Sunday, July 27, 2008


We are drinking tea. Hot. Iced. Sweet. Not. And because we are drinking it, it seems that we see or hear it everywhere. Friends come to visit on a Sunday morning. They live in Turkey and tell us of a trip to the Black Sea, riding along coastal roads; they talk of the exotic tea plantations in the hills above. On a night with almost a full moon, I find that the quiet, the sound of the wind in the trees, and the cicadas' song drives me to the opening pages of one of my favorite books by Proust and the now-cliched-but-still-evocative scene of the young boy in his Aunt Leonie’s room while she is taking her tea, the lime tree flowered tea in which she dips the iconic Madeleine. A recipe in an old New Orleans cookbook calls for a dish to be served with Russian tea made with fresh oranges. We drink Earl Grey tea in the afternoon for a break from gardening to highlight our fantasies of an English summer, the scent of the Bergamot sending us back to a journey we once took to Calabria in southern Italy, to the Jasmine Coast where they once grew fields of jasmine and groves of bergamot to make perfume, and we drink Lapsang Souchong after dinner, smokey and sweet, because we’ve read of a grand summerhouse in the South of France that serves gunpowder teas after the evening meal. We drink infusions from the garden, and serve them at the restaurant: mint, spearmint, lavender, lemon verbena, letting us know it really is indeed summer and not only can we eat of garden, we can drink from it as well.


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