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A partial boba eclipse

The sky darkened, the temperature dropped, the birds and breeze stilled. Dusk in the countryside is beautiful, isn’t it? 

It was beautiful, and it was out in the country, but this time it wasn’t dusk — you can probably guess by now that I’m referencing the afternoon of the solar eclipse. I would have mentioned the shadows deepening or lengthening, but I’m not sure what they were actually doing; they were just changing. The cast of the light changed too, but again I’m not sure what descriptors to use. It’s like the sun “going down” in the middle of the day isn’t something we talk about often. 

It wasn’t eerie, per se, but for an hour or so things felt different. Although we here in the partial zone didn’t have full darkness and couldn’t see the moon’s shadow over the sun without intervention, even if I would have had neither eclipse glasses nor known what was going on, I would have definitely known something was going on. 

I had just started walking home with the kids when the sun was most shadowed here. We had been invited to a neighbors’ house for chili and eclipsing, an apposite pairing since I got distinctly chillier as the eclipse progressed. We sat outside around noon to chat and wait, taking peeks through our hostess’s telescope and quick glimpses through our funny special glasses, and for a while I could feel the sun burning the back of my winterized neck as the day warmed up. Gradually I realized that not only was I not too hot but that I was pining for a sweatshirt — it’s amazing what a little moonshade can do to an environment. How incredible that our solar system was designed so precisely that we can predict and witness something like this, and also that we’re not always having these “weird” events.

My parents were actually in the zone of totality in central Ohio, and while what we saw here was cool, what they experienced there sounded epic. A once in a lifetime event for them! Here in the States we’ve been talking about it so much, but did you know that total solar eclipses happen fairly regularly? As in, approximately every year and a half — but the path of totality just isn’t often over such a widely populated swath. 

Since everyone was talking about it, everyone had to be making special food for it, too. My SiL let me sample her black-ish Sonic eclipse slushie-float thing, my mom told me about her chocolate-disc-topped eclipse latte, and my email showed me a purple Vitamix eclipse smoothie bowl ringed with coconut shavings. Of course I was dreaming up various eclipse-esque dishes, but when I listened to a completely unrelated podcast about bubble tea, I knew I found it. A sunny partial-zone smoothie cup full of black tapioca-pearl moon shadows! My inspiration on bubble tea was clinched as I then made boba drinks with a friend who’d never had it, and out-of-the-blue was brought milk tea boba by another friend. Three days in a row of bubble tea showing up might happen to me even less than solar eclipses. 

Boba tea might be a new thing to you, but I encourage you to give it a try. The chewy “bubbles” might catch you off guard, so if they’re not your thing, try wearing your eclipse glasses. They won’t help, but might help you remember it’s an experience. 

Eclipsed by the Bubble Smoothie

The April 8 Great North American Eclipse also covered parts of Mexico, so the fruit in this sunny-colored smoothie are also a nod to the tropical produce available south of our border. You’ll notice I’m throwing around combinations of words, bubble and boba with smoothie and tea; they’re all different aspects of related ideas, but I’d need a whole other article to elucidate them better (perhaps you’ll see one in the future). Awkwardly upon already beginning to make our drinks, I realized the bubbles I had were kiwi-flavored popping boba and not the black-tea-cooked tapioca pearls I intended, but it was still tasty and perhaps a more appropriate color anyway for our partial zone of totality. A fat straw is definitely the best way to drink this — yes it is a smoothie with surprise chewy bits — but if you don’t have any, you can use a spoon to catch the bubbles. Benson just wanted to eat them all straight out of the container.

Prep tips: you can buy regular or popping boba, or you can also skip this whole recipe and buy a ready-made bubble tea! In Hutchinson, Sugartime Confections has a large flavor selection, and BHappy Pho & Boba is set to open the end of this month. 

1-2 mangos, cubed (peeled if desired)

2 cups cubed papaya

½ a pineapple, cubed

squeeze of lemon or lime juice

1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

ice cubes

1 cup boba pearls or popping bobas

Add all ingredients but boba to a blender and process until smooth; add sweetener if necessary. Divide boba among cups, and top with smoothie. 

Amanda Miller lives with her husband, two young children, and whoever else God brings them through foster care on the family dairy farm in Hutchinson. She enjoys doing some catering, teaching cooking classes, and freelancing, but mostly chasing after her kids. Reach her at