Category Archives: Uncategorized

One Lump or Two? (In your tea, that is…)

So, while I’m not very adept at cooking, I am quite a tea fancier… and I found myself totally captivated by a coffee table book on the subject of Tea recently.  It was a wonderful reminder of the great tea traditions and origins of my favorite drink. So, while I can’t share much cooking knowledge, I thought I could share a bit about tea…

Origins of Tea

Knowledge of tea dates back to almost 5,000 years ago in the Chinese and Tibetan area. Legend says water had just been boiled when a few tea leaves blew into the drink of Emperor Shennong, changing the color. He braved a sip, being pleasantly surprised with its sweet taste. He later championed tea for its restorative properties. Tea quickly grew to other countries, but remained exclusive to the Far East until Marco Polo brought back this commodity along with silk and other goods. Of course, the growing of tea plants remained fairly secret until the British plied this information via the opium trade.

Popular Teas

All teas come from the same type of tea tree, the Camellia sinensis; however, the climate, soil, and watering all have an influence on the quality of the tea leaf. It is then the processing of this tea leaf that determines whether it is black, green, white, oolong, or other.

Black: Black tea comes from tea leaves being processed to stop the oxidation process, and then heated once again to preserve the flavor. Black tea usually has more caffeine than the other varieties, but its flavor is usually bolder and lasts longer.

My Favorites: Any of the Assam teas (from Northern India) and Lapsang Souchong (dried over pine bark for a smokey flavor…not for the faint of heart!).

Assam Tea Gardens in Northern India

Green: Green tea leaves are leaves that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. They contain less caffeine and boast several health benefits.

My Favorites: Gyokuru (grown in the shade to increase the chlorophyll) and Matcha (a powdered green tea, often used to flavor ice cream).

Traditional whole leaf green tea serving

White: White tea comes from the tips of leaves before they open…often still safely inside the felt-covered buds. Because of this, white teas are very mild and sweet in taste.

My Favorites: Silver Needle (from the Fujian Province and best when harvested between March 1 and April 1) and Ceylon White (from Sri Lanka).

 

 

Silver Needle white tea

 

Oolong: Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea that is processed somewhere between a black and green tea. These teas are often rolled into long curly strands or into small balls known as “gunpowder” tea.

My Favorites: Four Great Bushes and Pouchong (a light floral aroma).

Oolong tea rolled into curls

There are other types of teas: yellow, blends, infused, Pu-erh, etc. But, with a general knowledge of black, green, white, and oolong, you can start experimenting to see what type you find desirable.

For my Orlando readers, here are a few tea houses to try:  Infusion Tea in College Park and Dandelion Communitea Café in Little Vietnam.

Stand and Be Heard! (Divas unite!)

So, a friend of mine casually asked why I’ve decided to start this blog…  at first my response was, “You’re kidding, right?  Isn’t it obvious?”  

But as I lay in bed later that night, I viewed her question introspectively…just why am I blogging about this?  Aren’t there enough Mommy Bloggers out there?  There are certainly enough health & fitness ladies chatting away about their granola recipes and organic ingredients, and I know there are enough Foodies out there to feed the world. So what could I possibly have to offer and just why would I want to offer it in the first place? 

Well, based on my response on Facebook, I think I may have found an underrepresented demographic…Sure, there are plenty of Martha Stewart wannabees, but don’t most working women, deep down, really resent  those Polly Perfects with their ironed-with-a-spritz-of-lavender garments and their prize-winning cutie-pie cupcakes?  And, sure some of us may watch the cooking show, but how many of us actually have time (or the desire) to spend hours driving around from Whole Foods and Fresh Market to our local farmer’s market to hunt down all those ingredients before getting every dish in the kitchen dirty and piled high trying to prepare it?  

I don’t know about you, but somehow LIFE just doesn’t work that way for me!  

Time Factor (Or lack thereof) 

I work fulltime and then have a kid and husband to tend to…hell, there are plenty of days when I feel like telling them to figure out dinner for themselves that I am just TOO TIRED!  And once the weekend comes, I don’t want to spend much of it vacuuming, dusting, doing windows or scrubbing toilets.  Do you? 

Low Libido 

Not the sexual kind, but rather the domestic kind.  I think the powers-that-be robbed me of this a long time ago…not sure I was even born with this gene. My mother never learned to cook–ate out at Morrison’s Cafeteria most days, where the long-time waiting staff knew her family by name.  Her mother never learned to cook either, so truly the women in my family lack this trait honestly.  So, if I never had the pleasurable experience of stirring a pot of pudding while my mother lovingly pats my head, then I probably am not going to start stirring any pots now that I’m an adult. 

Damned Domestic Deities 

Yeah, this will cause me to get religion real quick: The firm belief that there are actual Damned Domestic Dieties (I call them the Triple D’s–it will be our dirty little secret!) and they are actually plotting against any effort I make to domesticate myself.  Not that it happens often, but on the occasional blue moon when I do try something in the kitchen, some bizarre accident or quirk of fate provides proof there is underhanded mischief afoot in my house. (My attempts at domestication do not happen often, just when my husband complains we’re eating out too much but yet I am still craving Chilean Sea Bass!  See pictures below during a recent episode.) 

3rd attempt at Sea Bass...

Yep, that's the trash where the Sea Bass ended up after tasting...

So, combine a lack of time with a low desire to domesticate myself and add in the mystical forces of the universal working against me, and you have your basic Undomesticated Diva. 

But, guess what?  There are a whole bunch of us out there…so perhaps this is a call for us to unite, be counted, and make our voices be heard!  Not sure what we want to say just yet….except that maybe it’s okay to NOT want to be a Martha Stewart wannabe, to not have ever watched Celebrity Chef or to not be able to name the channel that carries Better Homes & Garden.  It’s okay to despise doing laundry and to not even own a mop…  we’re still good people, right? 

So, Undomesticated Divas, let’s stand and be heard! Shout our mantra to the sky: “We can’t cook and hate to clean!” 

And then look yourself in the mirror and smile…because delivery is on the way!