Updated: Feb 9, 2021
Sarah and I are having lots of fun with our new creative outlet, Procrastin Farm. We take the name from my parents’ horse farm where I grew up in southern Illinois, but we don’t sell horses. Not yet, at least. We might sell the dog if he rolls in the dirt in the backyard again.
But one of the concoctions we are currently selling is St. Catherine’s Fire Cider. “Fire Cider” is a recent name for a type of traditional medicinal substance called oxymel, a mixture of honey and vinegar. It is of such antiquity that one even finds it described by Cato the Elder. However, I doubt Cato ever experienced a version quite like my wife Sarah’s, which also includes jalapeno, garlic, ginger, and lots of other zingers.
I’ll be the first to admit that was slow to get on the fire cider train. I never doubted its beneficial properties: I had seen all the ingredients Sarah had put into the jars at the beginning of the process. But I knew it would probably taste like evil, like most healthful things.
Yet desperation opens a man up to new possibilities in life. Two years ago, I came down with the flu. I didn’t cough much, but when I did it was so violent that I would wake up my wife and infant daughter. Even when I wasn’t coughing, my chest continued burning. My wife was convinced I had pneumonia, but I got her to agree to let me try to get one more night of rest before she carted me off to the hospital.
That night I adjourned myself to the couch in the hopes of not waking them, where I proceeded to cough myself awake every two hours. But every time I did, I took a shot of fire cider. By the morning, I had marked improvement. My cough had finally gotten productive and my chest had stopped burning. I had my energy back. I had turned the corner on the flu.
Long story short, it’s not a bad thing to have some of this fire cider on hand as we enter into cold and flu season. We’ve named our version of fire cider in honor of St. Catherine of Siena. Like our family business, St. Catherine was born during the outbreak of a plague. And like our cider, St. Catherine’s life was anything but bland. We hope you can come to have her on hand as well, as a friend and intercessor. --Alex