Archive for January 2010
My tea from Russia was almost gone.
I decided to crank up, well, plug in, the Samovar, and make the last of the Russian tea in as traditional a manner as I know how.
A Samovar is a utensil consisting of a boiler with a faucet near the bottom, steam-holes and a teapot which sits on top, and some type of heating device. This is not just an ordinary piece of equipment, but a revered symbol of Russian hospitality.
The evolution of the Samovar is a study in technology and adaptability. Traditionally, a Samovar used charcoal to heat the water in the boiler. Today, nickel-plated electric Samovars reign. Only the Trans-Siberian Railroad has clung to the traditional smoky, charcoal heated Samovar.
I poured water into the base and plugged it in.
I made the concentrated tea for the little teapot on top. This step is very important and cannot be made with tea bags. Only good loose tea is suitable. The tea should be strong; the color of a chestnut. I delighted in the ritual of making tea and thinking of my tea from Russia.
A Mongolian ruler gave Tsar Michael I a gift of about 140 pounds of tea about 1638. Catherine the Great established regular imports of tea around 1736. The tea caravans brought more than 3 million pounds of loose tea and tea bricks by camel along the silk road. This amount of imported tea allowed the price to be lowered and thus in Russia, the lower and middle class could enjoy tea. Today, tea is grown in Georgia, and neighboring Azerbaijan, both countries a part of the former Soviet Union.
“Good tea takes patience and commitment.” ( Daniel Nagy)
First, I added the concentrated tea to my cup…..
The concentrate is very strong, and as one writer said, “Never drink it undiluted, because it has a strong narcotic effect, causing increased heart rate, hallucinations and restlessness.”
Next, hot water from the spout…...….dilutes the concentrate to suit my taste.
And my tea is ready !!! Of course, some like lemon, or milk (but not together), sugar, honey, rum or vodka ! I like my tea straight up ! No additions. I will use my Samovar again, and again.
My tea from Russia was almost gone. I decided to crank up the Samovar and make the last of the tea.
Haiti…. we have friends who came to the United States from Haiti. They still have family in Haiti. Our hearts and prayers are with the Haitian people as they strive to survive the devastation of the 7.0 earthquake which struck Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, January 12th.
Americans have already donated millions to the Red Cross and other organizations ready to invade Haiti with life saving supplies We are cautioned to be aware of schemers who would fleece those wishing to “do something”. Wisdom, old fashioned good sense, needs to prevail in choosing which groups to support.
For years, our choice has been World Vision, a “Christian Humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.” World Vision started in the 1950′s because Dr. Bob Pierce wanted to help orphan children in Korea. (Some of you will understand why this group has my heart !). Over the next several decades World Vision expanded it’s work world wide to include disaster relief, work with communities in education, health care, vocational and agricultural training for families to become self-supporting and healthy.
World Vision has been working in Haiti for over 30 years and at the time of the earthquake had about 370 staff based in Haiti. The relief director of World Vision, Edward Brown, said, ” We would be very concerned about a quake of this magnitude anywhere in the world, but it is especially devastating in Haiti, where people are acutely vulnerable because of poor infrastructure and extreme poverty.”
So please, pray for the people of Haiti, donate, give as you are able, but with wisdom. And if you choose World Vision, here is their website:
The day we decided to take down Christmas, I ask My Sweet Husband to carry in the storage tubs from the garage.
I scooped the stockings off the mantle and carefully carried the angels to the table to be bubble- wrapped.
My Sweet Husband had not returned with one tub.
I dismantled the snowman display and gathered the nutcracker collection together.
Still, My Sweet Husband had not returned with one tub.
I unplugged the church and village scene. I wrapped baby Jesus, Mary & Joseph in tissue.
And still, My Sweet Husband had not returned with one tub.
Just as I was wrapping up the shepherds and wise men,
My Sweet Husband brought in the tubs !
All of them at one time !
Yep….you can move the guy to the city, but ya just can’t take the country out of him !!
That’s right. The party isn’t over.
We continue to celebrate….January is National Hot Tea Month !! Yay !! Those windy, snowy days of winter draw us to hot beverages like children compelled to step in mud puddles. We love our hot chocolate, hot coffee, and of course, the most healthy choice, hot tea !!
Tea is no longer limited to those old flavorless paper tea bags. Our choices are bountiful and delightful. Tea from around the world is widely available on the internet, and, in bigger cities, tea rooms or tea shops specializing in loose tea offer a tantalizing selection.
This ancient beverage, believed by generations to improve a myriad of body and mental issues, has, in the last decade, been studied, researched and proven to have attributes contributing to enhanced health. (There is a lot of information about tea online, however, I highly recommend this site http://www.teausa.com/general/teaandhealth/218g.cfm ).
Apart from the scientific studies, I propose, that the time it takes for preparing, and the wait (infusion) that is required for tea to be ready to drink, affords us, in our hectic world, moments of respite. Instituting “tea time” releases us from the daily intensity of life and has to contribute to our health.
I have resolved to institute a little change in my tea times for 2010. I intend to choose one teapot a week from my eclectic collection. I’m starting the New Year with this whimsical Koi teapot made especially for me by an artist in Southern California.
I am dependent on tea times: mornings, afternoons and evenings. It’s my breathing space.
I encourage you to institute ” tea time” in your life, if you haven’t already, as part of your healthy resolutions for this New Year !
Happy Infusions in 2010 !!