Wednesday, April 9, 2014

stuff of life: some tea with me

i didn't grow up around my grandparents too much, so i don't have many of those memories that start with "my grandmother always..." or "my grandfather loved to..."--i just don't have them. but if i were to guess, they were coffee fans. i'm almost sure of it.

my mom was the tea drinker and if memory serves me well, it was her grandmother who also was a tea drinker. it's all very murky in my mind because i never paid much attention to things like tea and traditions when i probably should have been.

 a big box of red rose tea sat in my aunt dee's pantry when i visited her this fall. i think she drinks tea when she's not drinking coffee. half her house is decorated with those adorable little collectable figurines red rose gives away. i took so many pictures of the funny places she displays them because it gave her house such a magical feel. aunt pam? i'm not sure. coffee? tea? i'm going to ask her next time i talk to her....maybe it's a genetic thing and all larsen descendents know their way around a tea pot.

my mom is funny about tea. it's always a black tea (even decaf if the hour was late) and always half and half. sugar was rare for her and more than once in my adult life, she's raised an eyebrow at me for sugaring up my own tea. we also disagree on earl grey. i love it. she loathes bergamot. she loves a good irish breakfast tea.

i didn't drink much tea in my 20s. as far as i'm concerned, done correctly, your 20s are best reserved for other types of beverages that we spend the rest of our lives healing from.

it wasn't until i moved to alaska in 2005 and i met my best friend fawn (if you're reading, hi fawn! i miss you!), that i rediscovered tea.

she's fearless with tea. herbal, blend, decaf, black, red, white, orange. there isn't a cup of tea that girl won't try and my favorite favorite memories of friendship (any type of friendship) involve her kitchen table, a house full of toddlers, and tea.

and her, obviously.

i also think about my alaska friend cindy when i wax poetic about tea. we started a random tea conversation back in the hdr office a few years ago and she gave me a bit of a chuckle when i asked her if she "drank tea." she slid open a desk drawer to reveal the sickest stash of loose leaf teas i've ever seen. to this day.


these days, tea is a constant. i love black tea with creamer AND sugar (sorry mom!).

 i dig the wacky blended Yogi teas that promise to detox my liver and enlighten my mind. i love love LOVE bags of chai tea something fierce. i'll drink a nice chamomile honey. i'll pour you a cup of raspberry zinger.

trust me, i've hoarded them all like gollum and that ring. they're my preciouses...

i never paid much attention to tea cups versus mugs. i'd microwave water in a crappy mug and toss a bag in, often forgetting it and having to repeat the process.

lately, though, i've been paying more attention.

giving the process more respect.

i pull out a small teapot and warm it with plain hot water while the awesome electric kettle my mom got me (thank you , mom!) warms the tea water. i use two or three tea bags in the pot and i let it steep like i'm supposed to. i pour the brewed tea into a cup with a saucer and i take my time to sit at the table and drink it. nothing more. no computer browsing, no clearing the dishwasher. just sitting. and drinking. magic.

a few years back, i came across a couple recipes for hong kong milk tea.

 it's also called pantyhose tea, but i don't call it that because i don't want to imagine drinking tea that was passed through somebody's pantyhose.

it's a simple recipe. i drink it when i'm writing. it's a ritual of mine now.

my simplified version goes something like this: boil black tea leaves. add evaporated milk and sugar.

voila.  hk milk tea.

albert yang explains it better in his video: how to make hong kong milk tea.

you should watch it and let me know how much you love it.

here's a tangential tea story for you...

my favorite youtuber recently passed away. sad. have you ever heard of the internet grandad? shame if you haven't.

i always loved watching peter's videos.

whether he was talking about geriatric cooking (his microwave bangers and mash looks fantastic), the loneliness of being a widower, or serving in the british army during wwii, he was such a charming, lovely man.

he passed away march 23 and i'm so sad.

silly, isn't it?

a man thousands of miles away who wouldn't know me from anyone else on the street and he'd made such an impression on me that the news of his death last week left me a little bit empty.

anyway, his was the first youtube video about making the perfect cup of english tea that i ever watched.

you really should watch it, too: making an english cup of tea. raise a tea cup in his honor if you happen to drink some today. lovely man.

etsy fan? you should search "tea" and see what freaking cool wallet zappers you find. a few examples:

from the sweet little tea things i love, above:

1. Dachsund & Gnome Tea Towel (VivaSweetLove)
2. Tea Pot Shaped Pink Sugar Cubes (WishingWellArts)
3. Some Like It Hot Hand-Stamped Spoon (Milk and Honey Luxuries)
4. Loose Leaf Thai Tea 2 Ounces (BlueLadyTeaShop)

i wish we closer, you and i.

i'd totally have you over for tea. and biscuits...which are really cookies. did you know they were the same thing?

peter taught me that.

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1 comment:

  1. Awe... this was so sweet. Now I'm so sad that I didn't know about Peter. I'm sure I would have loved him so very much. (and I love tea as well!)