Jul 23 2008

Bright Spots in Hard Times: Tea, The affordable Luxury

Marianne

tea-anyone.gifThese are some of the hardest times I recall in my lifetime (which covers quite a few decades now :); economically, socially, militarily, and politically we are being challenged every day. They call for all of us to gather our resources, make some bright spots in the day for ourselves and those around us, and reach out to others in need. Throughout history, in families, in   literature, when faced with a difficult situation, someone would put the kettle on, get out the teapot, cups, spoons, and tea, and sit down for a breather, time to think things through, or share thoughts and feelings with a friend or loved one.

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Research has proven that tea is the cup which is both invigorating and calming at the same time. The caffeine, less per cup by 2/3 than found in a cup of coffee, is tempered by a substance called theanine which provides the calming effects of tea. Rich in antioxidants, and available in such a wide variety of aromas, tastes,and colors, tea is versatile and economical. After enjoying your cups of tea, use the damp tea leaves wrapped in a cloth or paper towel as an eye compress to sooth tired or swollen eyes (plain tea only please; no flavored or spiced blends), save leftover tea in the refrigerator to enjoy iced, and add you spent leaves to the garden or compost to enrich your soil. Tea is also good for dyeing linens which you want to change to an ecru or darker shade. All of this, and even the most expensive fine teas break down to 35 cents to 50 cents a cup.

A gathering of friends can be turned into a party with just a package of biscuits or shortbread, simple tuna or chicken salad sandwiches cut into triangles, some toast and jam, or a simple cake served on colorful mix and match dishes with real napkins. The key to making it a party is a great tea, served hot or iced.

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So, turn these challenging times into an opportunity to nurture and  enjoy the closeness and comradery that having tea together establishes. And, before we know it, we’ll be on to the next challenge… and the next tea gathering! Enjoy.

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