KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Tea Supply

I don't go to spas; can't afford them. I don't get manicures; I prefer short, unadorned nails. I don't get pedicures; see "I don't get manicures." I'm not a clotheshorse. I go to a cheap place to get my hair cut, and sometimes I don't get around to doing that until my hair has grown unrecognizably out of its simple wash-and-go style.

Good teas—I mean whole-leaf imported teas—are my one indulgence, a way that I take care of myself. I favor Japanese and Chinese green teas and white teas, as they carry more of the agents than black teas do that appear to help prevent colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and other cancers (see this, this, this, and this, for starters). But mostly I like them because they have such lovely subtle tastes, give me a caffeine dose without making me feel jittery the way coffee does (and so I haven't drunk coffee regularly in years), and put me in mind of Asian meditation methods, which relaxes me.

I don't drink soft drinks; they're loaded with sugar and other unnecessary junk and have too many calories. I don't generally drink cow's milk; when I want something milklike with my cold breakfast cereal, I drink unflavored soy milk. I often drink plain old water throughout the day. But mainly, I drink a lot—a lot—of tea, all of it unsweetened.

And here is where I store most of it before I brew it:

My custom tea wheelMy Husband the Master Cabinetmakertm made this tea wheel, which is based on an idea I had. Ever notice those metal wheels with clips on them in diners, where the wait staff clip orders for the cooks to see and fill? I wanted some kind of rotating wheel onto which I could clip my bags of tea leaves from SpecialTeas. (Sometime after I wrote this post, that company was bought out by Teavana, a company I don't patronize. I now get most of my teas from many of the companies listed here.) I'd stored them in the cabinet above and to the left of where the wheel now is, and they'd often fall out onto the countertop when I opened the cabinet door. Or I'd be lazy and tend to just use the bags at the front of the cabinet, and then get bored with drinking the same few teas over and over again. The tea wheel lets me see what I have "in stock" and cleared out some space in that cabinet ... for the teas that I order that don't come in convenient zip-close bags: tulsi ginger tea from India, olive-leaf tea from Olivus, and jiaogulan-leaf tea from Immortalitea. And of course, there are the boxes of pedestrian herbal teas that everyone else in my family drinks. Yes, I am a tea snob.

My custom tea wheel from another angleThat blinding white light that you see in the photo to the right and in the one above is the sun coming through an extremely long but very short window in my kitchen that takes the place of the backsplash (like the tile one shown here) in most American kitchens. That window is currently the only thing that Ed (My Husband the Master Cabinetmakertm) and I like about our outdated kitchen, and that's because he installed the window—it wasn't original to our 45-plus-year-old house. One day when we can afford to do so, we will redo the kitchen and replace the ugly 1970s aqua swirls of the Formica-covered countertops and reface the horrid cabinets that are currently covered merely with rub-on stain and wax. To Ed, the kitchen is a professional embarrassment, because he builds top-end kitchens that you see in magazines, and ours looks like ... well, like ugh. We can't afford his services, and we can't afford to pay for someone else's services (which he'd nitpick) so that he can keep working. ;-) So he begged me to tell you here that our kitchen is in no way a reflection on his talent as a cabinetmaker.

That disclaimer out of the way, I ask this: What do you do to take care of yourself? What refreshes you?


Stephanie E. said...

I do...umm...nothing, basically, to take care of myself these days (beyond the vegan eating and light green tea drinking), so I'll not answer that question, but I do have to say this:

I *love* the tea wheel! What a brilliant idea!

Anonymous said...

Gosh, Katharine, I hope you didn't take my comment about teas to be snippy--I was comparing it to my coffee cabinet, which now looks even worse than before next to your tea cabinet.

I also indulge myself, in good coffee and chocolate, and do without most other luxuries. I've been that way since as a young single woman I saved for months to buy a Laura Ashley table lamp, and had no seating furniture except cushions in my apartment ;)

Now, a custom-Ed coffee cabinet is on my wish list!

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Hey, Stephanie, good to hear from you. I hope you get back into a little self-indulgence soon. It makes life more fun.

Oh, heavens, no, Caryn. Your Facebook note just reminded me that I hadn't gotten around to showing anybody my beloved tea wheel. And whenever your wish gets funding, Ed will be happy to talk.

libhom said...

Expensive tea bags are cheaper than soft drinks. It's one of life's delicious ironies.

Anonymous said...

1) Chai tea with my breakfast
2) Chai latte (with skim milk) when I'm out at a cafe
3) 30 minute aromatherapy massage every two weeks.
4) Weekly yoga session.

Did not do any of these before I had depression / anxiety :) No longer have those... but will keep up the me-time :)

Anonymous said...

What a great idea, Katharine!

I visited Whole Foods today and purchased a few tiny bags of loose tea.

How do I take care of myself? That's a long overdue question.

While I in the homestretch with the book, I didn't take very good care of myself -- sitting way too long at my desk, poring over draft after draft, and then tackling all the publishing aspects at the same time. That's the nature of deadlines, as you know well.

Now, I am healing from foot surgery, which should leave me in hiking condition in a couple weeks. And, I can get back out to the garden. That will be a treat.

Just two weeks inside, and I see how my nails are thinning and chipping. Life as a mole does not suit!

But while I was laid up, I took the opportunity to read five novels. Just sat in my bed with my foot up, hour after hour after day, and read read read. What a luxury!


Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Sapphyre and Gina, those are excellent ways to take care of yourselves! No matter how we take care of ourselves, it's very important that we do so.

Anonymous said...

I love the tea wheel! It sounds like you are as nuts about tea as I am. I think I've blogged about my tea drawer before. Tea is such a wonderful indulgence to have!

Mary Beth said...

I love tea, also, but herbals. Especially peppermint. About once a fortnight I'll get a coffee shop latte with skim milk - helps me get my dairy in.

I LOVE your tea wheel, and especially your window/backsplash. Oh! to have light from that source!

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