“Fight your shame.
Throw out your pride and learn all you can from others.
This is the basis of a successful life.”
Sen no Ryku, Grand Master, The Way of Tea
I attended a tea tasting a couple of Saturdays ago…
And, although I have been drinking tea for a good 30 years, I still loved it. I learned even more from the Tea Gallerie’s owner, Maria, who talked us through tastings of 10 different teas, many with names new to me: Golden Monkey, Garden of Eden, Scottish Caramel Pu-erh.
LDEI provided scrumptious egg salad and cucumber sandwiches, buttery shortbread, delicious scones and cream – all hardly bigger than a bite (so easy to lose count of how many I ate): the best English tea I’ve had since I left the UK.
The term “tea” covers such a range of beverages – from white to green to black (all from the same tree, but aged and processed differently) to others more properly called infusions, like peppermint.
The tastings that day changed my morning tea. Instead of English tea with milk, I’m now drinking a black tea (Scottish Caramel Pu-erh) black, with nothing added. I use less than a teaspoon of the long leaves, let the water cool down a little from boiling, and steep for only a couple of minutes. It’s clearing and calming, an anchor to sitting down each morning to write. Besides, the testimonial of one advocate said that after drinking this tea for three months, his cholesterol count had dropped 100 points.
Even my doctor has suggested I stay with drinking a cup or two a day for the antioxidant benefits. But, like with everything else, I have to like the taste, too.
Chai Spices Almond Cookies
I’m hooked on the complex flavor range of Indian spices used in chai tea latté. Last March, I developed a recipe for cookies flavored with chai spices, made with gram (chickpea flour) and almond meal, to serve at a public meeting of the Culinary Historians of San Diego (CHSD). The speaker, Prem Souri Kishore, is the author of India, A Culinary Journey, and she had wonderful tales and photographs about the food and customs of her native India.
I wanted to serve something that reflected this heritage, but was closer to a Western cookie than some of the more traditional Indian sweets. My husband Mark claims Chai Spices Almond Cookies as his favorite now. And, they are even gluten-free.
Other Tea Tales
For other tales of tea, see: