Tea towels are handy to have around the kitchen. They suck up spills, dry our dishes, and generally keep things neat and dry. If you don’t use them enough, though, they can get a bit thirsty!
Don’t panic. No one is advocating that you engage in spilling things (especially not your tea) just to save your parched tea towels. However, think of them when you need to dry your dishes and pots and pans. And your teapots. Sure, you can air dry these things, but just think if you got out of the bath or shower and had no towel there. You’d be dripping everywhere and even end up with chafing. Not good. And your poor bath towel would be languishing from lack of moisture. How cruel!
It’s a good idea to dry your fine bone china, porcelain, ceramic, and especially stainless steel and glass teawares anyway. For the fine bone china and porcelain, this is mainly a matter of helping them retain their dignity. They don’t have to sit upside down in a dish drainer to be sure the water drips out of their spout. The ceramic teapots are such dignitaries but still find that upside down position to be a bit uncomfortable (you try it sometime and see how it feels!). As for the glass and stainless steel teawares, letting them air dry usually results in spots, which are the minerals in your water that got left behind when the water molecules went floating away. Water spots are not very attractive or appealing and thus can cause these teawares much embarrassment. Further, if you are using a glass teapot, gaiwan, or other steeping vessel so that you can view the tea as it steeps (especially nice for a blooming tea), those spots will spoil the show!
Those thirsty tea towels come to the rescue, drying your teawares to perfection and without linty buildup (a real tea taste spoiler). They make your glass and stainless teawares sparkle and give a glow to the bone china, porcelain, and ceramic teawares. That, of course, makes them happy, which means that they will impart that happiness into your tea and make it taste even better than usual. (It is a well-established rule that unhappy teawares steep bitter tea.) Just be sure that your teawares are well rinsed before letting your tea towel do its job, or your tea towel will end up stained with tea. And that would lead to an unhappy tea towel which could lead to unhappy teawares which could lead to bitter tea. Yikes!
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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