Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ode to Tea

Is there another drink - or another food - that is a soothing, welcoming, warming or comforting as tea? I have yet to find one, and frankly, I am not actively searching for one.

When I am blue, hot tea cheers me. When I am upset, it calms my nerves. When I am hungry, hot tea with Splenda TM keeps me from snacking.

When I ache, a cup of hot tea soothes me. Somehow, it braces me when I am tired and yet is a calming influence before bed.

Yes, like most Americans, I enjoy iced tea, but I use it as a hydrator - it quenches thirst and is tasty, but it is not the mood enhancer that the hot version seems to be.

My tastes trend toward black teas - darjeeling, oolong, orange pekoe - and almost never include green tea. Give me a cup of Earl Grey, with its floral aromas, or either English or Irish breakfast tea, strong and sweet.

Lately I have come to enjoy chai (of course, with Splenda and skim milk), even though spiced teas have never been attractive to me.

I like some herbal teas as well - rose hips, lemon and lemon grass, for instance. But hold the chamomille and the peppermint - smells like grass to me.

Ahhh! Here's a cup of darjeeling, lightly sweet, in a hand-painted ceramic mug (I know, because I painted it). I can feel tension draining away and a smile returning to my face. There's a pot of homemade beef vegetable soup simmering on the stove, snow is lightly falling and there is still a hint of daylight at 5:15 on a January evening. Hard to imagine a life any better than this.

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