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When I was in my early twenties, I visited New York City for the first time and found myself in front of the famed Plaza Hotel, home to Eloise, the fictional 6-year-old girl who lived at The Plaza and who drove both employees and celebrated guests crazy. As I walked through the lobby, I decided to stop at the Palm Court, where “Afternoon Tea” is a daily tradition.
Seated under an enormous stained-glass ceiling, I sipped tea, dined on cucumber sandwiches and tried not to eavesdrop on Yoko Ono and her friend, while a nearby string quartet played Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert.
For starters, let talk about what kind of tea to drink and why: Instead of the traditional, Earl Gray, it may be more beneficial to drink green tea, preferably decaffeinated, and organically certified, Chinese green tea. While several studies have shown some of the chemicals in green tea have antioxidant properties that could be a powerful weapon in our fight against breast cancer, other studies are not as conclusive. I don’t know about you, but as long as decaff green tea doesn’t do me any harm, taking time to relax, listen to music, sit back and close my eyes, or read a few chapters in a good book, is a welcome daily practice. Since many of the teas grown in China have been sprayed with unsafe levels of pesticides, organically certified teas are the only way to be sure your tea is safe to drink.
TO MAKE GREAT TEA:
Bring water—the better the water, the better the tea—to a boil in a non-reactive tea kettle. Pre-heat your ceramic or porcelain tea pot, or cup, with some of the boiling water and let stand until the vessel is warm, then pour out the water. Simultaneously, turn off the heat under the tea kettle and let the water cool for 60 seconds before pouring it over the tea. If using tea bags, add one per cup. Some people cover their tea pot or cup with a tea cozy to retain warmth. Let the tea steep for a minute or two, then taste frequently, taking care not to leave the tea bag in too long or your tea may become bitter.
Serve with lemon slices, but skip the milk, clotted cream and substitute honey for sugar. Make your favorite zucchini bread or blueberry muffins. If you don’t eat white flour, try substituting whole-wheat flour, or spelt, along with applesauce or honey for sugar.
As I write this, I’m drinking a new organic, decaff green tea from Whole Foods and thinking about Yoko Ono and her unique, sometimes wacky sense of fashion. That day at the Palm Court, she had on a gentlemen’s Victorian top hat, with a purple veil that wrapped around the crown and dipped down across one side of her face. For those of you who don’t know, or don’t remember, Yoko Ono is an artist, musician and widow of former Beatle, John Lennon. As I sit here, I’m listening to John Lennon’s iconic song, Imagine, and adding a new line of my own:
“Imagine there’s no cancer (sic). It’s easy if you try. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”
Listen to John Lennon’s voice and imagine… Play song from iLike.com