All my future blog posts are in my camera. It’s the way I’ve operated lately: see something cool, take a picture, and think, “I’ll blog about that sometime.” I think I’ve got four sets of posts in the camera right now, but in order to post them, I need to have the computer, the camera and the cable in the same place at the same time. Forethought and planning aren’t my strong suit, so instead today we’re writing about tea. (With no illustrations.)

Kiddo#2 has discovered that a “sore throat” will get her gallons of tea. She’ll be happy and chipper from the moment she arises (I think it’s 5:30AM, far too early for me) up until the moment I’m getting breakfast on the table, when suddenly her throat is so sore she must, must, must have hot tea to soothe it.

I’m not sure why she feels tea is reserved for the nearly-dead because I’d give it to her anyhow. But I humor her, and I invite Death to read ย on the couch while I heat up the mortality-forstalling kettle of hot goodness, and we make tea. Thus defeated, Death leaves (although I’ll note he leaves a bookmark in the book, to keep his place for when he returns the next morning) and Kiddo#2 drinks her tea.

This would be okay until you add my neurosis to Kiddo#2’s neurosis. I have this “thing” about giving people something I wouldn’t want myself, and in this case, it’s Lipton decaf tea. I buy that to make ice tea because at BJs you can pick up 4000 tea bags for $10, or something equally ridiculous. But to drink actual tea, I prefer Tetley, or Earl Grey, or Constant Comment. (No sarcastic remarks about that last. Here, I’ll just make it for you: Wow, Jane, who’d have guessed?)ย Kiddo#2 always grabs her tea bag from the big yellow box of weak, limp tea.

On one particular day, I looked at the Lipton decaf tea bag, shuddered, and put it back in the box. Instead I got the Constant Comment, and I got one of the pretty cut crystal mugs I **found** at the garbage dump exchange shed (no kidding! A set of four!) and I made her tea. It smelled and looked wonderful. Like tea.

Kiddo#2 tried some. “This tastes awful!”

I said, “What’s wrong?”

She said, “It tastes like flowers and fruit!”

We went back and forth: her saying it was disgusting and me saying but it’s good tea; it’s not awful tea; it’s my favorite tea and I served it in my favorite mug, and each of us putting on a guilt trip to rival the other. You don’t LIKE my tea; you served me DISGUSTING tea.

We were joking, of course. Later she came to me, saying she had drank it. I said, “Did you like it?” and she said, “No. But I liked the mug.”

So now she gets disgusting tea in a lovely mug. And I feel guilty, but not quite as much as before.


  1. Monica

    “Tea is reserved for the nearly dead” – lol. By the way, Kiddo #2 would love the tea at my house! Sounds like she and I have tea-taste in common…

    1. philangelus

      You like Lipton? ๐Ÿ™ I find it a bit weak, and Tetley has that nice comforting scent to it. I’m not sure if Lipton non-decaf would have the same issues, but I grew up with Tetley and that’s my go-to brand for regular tea.

  2. Sara Ann Denson

    Precious! I haven’t commented in awhile, but I’ve been reading through e-mail. Keep ’em coming! I love the way you bring life into focus.

    1. philangelus

      Thank you!

  3. cricketB

    For me, a craving for tea is a sign I’m going to get a sore throat.

    1. philangelus

      So you want it in advance? That’s pretty neat. I wonder if sometimes it forestalls the actual sore throat because it’s soothing in the pre-sore state.

      I think of sweetened tea as a comfort food.

  4. cricketB

    I used to think it soothed a tender throat. Now I wonder if it dries it out, or if my body knows it’s getting sick and I want comfort food. It’s reliable enough that I know I should look at the plans for the next few days and have backup plans ready.

  5. virginiaripple

    I have the same disagreement with my sister. I love Earl Grey. She calls it “bug spray tea.” Nice to know my family isn’t so wierd. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. philangelus

      Someone else told me it tastes like horse pee. I never tasted either horse pee or bug spray, so I wouldn’t know. ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Ken Rolph

    What, no Twinings? You seem to have a very limited supply of tea available. If you like Earl Grey, try Lady Grey. What interesting breakfasts they must have had in the Grey mansion.

    If you want to smell fruit and flowers, try some Punjabi Chai. Or Bengali if you really must. Then there’s Lemon Myrtle for a good mouthwash, but don’t put milk in it.

    Prince of Wales can be a little metallic. Russian Caravan can have a nice smoky flavour, but not too strong. In an hour or two I’m up for some Twinings Traditional Afternoon tea. Just because it will be the afternoon and, well, it’s traditional. We buy Tetley teabags in boxes of 200, just for tea ordinaire. You’ve just made me realise that I don’t know how much this costs, because we would not consider not buying it, so price doesn’t come into it.

    Jan has taken both boxes of English and Irish Breakfast tea to school with her. I don’t mind. Since I’ve been able to stay home I make my tea in a stainless steel pot with a wire basket to hold the real leaves.

