Monday, March 30, 2009

California Tasting

Each time I return, I convince myself that I must have imagined it. Can a place really be so perfect?

Well, I’m back again, and the answer is yes.

I’m on the southern California coast, and just a quarter turn of my head presents me with the ocean. Another quarter turn – rolling green hills dripping in sunshine.

And the food – words fail me, you lucky, lucky Californians! California cuisine is fresh, gently handled and absolutely delightful – even my poolside veggie sandwich consisted of lovely mixed greens and light mozzarella cheese on whole grain bread, lightly brushed with olive oil. I enjoyed all of my salad greens, felt each one interact differently with the mix of lemon juice and cilantro and spices. There was simply no need to douse, sauce, fry, smother, or hide this food.

And what does this have to do with tea? I’m getting there, my friend. Eating this way reminds me how to eat and drink always and everywhere – mindfully and with total attention and awareness. As you know, I always advocate drinking tea in just this way.

So, be still with that cup in your hands. Sip, wait, breathe. How does the ginger interact with the fennel and licorice in this cup of tea. And in that cup, how does it interact with the mint? How does that black tea feel on your tongue – and how is it different from the green? This sort of mindfulness while tasting tea is a meditation of sorts, a way to be entirely in the present moment. So, baby, sip, consider, savor your tea.

--Chai, Baby!

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