Totaling tea

Were you to look into my kitchen cabinets, it might be reasonable to assume a few things about she who accumulated their contents. Not unlike judging a book by it’s cover, of which I am in favour.

For example, the eleven cutting boards (seven dishwasherable plastic, two bamboo and one maple) might correctly lead to the belief that a lot of chopping, slicing, dicing, jullienneing, batonetteing and carving goes on at Chez Hossack.

Likewise, a wall of cookbooks speaks for itself. As might a sturdy antiquish dresser, painted white, and reinforced to hold all of the specialty dishes used to stage photos. Dishes that simply do not fit on the daily shelves.

There is a cupboard for oils and vinegars. Spice shelving that necessarily spilled over into a once-broom-closet-now-pantry, along with cooking and baking sundries that found no vacancy in the regular kitchen. At the bottom of this make-do closet is an overflow garage for small appliances. The breadmaker and Kitchen Aid mixer live there.

Next to the range is a barrel of whisks and spatulas, and assorted salt servers. Down below, four sets of (plus unmatched single) mixing bowls: glass for muffining, copper for meringueing and a perfectly-conceived bell for the whipping of cream. All of which allows a snoopy house guest to know that I like to have the right tool for every job, plus backups for when one, or six, are in the sink.

Uptight might be the word you’re looking for. I’m going with organized.

But just before anyone thinks to have me all sorted out based on the contents of my cupboards, there’s more. First, see that door to the right? The one above the coffeemaker? Go ahead and open it. Now tell me what you’ve learned.

In addition to a penchant for really good coffee (true story), I am an unrestrained lover of all things tea, right?

Well, I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking it.

After all, there are rafts of teabags and exotic-looking tins of loose leaves. A stylish kettle, trendy teapot, glass teapot for flowering tea blossoms and two Japanese green tea servers. Tea tongs, timers, a pencil-shaped steeping device straight from a shop in Germany and a snazzy lemon auger.

I must adore tea!

Except that I don’t. I barely even like it. Yet, like a magpie to shiny bits of flotsam, I am beguiled by tea trappings. Smitten with prettily-painted tins and, well, with the very idea of tea.

Then there’s the smell, I am bewitched by the smell, which after the tea is tasted really just seems like a lie.

Tea, you see, is the embodiment of some of my favourite things. Like tea time, with scones and clotted cream and crust-cut-off sandwiches. Tea houses and tea cups and little sips of barely flavoured water.

But again, no. And there’s only one thing, maybe two things for it.

As seen from here, the road to an empty tea cupboard will have to be paved with a lot of London Fogs.

London Fog for One

3/4 cup hot water
2 Earl Grey tea bags
3/4 cup whole milk
3 tbs vanilla syrup

Steep both tea bags in water for very strong tea. Meanwhile, froth milk with the steam attachment of an espresso machine (or heat and use a latte whip). Remove tea bags from tea. Add vanilla syrup and steamed milk, reserving froth for the top. Serve immediately.

– Words and photo by Darcie Hossack

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3 Comments

  1. Ha! I have the opposite fascination. I drink tea but secretly covet all things coffee. Difference is I don’t own a single coffee-making instrument (though I played with a few in the past in the hope that, even though I didn’t drink the stuff, I could somehow excel at making it for others. Doesn’t seem to work that way.) Haven’t given up entirely. I keep threatening to take myself to a coffee shop and order something complicated and frothy. This post may be the just the necessary nudge!

  2. Drop what you are doing and go immediately to Abby’s spice and tea store on Kirschner. You will not be disappointed!

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