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Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Tea

Several years ago, I would go to the Ritz Carlton in Atlanta and have afternoon tea with some friends.  Sadly, time gets away from us, work schedules change, and people move out of the area. so no tea for years.  That hasn't stopped me from having my morning or afternoon tea at home though.  Sandra is like a sister to me.  We both enjoy drinking our hot tea and chatting the afternoon away....... We are certainly overdue to have a day of talking, giggling, and sharing our joys and concerns of the moment.  There are about a handful of people that I could just sit and chat with all day.  You guys know who you are, because we've had chat marathons!!  Back to the discussion of tea.  When I went to England, I was with some classmates studying in Paris, and prior to that with my parents and brother.  None of those times did I have an official "high tea" or any other specialty tea. No, I just had a "cuppa" tea with my breakfast.  One day, I will venture to the United Kingdom and have a "real":proper tea.  Perhaps I can find some long lost relatives in Ireland.  Anyone know any "Coulters"?

I have been off of work for two weeks for Christmas break.  Being at the ER Christmas day with my dad, and helping him during his return home, has made me realize that I could easily get used to working from home (perhaps a writer?).  I especially enjoy the afternoon cooking meals that aren't so rushed.  Nonetheless, time has flown by and now I need a vacation to relax.  Why does stress and worry make one so tired?  After spending the day with him, doing chores, or taking care of Christmas cards and shopping, there is nothing I looked forward to more than a cup of tea.

Sandra (remember the top of the post?) and her husband went on a cruise in the Mediterranean. Oh, it sounded like a wonderful time.  Guess what she gave me for Christmas?  I opened the bag and saw a beautiful box, so elegant in black and gold........... TEA!! Tea from Provence.  Now, I've had many different kinds of tea, out of elegant bone china, Chinese tea cups, bowls, and mugs.  I've had loose tea where several strands of tea manage to sink to the bottom of my cup. Everyday, ordinary, tea bags that come in the box.  This tea, oh my, this tea was really something special.  Each individual tea bag was made of a cotton cloth. Each was tied individually with a little string wound around the top very precisely so that no tea could escape the hold.  I read all about the tea on the container.  I read the French first to keep up my rusty French from my days of study long ago.  I then read the English just to be sure...... Lavender and hints of rose and citrus.  I was thinking it would be too strong like a strong Earl Grey with bergamot, but it was simply delightful! I was instantly transported back to the time I visited Southern France, closing my eyes for a second, I could smell the fresh lavender coming through the huge open double windows of the hotel where I was staying.  Transported back to one of the most special times of my life; a traveling student seeing as much of Europe and France while trying to learn the French language.

It was probably the best green tea that I've ever had. Any tea that can take you out of your "hectic" day and take you thousands of miles away, is one that I will enjoy only when I can take the time to relax and enjoy it.  This tea will not see the travel mug, nor could I drink it out of a stoneware mug. .No, I will use one of my bone china cups that my next door neighbor brought me from her hometown of the Lakes District in England, or my fine wedding china from years ago.   French tea out of an English cup..... Let the friendship begin!!

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Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar