December 12, 2011
A Cup of Tea
I thought a cup of tea might be just the thing to let us pause and appreciate something small and ordinary. To write about tea, I must tell you about my mom, the tea drinker and tea pot collector. There are many things that she has taught or given to me that I could write about here but her love of tea and teapots must start this post today. Most meals and snacks at her expansive dining room table end with a pot of tea, usually spiced with cinnamon, never caffeinated. When all the chairs around the table are filled, an assortment of vessels, from delicate flowered teacups to mugs both rustic and mass produced, are pulled from the cupboard for the crowds around the table. There are usually two teapots making the rounds to keep each cup warm and full.
The everyday teapots on the are simple, sturdy and in frequent use. The rest of the collection looks down from a high shelf that extends all the way around the kitchen. I suspect that if she used a different one for each pot of tea, she could get through several months without having to use the same one twice (you should try it, Mom!). Flowered teapots, teapots shaped like chickens, rabbits, old fashioned sewing machines, houses, snowmen, a dragon, and teapots with polkadots, intricate designs, and bold colors.
Though I come from a serious tea drinking household, I'm not a proper tea drinker. I have two or three teapots and even a matching tea set, but I usually make tea one mug at a time. Most of the tea I drink isn't even technically tea. Much to my mother's dismay, I tend to leave the teabag or strainer in the cup while I drink it. Even if I don't pay attention to tea drinking etiquette I have come to really enjoy a warm cup when my apartment is chilly or my throat needs soothing. I don't always pause to just savor a relaxing cup of tea, but it makes a nice companion on many winter days.
I love loose leaf tea which I put in a strainer, avoiding the paper that comes from individually wrapped bags. Peppermint is one of my favorites, right now I am using dried leaves from the plant that was on my porch but I also buy it in bulk at the co-op. I try to drink nettle tea regularly as well. I learned about it from a brief class on herbs for health. It tastes green and grassy, but drinking it is good for overall health.
When I have a sore throat or feel a cold coming on I put some lemon juice, honey, and about a teaspoon of fresh chopped ginger into my mug and fill it with hot water. The honey dissolves and the ginger infuses the water with its spice. I find it very soothing for my throat and I like to think it helps to keep colds away.
I hope you can find a few minutes to enjoy a cup of tea or another small pleasure during this busy and chilly season.