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A Few of My Favorite Things IV

July 16, 2008

I am a tea drinker. I never have had a cup of coffee, just a sip once or twice. And it’s not that I think coffee is bad… I’ve just really never had a desire to try it. The smell to me is overwhelming more often than not. Plus, if you think about it, people talk an awful lot about how bad the coffee is/was at such-and-such a place, and “where can you get a good cup of coffee these days” and yadda yadda yadda. No thanks, I’ll just have some tea!

I like my tea strong and sweet (just like I like my men HA HA HA HA HA). I am not from the south, but my Mom definitely made something like “southern style” sweet iced tea when I was growing up. She had a yellowish colored glass tea pitcher – kind of funny shaped with wavy sides – and she would boil water in a tea kettle and then pour the hot water over the tea bags and let it all steep in that pitcher.

Which brings me to an important point: a good cup of tea is not made in the microwave! Heating water in a mug and throwing a tea bag in it does not make good tea. Hard to explain why. In a pinch, if you have to make a cup of tea using a microwave, you can boil the water in a large pyrex-type measuring cup, then pour that water into your teacup with the tea bag. But the way to get the best results when making tea is to boil your water in a tea kettle on the stove.

And if you are lucky, you might get to use a really, really cool tea kettle like this one, which resides at our cottage in Conneaut Lake, PA…

Mom bought this chicken tea kettle – I don’t know where, but I’m sure she could tell me – probably because it fits very well into the unique decor of the cottage. But we had no way of knowing how special the kettle is until the first time we boiled some water in it.

There are lots of tea kettles out there in the world. And while they serve a very important function, which is to help me make tea, the vast majority of them have one thing in common: they are annoyingly noisy! The whistle sounds that most of them make range from startling to downright intolerable. There’s nothing like setting a pot on the stove to boil, then taking a few minutes to do a crossword or read the paper, when suddenly you are jolted from your seat as the escaping steam causes the kettle to scream HEY! YOU NEED TO COME AND POUR YOUR TEA RIGHT NOW! NOW NOW NOW! HURRY HURRY HURRY OR I SHALL SCREEEEEEEAAAAAMMMMM SOME MORE!!!

But my favorite chicken tea kettle would never scream at me like that. No, this delightful bird gently coos you back into the kitchen, as if to say “the water is ready now, please feel free to come and pour your tea at your convenience. And have a delightful day.” Yes, the tea itself can help me relax, but when the process of heating the water is soothing all by itself? That is a bonus!

I think about stealing the chicken pot and taking it back to Kentucky with me one of these days… but I’m sure I’ll never actually do it. I like the idea that it will always be there for me when I visit the lake. Things get crazy up there sometimes, what with 11 people sharing three bedrooms and one bath! So it’s good to know that if things go berserk, I can at least sit back and listen to the water boil.

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5 comments

  1. Why don’t you come over to my house and have some tea so you can see my new kitchen. I can’t see your new deck til you see my kitchen since its been around a lot longer. I promise that I will boil the water on the stove using my screaming tea kettle.


  2. Do you like white tea…not pear- or other-flavored but plain white tea? I first tried it a few years ago at high tea on the veranda of the oldest hotel in Waikiki(http://www.moana-surfrider.com/bvupdates.htm)and it’s my favorite now. I’m envious of that non-screaming tea kettle too!


  3. Aunt Mary,
    I guess I’ve never had white tea… I’ve had green tea and that is OK, but I definitely do not like any of the flavored teas. I just like your basic orange cut black pekoe 🙂


  4. I’d never even heard of white tea before that trip to Waikiki. It’s milder in flavor but with more caffeine, more my cup of tea since I’ve tried it.


  5. Oh, my! I just woke up! Did someone say caffeeeeiiinnne?



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