Thanksgiving is around the corner, meaning that the relatives will be descending upon your house like a horde of Goths. Or maybe you will be part of the horde descending upon one of them. Either way, this usually annual meeting with people you probably hardly know but who occupy a space on your family tree and therefore lay claim to a bit of your time is fraught with lots of emotion and conversations full of such questions as: “So, what have you been doing all year?”
This year you can have an answer for them that will leave at least one or two gaping open-mouthed or shaking their heads in wonder: “I’ve been learning about tea.” Well, anyway, that’s what I’m going to say. I’ve been practicing just the right tone of voice, the right inflection, with emphasis on the word “tea.” I tried it out the other day on a clerk at one of the local stores who was rattling on about some stuff he was recommending labeled “tea” and that a little over a year ago I would have agreed was tea but now know better. He replied, “Oh? What have you learned?” Poor bugger. He had no idea what avalanche of information he was unleashing. “Well, to start, the tea you recommend is one of the lower grades. It’s so finely ground up, just dust, that a lot of the flavor is gone before it can even be loaded in the bag. And that bag…”
You may not want to go into too much detail with your relatives. After all, you could gain a reputation as the dotty Aunt, Uncle, etc., who drones on about tea. Bring along some teas for a bit of show-and-tell, but don’t overdo it. There will be plenty of other beverages and tons of food, if my family is any standard to judge by, so your relatives will be less likely to appreciate a more delicate tea, plus they will be distracted by conversation, football games, parades, more conversation, and the smell of all that food cooking. I, for one, can’t even think of the aroma of roasting turkey without my tummy starting to rumble in hunger.
At least, discussing tea will distract Cousin Joey from regaling you too long on his latest paramour disaster or your Mother-in-Law from quizzing you too closely about when she will see another grandchild. Last year, I had to distract her with a tray full of crackers covered with cheese-from-a-can, raw oysters, or other unappetizing toppings.
I’m hoping that at least one of my relatives will want to join me in a quiet corner and learn of the wonders of Silver Needle and appreciate the subtle flavors of this rare and high-quality white tea or possibly watch with me as a blooming tea unfolds and we get to sip the resulting liquid. Perhaps I’ll make a nice potful of Tie Guan Yin or a Second Flush Darjeeling and we can savor the aromas that seem to shift and evolve with every sip. I’ll be sure to have some appropriate little tidbits at hand such as a nice brie and crackers or some sliced apple and cheddar cheese with Walker’s oatcakes. Whichever, I’ll want to be sure to save some of my appetite for the feast to come, especially a nice chunk of that roast turkey. Ah!
Make sure to visit A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!