I don't remember if food tasted so vivid and often so very enjoyable to me,
years ago... some things fade, but today again I was struck at lunch and dinner
at how much I enjoy culinary things, even those things that appear simple,
like the perfectly toasted Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin with
Natural Peanut Butter or salad with ginger dressing,
or a sweet clementine, juicy and perfectly ripe,
or a few grapefruit slices with contrasting kiwi slices...
(note: I am hoping to make this grapefruit pound cake soon)...
I am not sure when or how I started loving tea,
I am sure my friend M. was a big influence; I remember having flavoured
teas from celestial seasonings back when I was a young 20's something undergrad.
Actually, when I was 21, I remember how I drank lots of tea, I think I had some
sort of plastic tea mug even, for it; but then my spiritual mother
at the Bible Camp I worked at died.
I did not drink tea for months I think, and instead drank cup after cup of hot
chocolate, I am sure the cheap powered kind that you add hot water too.
It was because Aunt E. (as we all called her, that is the Aunt part) had given me a
warm mug of hot chocolate when I came to help her in May the summer before,
as I figured she needed the help, with the cancer treatments she was having.
I can still remember that mug of hot chocolate; it's hard to describe, it was a nice
chocolate that was not overly dark, in terms of chocolate, but somehow has this
memory of grains melted, as if it was somehow malty like a perfect
hot milk shake, not that this makes perfect sense, but it is hard to
describe that mug of hot chocolate, how comforting it was then, and how having hot chocolate
comforted me so much in the months after her death,
a death that left me so confused, so lost and with such a strong sense of absence of her;
I remember going to my mailbox on campus, always hoping for a letter from her;
I remember how it felt that my Mother had died,
even though I called my Mother to tell her that Aunt E. had died.
When we came back to Camp the next year, missing her so deeply,
we found that she had put things where we could find them,
so that we can do Camp again that year;
I had an old foam egg create that I kept there (I worked there 6 summers,
4 with her living) and I remember how it was in the nurse's closet where
we could find it when I returned, as she knew I would....
Well, somewhere later I began drinking tea again....
I don't remember when really, but it took a while.
I remember having tea with my sister-friend, she introduced me to
Rooibos tea that she knew from living in Holland and I thus
knew of it way before many did, back in 2001 or so... 16 years ago!
So, by the time I was in Ottawa I had tea; I loved Bridgehead tea;
it was there that I first met the tea that I made today,
it's so simple; mint and rose petals... that Bridgehead,
an Ottawa-only coffee shop chain, called 'Minty Love'...
So you can get 1 lb bags of tea on amazon; it's quite astounding
and it's a lot of tea and usually a pretty economical way to buy tea,
but you have to have room and jars to store it in, so it's not something
everyone can do... but thankfully I have a Father-in-Law who built us an
incredible food pantry in a large closet that my dear friend N.,
when she saw our condo while the Inspector was there, said of the closet
that I could have shelves built in there for a pantry.
And so it is and it's such a gift to us, to have such space for food.
So I jarred up Spearmint and Rose Petals today, organic culinary grade.
And I had a tea pot of the newly mixed 'Minty Love' and it was
just so delicious. Such a full tea, deeply satisfying;
it's incredible to me how much 'body' this tea has.
I am hoping to make other tea blends later, I have cinnamon, lavender, vanilla
and various teas waiting!
So today Mr Husband and I took a short walk,
he took another walk later,
I took care of the Spearmint and Rose Petals
and then made dinner...
I fried up onion in coconut oil and then added mushrooms
and when it was all soft and fried nicely,
I had salad, nuts, fruit, Indian Junk Food, all waiting for dinner.
I have had a lot of simple losses this past month,
with not being at services for Christmas or Theophany.
And a lot of time alone at home with Mr Husband,
trying to recover our health and strength.
But in the midst of this, I found
such delight in simple things,
like setting a nice table, enjoying tea and food.
It's been an honest excitement to think about
what tea I could have the next morning.
It's a simple pleasure but it is compounded by
the many gifts of tea I have been given and that I have
such a wide variety to choose from.
And so I find myself seeing how food,
whether hot cups of cocoa, a hot cup of tea or
the perfect clementine can help
give one the strength and braveness for the
moment at hand and even moments of delight
in times of sickness and loss.
And for all of this,
I am grateful!