Like the day I realized that eggnog is just melted ice cream.
Or the day I realized that the only reason I didn't like pickles on my hamburger was because my mother doesn't like pickles on her hamburger. That day, I experienced liberation in the form of shriveled cucumbers.
This is a story of another way that cucumbers have changed my life for the better. When I think of flavoring water, I think of lemon. I remember being at Grace's with my family, joking about the person whose water glass had an actual wedge of lemon in it was the "winner". Most restaurants use lemon more to cover up the icky aftertaste of tap water than for aesthetic purposes.
Go to the beverage aisle of any grocery store, and you're inundated with waters which have been flavored, both naturally and unnaturally. Cherry, strawberry, orange, lime, grape, raspberry, mango.
It was there, surrounded by comfy robe-clad women in slippers and the quiet sounds of relaxing piano music, that I was introduced to the crisp wonder that is Cucumber Water. As I sat in the waiting room and basked in the afterglow of my thirty minute back massage followed by thirty minutes of reflexology, I saw two pitchers: lemon water and cucumber water. Maybe it was the intense relaxation. Maybe it was the music. Maybe it was because I was pretending to be a rich and cultured woman, one who has drunk exotic things like cucumber water her whole life; I went for the pitcher with the floating green rings in it.
Crisp. Light. Refreshing. Invigorating. Clean. From a freakin' cucumber.
As soon as I tasted it, I knew I wanted to make it. I Googled "cucumber water" and the first link was to a Martha Stewart recipe. I followed it faithfully, and the result was magical, but not as good as the spa water. I decided to try again, my way. Instead of carefully peeling strips and creating a lovely alternating-band of green look, I just peeled the whole thing. Instead of slicing it down the middle and delicately removing the seeds, then chopping it into equally-sized chunks, I just hacked. I dumped the cucumber in the water and let it steep, not for Martha's recommendation of one hour, but for…well, it's still steeping.
Cucumbers are 95% water. It makes sense that they'd go so well together.
This is a great summertime beverage; I encourage you to experiment with it yourself. I'm not going to give you a recipe. Just feel it. Play around with the cucumber-water ratio. Try leaving some of the peel on. All of the peel on. None of the peel on. Try other fruits and vegetables in your water.
Just keep drinking.