Its the Elderflower season, and a family tradition is that I make a batch of cordial from the flowers. See last years post on this for the recipe.
But this year, it nearly didn't happen through difficulty in obtaining the essential ingredient of citric acid. It has long been the case that in England, you buy citric acid from a chemist shop (drug store). But this year the first two shops I tried said that they didn't have any and looked at me as if I was asking for heroin.
Finally at the third shop, the assistant said they were only allowed to keep three packets in stock, but they had sold out and would be getting some more the next day. The next day I went back and sure enough, they were willing to sell me two packets. But she actually held them up for the pharmacists permission before she would sell them to me, in the same way as if you are buying pain killers.
Surprised, I asked why there was all this fuss over a harmless home cooking ingredient and the reply was that apparently people use it to make crack cocaine injectable rather than smokeable and furthermore they were under instructions to notify the police if anyone tried to buy a lot.
So, if you go into a chemist shop and ask for citric acid and they look at you as if you were a drug addict, then thats because they think you are a drug addict.
Ho, hum what a complicated world we live in.
Incidentally, a GOOD thing to mix citric acid with is sugar, just put a tiny bit in with some sugar to make your own Sherbert. Yummy, and a bit addictive, but in a harmless way.