Good Enough to Put Your Name On

Once, last year when I was pregnant, my husband and I had Chipotle for dinner.  He ate his whole burrito. I ate half of mine.  I put mine in a container in the fridge with a note that said, “Do not eat this burrito.  If you eat it, you will be stealing your baby’s food.”

In the same vein, my friend Colleen is one of the most generous people I know.  She lives in community at a Catholic farm in West Virginia, where she, her husband and a  handful of other year-rounders play host to hundreds of volunteers every year.  She is a master at cooking food for a crowd.  And, sometimes, she puts her name on her food.

So, what is it about certain foods that turn normally mild-mannered women into petulant 3-year-olds, yelling, “Mine!” while clinging to a beloved box of truffles?  Well, it’s not a character flaw.  It is simply a sense that certain foods and beverages deserve special treatment and savoring.  I don’t want my husband scarfing my burrito at 11pm when he could just as easily make a peanut butter sandwich.  Similarly, volunteer coming across some tangerine Spritzers in the fridge would probably not recognize that they were imported from the nearest Trader Joe’s, which is four hours away. Which brings me to the tea.


When I received this Kusmi iced tea sample in the mail, I could tell it was fancy, and not just because the 12 or so press releases that accompanied it told me so.  All the flavors were listed on the side in French, with tiny English translations underneath.  Also, I did not recognize several of the ingredients, including bergamot, Nanah mint leaves and guarana.  And why was liquorice spelled with a q?

I love tea, and I really, really love iced tea, so I got excited and started brewing.  I began with “Sweet Love,” which is composed of black tea, guarana, spices and pink pepper.  The instructions said to “put 2 tea bags into 1/4 litre of pure simmering water.”  The good folks at Google told me that 1/4 liter is about one cup.  I don’t think DC tap water is what was meant by “pure,” but it’s what I’ve got, so I went with it.  I was then instructed to pour the “resulting infusion” into a 1 liter carafe filled 3/4 full with ice cubes.  No carafes here, a plastic pitcher had to suffice.

The tea was finally ready, and so was I.  I pretended I was tasting a fine wine, sniffing, swishing, savoring.  And let me tell you — it was good.

Then I went online and looked at the price.  Whoa. $21.95 for a back of 24 tea bags.  When I relayed this info to my husband, his comment was, “I guess you shouldn’t drink it when you’re thirsty.”  For subsequent pitchers, I upped the boiling water to a potful and made closer to a gallon, and it still tasted delicious.  I’m not sure if it was 6 times better than Celestial Seasonings, but still, it was great.  So far, my favorite has been the strawberry green tea.  I look forward to serving others of these delicately scented teas at parties throughout the summer, because this is certainly a special occasion tea.  Until then, I will hide it behind the Lipton, possibly with a sign that says, “For appreciative tea drinkers only.”

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