Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Cup of Tea – the Perfect Fix for What Ails You

From an early age, I learned that tea was meant for wellness. We drank herbal teas to soothe the stomach, calm the nerves, or to give us energy. If there was an ailment, my mother would find a remedy via tea.

While still in bed following a bout with flu, she’d bring me tea and toast. After barfing in the toilet or a bedside bucket, it was heavenly!  The buttery homemade toast tasted scrumptious dunked in tea. She tried to slow me down as I gulped and chewed, but I felt on the brink of starvation. 

I wanted more, but she made me wait to see if I could hold it down. While I rested, my imagination exploded with pictures of my favorite foods, things a sick stomach would never tolerate like watermelon, summer corn, hot dogs, peaches and ice cream. When my tea finally came for  the second time, I knew I was "all better."

Mom not only loved tea, she loved the cups. She collected fragile china cups with floral designs and classic patterns. She displayed them in a glassed cupboard so that everyone could see them. When friends or relatives came to visit, she’d pull out the fancy cups and fill them to the brim with their favorite tea. If she knew ahead that they were coming, her baking would greet them with aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg.

I have always enjoyed watching the BBC on PBS. Tea is a staple in British comedies and reminds me of home. It’s a cure all for the ills that plague mankind and the answer to almost every problem.

At Christmas time our celebration would not be complete without reading: “A Cup of Christmas Tea” by Tom Hegg and illustrated by Warren Hanson. The story is about a man who drags his feet about seeing an old aunt during the holidays. She recently had a stroke and walks with a crutch. He dreads seeing her in this predicament. After reluctantly paying her a visit, it is he that is repaid with her gift of love and a “Cup of Christmas Tea.”

Everything seems right as rain over a good cup of tea. Its calming warmth cheers the heart and heals the mind. Even the tea bags can soothe swollen eyes after a good cry or shrink puffy eyes after a raucous night out. Moreover, people can paint with this stuff. Beautiful portraits and scenes come alive when painted with various strengths of tea. The result looks much like watercolor.

I once wrote a blog about painting with coffee which is essentially the same process. Most people use instant coffee because it is cheaper. The secret is to pour boiling water over the coffee to make various color strengths. The same holds true for tea. By pouring boiling water in several cups with tea bags you can create color tones depending on how much water you use to dilute the color.

I swore I’d try it, but I still haven’t gotten ‘round to it. I hope this inspires some of you to give it a try!

Painting with Tea