Saturday, September 17, 2022

Tea, communism, and smoke



I received a whiff of my childhood this week, thanks to Amazon and communists.

          When I was a little girl, I remember our family went periodically to a local Chinese restaurant. It was just in a small shopping center, but it was a magical place with bright red tasseled lanterns overhead and for dessert we were given not just fortune cookies, but flat round almond cookies, too, with an almond in the center.

          Not only are the almond cookies long gone in today’s restaurants, but so is the tea. I haven’t seen anything but Lipton for years, a sad substitute for the jasmine tea that we would drink from tiny handle-less cups that were too hot to pick up.

          The closest my grocery store can come is green tea with jasmine, which doesn’t cut it at all. On a whim, I extended my search to a bigger world, and lo and behold, our communist friends in China were offering the very thing.  

A little dented, but tasty

Fortunately, it’s in an enormous tin, so if we shut off all trade to China, I’m probably all set for what remains of my lifetime.

      Another favorite of mine, lapsang souchong, first came about because of civilians fleeing the soldiers of the Qing dynasty in 1646, who had to dry their fresh tea leaves quickly over a fire. It was later sold to Dutch traders who realized this tea held up better over the long journey home. Instead of being kiln-dried like most other black teas, lapsang souchong has a distinctive smoky flavor.

          Unfortunately, unless I can locate a producer with a different method, I may have to skip this one since it’s been banned in Europe as a possible carcinogen.


  1. Oh the memories. Growing up we very rarely ate at restaurants. Chinese restaurants were an occasional exception. I do like lapsang souchong and don't thank you for that information.
    As an aside, I cannot remember ever being given a fortune cookie. I don't think they exist here.

    1. It might still be possible to find lapsang souchong that's been produced through safer methods. I hope so!

  2. I once dated a man who prided himself on his food knowledge. He waxed enthusiastic over the beautiful tea at an oriental restaurant one night, until his son, sick of hearing him said "Knock if off, Dad. It's Lipton's!" Which it was.

  3. I don't recall ever going to a restaurant as a child. We bought fish and chips and took the paper wrapped parcel home and Chinese restaurants weren't around back then, not in a small country town anyway. We rarely drank tea, when we did it was Bushell's loose leaf tea, mum would make a potful and drink it with lemon and honey added.

  4. I remember the taste of lapsang souchong tea very well. I don't miss it, but it seems possible I might be better off for not drinking it. I drink Lipton's every morning, but now my tastebuds are so old they don't mind it a bit. Anything else would be wasted on me. I love hearing your memories of times gone by.

  5. We ate out every Thursday night because that and Sundays were the maid/cook's days off. Chinese was never on the list of restaurants though. I do like jasmine tea when I eat at Chinese restaurants.


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