Something About Food? Podcast
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The Something About Food? Blog

This is the Something About Food? Blog, where Chef Chris Clarke discusses new podcast episodes, travel, restaurants, and more!

A blog about food, family, and travel by the mostly-vegan Chef Chris Clarke.   

Sum It Up Sunday-Cup Yours!

I have become someone that ten years ago I would not have recognized. I'm talking about tea. I drink at least four cups a day, and in the past, I would have thought that was crazy!

Now a cuppa, maybe a good book and often some toast and I have myself a perfect afternoon.

It all started in Vancouver BC a few days after I finished my first 24 Hour Run in Colorado. My body was so wiped out it couldn't regulate the temperature, and stupidly I had decided to travel to the Pacific NW in October. Fall? When it starts raining.

At the time I was managing the Specialty Department for a "BigNaturals" store, so I knew all about tea; I just didn't like the flavor. Fruit-filled or spiced aromas would emanate from the cup, and the flavor was just weak to me. Then I found Genmaicha, a Japanese beverage consisting of green tea combined with roasted popped brown rice. The toasted rice makes for a more robust flavor that my taste buds liked.

So began my tea journey, especially when I am traveling.  Tea in many countries is the main beverage. New ZealandIreland, and England are the first to come to mind. Mint tea in Morocco was so much better than I thought it would be, as it was made with strong black tea and fresh mint. It was refreshing in a way a mint tea bag just isn't.

I mentioned the toast, and if you know me, you know it's an obsession of mine. Why? Because it is the perfect food! No matter what you eat you can find a bread you can toast and top with whatever strikes your fancy. A cuppa on the side for dunking or sipping, I mean, come on! It feels indulgent and comforting all at the same time.

This cup here, on the left, was a Spice Tea in Zanzibar. Quite possibly the best chai spice I've ever had. It was spicy and gingery and just full of flavor.

My all-time favorite tea culture... oh who am I kidding, my all time favorite culture period, is Turkish. And the tea culture there is a big part of that love. They are the number one consumer of tea in the world, above Morocco and Ireland!

Their small glasses on these little plates are served everywhere, and cost next to nothing. One young man I met said he drinks over 30 a day!I'm on the hunt for a Turkish Tea set, which has a special two-piece teapot so that I can drink this tea all the live long day.

The books I read when I'm settling into my tea ritual change with my mood, where I happen to be and the assorted titles I find at used book shops, thrift stores, free libraries, and trade shelves in hostels. I don't care where I find them, I'm just going to read them.

Chai right off the street in India could not have been better. The man making it, that was all he did. Small glasses of piping hot, spice filled tea that burnt so good.  

This was the very first cup of tea I had outside of the North American Continent in Wellington NZ. And yes I do remember where I had most of these.  

 Look, more toast....

Here is my all time favorite tea strainer, because it fits every cup, ever... 

The tea on the left ended up on the boobs on the right because I don't always remember where my mouth is...                                   

I won't bore you with all the books, avocado toast et al...

I will say that Pu'er,  a variety of Chinese fermented tea, the aforementioned Genmaicha, and Turkish tea (çay) are my morning ritual teas because if I have too much caffeine afternoon I'm blitzed by evening and can't sleep.

For those afternoons I find a strong ginger tea from an Asian Market, for after lunch. Apple Spice Tea and Bengal Spice Tea from Celestial Seasonings are where it is at for me the late afternoon, right now.

(Did I mention I worked for Celestial Seasonings for a few months about 22 years ago? Guess what my job title was...has to do with tea and what tea comes in...)

Someday I hope you'll join me for a cuppa with toast and we'll discuss literature and maybe, just maybe, that job I had.