    1. Jane

      Oh, I forgot about Twinnings! It does appear here, but I’ve never gotten it because it looked a bit…intimidating? Part of the Lipton/Tetley problem is that when it comes to tea, I’m not as adventurous as I could be, so I’ve never experimented. If you recommend Twinnings, I’ll give it a try.

      As for other flavors, I have tried Lady Gray just once (a free packet) but I’m always reluctant to buy a whole package of tea I might not like. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’ve got the tea ball to make loose-leaf tea, but I’m inherently lazy and frequently just go for the bagged stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. cricketB

      I like both Lady Grey and Earl Grey. Lady is milder. Irish Breakfast is too mild for breakfast, but nice for morning break.

      A senior in our cross-country ski club would always bring a thermos of Russian Caravan. Dad says it tastes like the entire caravan washed their socks in it.

      We used to have a tea store. Over 100 types of loose-leaf tea (and other dried fruit bits for tisanes and infusions and other things the purists claim aren’t tea), and they were happy to make up small bags. I gave tea sampler sets for Christmas that year. They had two different Russian Caravans. One was smokier, one was fruitier. (Yes, Dad had great fun with rude puns with his set.)

      Grandma always had tea after the daily big meal. She had several sizes of tea cups for the grand daughters. And sugar lumps. When my cousin and I get together (every decade or so) we have tea with sugar lumps in nice cups. When Grandma’s doctor told her to stop drinking tea, she switched to warm water. That’s surprisingly good in the evening.

      1. Jane

        Dad says it tastes like the entire caravan washed their socks in it.

        I laughed out loud at this. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Monica

    When people find out you like tea, they tend to give you all kinds of tea as presents. But the only tea I like is black tea with milk, no sugar. Otherwise I’d rather just drink water!!

    Like Cricket, my husband will pull out the tea when he suspects he’s getting sick. When I see him make a cup of tea, I know that *I* will have a cold in about 3 or 4 days…

    1. Jane

      Funny about knowing you’ll get sick when he drinks tea… ๐Ÿ™‚

      I don’t mind weird flavored teas, but they don’t get used up very quickly.

      I think I posted here a while ago that the raspberry tea bags made just for ice tea make me morning-sick because I associate the smell with that early-pregnancy nausea.

      1. cricketB

        Raspberry tea has been linked to early (as in way-too-early) contractions. I suspect the dose makes a difference.

        Our store has a Twinnings box with 5 types x 5 bags = 25. Health food stores sometimes have tea, but often they are “almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.”

        Tea shops and tea houses are getting more common. There’s even one in our mall, but it looks trendier than the tea aisle at the grocery store. Still, you can’t go wrong with a calorie-filled dessert (I only looked at the front of the menu on the stand) and a new drink. Many small restaurants have a selection of the common teas, and the owner’s favourites.

        1. philangelus

          Red Raspberry Leaf tea functions as a uterine toner, for whatever reason, and doesn’t trigger labor; it does make contractions stronger and more regulated. I did RRL tea from 36 weeks on in every pregnancy but the first one.

          This stuff is just raspberry tea, though. It’s got no more uterine-toning properties than Coca-cola. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Bopper

    Hey, I am living in Germany and when I visit the USA among other things I would bring back to Germany was Constant Comment (both regular and decaf)!

    1. philangelus

      That’s neat! I like the tea myself. I was shocked that Kiddo#2 disliked it that much.

  9. Marie

    For herbal teas, I like Twinnings because they don’t put in too many exotic ingredients. I remember looking at ingredients on another brand’s box which I had been using to be caffeine free about halfway through a pregnancy and thinking “Can’t that cause miscarriages?” (“Yes, in large enough doses which you aren’t getting,” said dh after some research and then he brought me home some Twinnings next trip to the store so I wouldn’t worry.)

    I always keep a box of the lemon ginger on hand for stomach viruses. I alternate a sip of tea with letting an ice cube melt in my mouth. When I finish the second mug that way, it’s probably safe to try a cracker. The kids like gatorade, but I’m not fond of it in the best of circumstances.

    For caffeine, I like their Irish breakfast tea. I find a well-timed cup of hot tea with caffeine can let me avoid an albuterol (inhaler for asthma) dose and is much gentler on me.

  10. diinzumo

    My former roommate was the biggest tea snob. I used to dig out the old Lipton tea bags to tease her. That said, Japan was a great place to drink tea: fancy tea or green tea, along with fruit, cookies or traditional Japanese sweets I called “abunaimono” or “dangerous things.” Occasionally we made the pilgrimate to the Mariage tea shop in Shibuya, where they stocked every conceivable type and flavor. Fun stuff. We still do the “tea ceremony” when she comes to visit her mother in Florida.

    I associate cold barley tea with summer, hot genmai-cha with winter, and peppermint tea with a sore throat/impending cold.

    1. Jane

      In Japan and England, they KNOW how to do tea. ๐Ÿ™‚ As an ignorant ‘merkin, I know I can’t even boil water correctly. LOL!

      Cold barley tea sounds like something I might want to try at some point.