juice then in a shallow dish of kosher salt. Set aside (or put in the freezer).
Combine the ice, tequila, lime juice, Cointreau/triple sec, powdered sugar and egg white in a blender. Blend until frothy and serve in the prepared glasses. Garnish with a few slices of lime.