Thursday, April 06, 2006

old school tea


K, I admit it. Tea is a fad. Tea became a fad when we began drinking grande Tazo Chai Tea lattes out of paper cups.

But before the Body Shop sold tea tree oil facial wash, before we ordered our green tea purple with slimy gelatinous balls, and before yerba mate debuted as the new coffee for tree-huggers and hipsters alike, my mom was brewing lemon tea.

Her recipe: "Lots of lemon, lots of honey." The kettle was on the stove the moment I mentioned any kind of tickle in my throat.

I've always associated tea with having a certain healing power. Thus, when I started feeling a bit funny last week, I resisted my regular morning espresso and regrettably reached for our selection of non-caffeinated, herbal teas at work. As per usual, I began with chamomile and, as needed, moved on to the others with progressively greater virus-killing effects, sometimes indicated by the word "Zinger". I don't believe in cold medicine.

I knew things weren't getting better, however, as the frequency of my hot water runs increased and the tissues on my desk grew scarce. But I remained hopeful - on Sunday, my friends and I had reservations for the ultimate tea experience - High Tea at the Boston Harbor Hotel. If anything could beat this cold, it was three pots of mint tea, augmented by the curative effects of smoked salmon and caviar sandwiches, petite blueberry tarts, and flaky drop scones with miniature chocolate shavings.

Afternoon Tea was, indeed, exquisite. The dainty sampling of food, poised on three tiers of plates, did not disappoint. I enjoyed everything thoroughly...the orange-and-yellow rose petals scattered on our table, the sweeping view of the harbor, the overwhelming maturity and female-ness of the entire experience (quite different from our late-nights eating slices of Tommy's in the past)...but woke up the next day feeling sicker than ever.

After sulking through another day in bed, I gave in and drove myself back to my parents' home. Soon, I was cradling a mug of that steaming elixir - made with lots of lemon, lots of honey, and two thick slices of ginger. (How lucky to have my mom nearby!) I leaned my face in, breathed in the vapors, and felt my head finally begin to clear.

TIER 1 ...the quick breads

TIER 2...the sandwiches

TIER 3...the sweets


starbender said...

Mmmmm, I luv tea. I will take it over coffee Any Day!

Helen said...

Thank you so much for the tips on the tea at Boston Harbor Hotel! I'll have to check it out.

Helen said...

Hi Genevieve,

It's me again.

I'm not sure if you're interested or if you have the time, but if you are, I've tagged you for a cookbook MEME.

The details are here:

Can't wait to read your answers!


Stakhanovite said...

hiya - just found your blog from Helen's tag link, and really enjoyed browsing.
My grandmother also used tea as medicine - but it was black tea with raspberry jam. Don't know if it had any germ-fighting powers, but it certainly made being sick not quite so bad =)

Genevieve said...

Hi Helen! I'd love to do a MeMe...but it might have to wait till tomorrow (are there deadlines?) - i will check it out then. Sounds fun.

fooDcrazEE said...

old school tea ? what abt new school ? chuckle..

Great stuff eh ? love scones with cinnamon cream..

Stevi said...

i love tea, especially jasmine. i think there is a time for coffee and there's a time for tea. one doesn't replace the other.

Anonymous said...

What's the recipe for your mother's tea?

joy said...

i love afternoon tea! it's fun to make at home too... yours looked like a pretty intense afternoon tea, though -- so much yummy-looking food!

Black Tea said...

Come on: tea is not a fad !

It's a vivid tradition that will still last for long !