Saturday, March 25, 2006

My Journey with Tea

This is a "thank you" note to Mom, Dad, Grandma & Adagio Tea. I grew up in a time when the coffee pot was always on the burner of the stove & almost every adult drank coffee all day. The longer it stayed on the burner the stronger it got. Having spent lots of time in my pre-school years in my Grandmother's kitchen (which was conveniently next door to our house) I learned to love the smell of coffee on the stove. It was a warm & comforting aroma. Kind of a security. Grandma's kitchen was the center of the neighborhood & in those days the door was never locked. Coffee was always a part of those days. In those days my Grandmother would tell any child that drinking coffee would stunt your growth so as to try to keep us from being caffeinated I guess. That was no threat to me. I had tasted the strong potion & thought if it only tasted like it smelled it would be wonderful--but it didn't--& it wasn't. So I grew up never liking coffee & when I reached adulthood & everyone my age started drinking coffee I would just pass it by. I never cared for tea either. Having grown up in the south, there was always iced tea available & it was passable for younger people to drink that. That was no temptaion either as it always seemed bitter even with sugar.

Dad always liked coffee and would drink it all day, even at work. When he got older he switched to hot tea as it had less caffeine and he said helped settle his stomach. Mom finally told me after I was grown that I would never be able to "socialize" if I didn't drink tea or coffee! She was only half joking. I thought --now you tell me! Anyway, a few years back I embarked on my tea journey. Being pretty sensitive to caffeine, I decided not to travel the coffee route. My sister-in-law first hooked me on sweetened herbal raspberry tea. My brother-in-law thought it just tasted like kid's kool aid--good--more for me. I started branching out, and after a period of time I discovered I really did like real tea, herbal tea, fruity tea, and most any tea. I surprised myself--I realized I liked it even without sweetener. The result of what has now become an obsession (yes, I admit it) is a whole section of my kitchen cabinet devoted to a plethora of teas.

As I ventured into reading about tea, I discovered that people actually cooked with tea. That put me on the next leg of my journey. I experimented with lots of recipes. Some good & some disasters. One day while looking at food blogs I found a link to Adagio Tea and found they had recipes using tea. This was wonderful! I loved it. Then I found the part that said "Tea Chef". I was hooked. Adagio would send aspiring "tea chefs" a sample size tin of tea in exchange for them submitting a tea related recipe. I began submitting recipes. In the winter it was for Granita. In February it was a Tea Brined Pork Loin (which I posted on the blog). I was thrilled when the winner was announced--yes, my little loin of pork had won. Now the really fun part--the "fabulous tea related reward". They don't tell you what you win. I think that makes it better. I kept having flashbacks to the movie "The Christmas Story" when Darren Mc Gavin wins the hideous leg shaped lamp. I don't know what the other "winners" have received but I absolutely love my prizes. Adagio was very generous & I thank them. They mailed a wonderful IngenuiTea tea pot/brewer. It is fabulous for that 2 cups in the morning or even for a quick brew of tea to pour over ice. They also included a generous size of February's tea--Green Pekoe. All of the tea I have received from Adagio is of very good quality & I would recommend it to those who are tea drinkers. If any of you like tea & like to cook with tea you can check out the teas & recipes at

Thanks Mom, Dad, Grandma & Adagio!

(p.s. I think Grandma may have been right about coffee stunting growth--I only smelled it and despite the fact my Dad was 6'2" I only made it to 5"2")


Anonymous Ivonne said...


What an incredible post! It was so personal and beautiful.

Like you I grew up in a coffee-drinking household, mostly espresso. Tea was what we drank if we were sick or if we couldn't sleep. I'm glad to say over the past few years I've been turned on to tea and slowly learning about it.

Thanks for the link to Adagio Tea.

Keep up the great blogging!

25 March, 2006 20:32  
Blogger valentina said...

Fran, what a beautiful post.At home mum used to drink coffee all day long. there would always be a flask with hot coffee so that you could only help yourself when you felt like it. I love both tea and coffee. I wasn't aware of cooking with tea. I will be looking into the Adagio site.Thank you for sharing.

26 March, 2006 11:23  
Blogger MonkeyBites said...

I'm so glad to hear you won last month! what a fantastic prize too (I myself have had visions of tassled leg lamps when I hear the word 'prize'). In my household, it was always cuban espresso and never tea. Adagio really is a great way to introduce teas to those who might be a bit reluctant.
Thanks for the lovely post!

26 March, 2006 18:56  
Blogger Paz said...

Fantastic prizes! Congratulations!

Love the movie The Christmas Story. The boy in the movie went to school with one of my brothers.

6'2"/5'2"? LOL! Grandma was right! ;-)


27 March, 2006 15:31  
Anonymous sher said...

Yes, that was a lovely post!! I have been thinking about cooking with tea also. So I was very happy to read about your experiences. There is a wealth of knowledge in the blogging community! I learn something new everyday.

27 March, 2006 23:16  
Blogger Fran said...

Hi Ivonne--I like to cook w/espresso. Your house must have really smelled good!

Hello Valentina--Hope you can find some tea recipes to your liking. I think the first tea cooking I did was a tea smoked chicken.

Erika (Sorry--Monkeybites)-- is Cuban espresso unique in some way? Would be curious to know. Good luck on your entry!

Dear Paz--Grandma was right about everything;)

Hi Sher--you are so right about bloggers. I learn new things everyday too. Isn't it wonderful?

Thanks everyone for visiting.

28 March, 2006 19:19  

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