Kitchen Letters #9: Mindfulness and Mint Tea

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Dear morning muffins,

What’s new with you this week?  As I’m sure you have already noticed, this week I write to you about mint tea and a special state of mind.  It stands to reason that there is always space in our hearts and minds to discuss a refreshing cup of tea and to transcend whatever is ailing us currently, but somehow this space can become crammed with doubt and judgement.  In all honesty, I cannot say that the stronger, more meditative moments always overwhelm the weaker.

I begin this way to emphasize that sometimes, I find, it’s helpful to look outside of ourselves to gain temporary peace, even if for a moment.  I’m learning to stratify my best moments and allow them to germinate, and maybe, just maybe, a cup of mint tea is the catalyst in this experiment called life.  Too heavy?  Another thought then.

For over two years I’ve written about our connection to food and why this connection is significant for each person.  Our connection to food should not, at any time, be jettisoned.  Apathy is not the answer.  During a recent visit to a thoughtful and well-informed massage therapist, I was reminded of this.  Throughout my healing session, she and I began discussing Connect a Bite, but more importantly, what it means to connect to your food and be conscious and aware of what you’re eating and how it will affect not only you, but the environment, and other creatures therein.  She told me of the small farming town she grew up in, and how disconnected from what they ate most of the people in the town were.  She said, though many of the farmers within the community sold fresh produce, they ate very little of it, and that there was generally a “tough shit” mentality when it came to food.  What does this gruff and pithy idiom mean in relation to food?  I don’t think I can say what it meant to the members of her hometown, but I can tell you how I perceive this statement in relationship to the public at large.  The idea, eat what you’re given–no matter what it is–and be grateful. Another blatant aphorism that aligns with this thought, “beggars can’t be choosers”, essentially.  Perhaps this is a Southern mentality, but encouraging the stunting of one’s ability to be inquisitive is something I cannot abide.  Soon, our conversation became more about the present and our personal regard for what we’re eating.

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The truth.  It’s easy to allow the consciousness regarding your comestible choices to become a burden.  I’m sure there are times when many of you want to eject yourself from your aware minds and just be.  This I can sympathize with and very much relate.  However, I wouldn’t trade what many would classify as food neurosis for anything.  Maybe this is a burden I’m supposed to carry and maybe writing about and finding a way to connect you all to food is a part of my life path.  Maybe, I shouldn’t say “maybe”.  With mindfulness, it is within my best intentions to just be.

Why mint tea?

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Drinking tea is a state of mind.  It is with this thought I would like to share a cup of mint tea with you.  A truly clarifying experience that will brighten your mind, calm your heart, and enliven your spirit.  If you can’t get on board with any of that, at the very least it will help you slow down, even for just a moment.

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 Fresh Mint Tea

~full pot

Ingredients

  • 4 or 5 sprigs of mint (decrease or increase the amount based on the weakness or strength you prefer)
  • 2 to 3 cups hot, nearly boiling spring or filtered water (depending on your teapot size and how many sprigs you choose)

Instructions

  1. With a sieve handy, pull mint leaves from each sprig and place them into the sieve.  Rinse with cool water to remove any dirt
  2. Muddle leaves just enough to allow essential oils to release and then place the leaves into teapot strainer (take care not to demolish the leaves, as this could release the chlorophyll and introduce a bitter taste to your tea, not very pleasant)
  3. Bring water to a boil and pour over leaves making sure to quickly cover the teapot (this traps the essential oils in the tea rather than escaping into the air)
  4. Allow leaves to steep for approximately 8 to 10 minutes
  5. If teapot strainer is housed within teapot, your choice of allowing leaves to remain (what I did) or removing them.
  6. Pour and serve.  Enjoy with a friend, partner or in solitude.

For more thoughts on mint, check out The Mint and Food and Oral Hygiene.  Here’s more on Kitchen Letters.

I hope you enjoy this cup of tea and remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy and Mindful Regards,

RAM

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