Each book that I have read this year has been a firm or gentle exploration of the philosophical ideas underlying race, gender, human rights, and more. In The Second Sex (part 1) by Simone de Beauvoir, we focus on women and their role as human beings first and functioning members of society second. Realistically, my expectation of this text was that it would be dense and a slower read for me, and I was right. That’s not to say that reading at a steadier pace connotes a boring read, but the subject matter was one for which I felt the need to draw in as much as I could, instead of reading in a rush.
The Second Sex (part 1) by Simone de Beauvoir
Simply put, The Second Sex acts as a detailed examination of the state of being a woman and interpreting woman as “other.” Simone de Beauvoir was an existentialist, and her view on the separation between a human’s ‘essence’ and their ‘being’ is exposed early on as she refers to the female as prey.
“The female is the prey of the species; for one or two seasons, depending on the case, her whole life is regulated by a sexual cycle–the estrous cycle–whose length and periodicity vary from one species to another.”
This situated the rest of part one to focus on the idea of defense, a role women have been playing for centuries. Through her explorations of biological, historical and literary analysis, de Beauvoir begins to unravel the depths of the figure that is woman and her treatment both by external figures and herself. I deem this twentieth-century book as a primary resource in juxtaposition to the clouded view our twenty-first century continues to have about feminism and women’s rights. Women throughout history have been subjected to explicit and corroding subordination, which de Beauvoir comments upon, as well as how women’s subservience was a manipulation and form of slavery. She also discusses how woman is deeply rooted in art and thinking, yet she is on the fringes, and in order for their to be real, lasting changes in the women’s movement, woman must be at the center of society, deeply immersed. Simone de Beauvoir’s confidence in the subject matter, factual declarations and intimacy with the subject–for which she spent fourteen months researching–captured me. Additionally, I’m inspired and in awe of de Beauvoir herself, as this book was written and published in the late 1940s, a time period in which feminism was just blinking its eyes again for change. She was and continues to be a spearhead for the feminist movement and an exceptional figure of strength.
“There is no way to directly oblige a woman to give birth: all that can be done is to enclose her in situations where motherhood is her only option: laws or customs impose marriage on her, anti-conception measures and abortion are banned, divorce is forbidden. These old patriarchal constraints are exactly the ones the U.S.S.R. has brought back to life today; it has revived paternalistic theories about marriage; and in doing so, it has asked woman to become an erotic object again: a recent speech (late 1940s) asked Soviet women citizens to pay attention to their clothes, to use makeup, and to become flirtatious to hold on to their husbands and stimulate their desire.”
Now at the precipice of change, men and women must decide if their strengths combined can create a unified front for equality among sexes. Solidarity.
Some facts and extra commentaries from the text:
- Antifeminism strikes in the early 17th century.
- “In 1906, 42 percent of working-age women (between eighteen and sixty) worked in farming, industry, business, banks, insurance, offices, and liberal professions. This movement spread to the whole world because of the 1914-18 labor crisis and the world war.”
- “The most oppressed minorities in a society are readily used by the oppressors as a weapon against the class they belong to; thus they at first become enemies, and a deeper consciousness of the situation is necessary to that blacks and whites, women and male workers, form coalitions rather than opposition.”
As for edibles, I decided before finishing the first part of this book that a delightful cup of calming tea would be best. After taking in such heavy material, there could be nothing better than calming your mind and relaxing with a cup of tea. I searched my tea drawers and discovered that though I have many calming blends, I wanted to make one of my own that spoke to what my palette was yearning for. Many chamomile tea blends are mixed with hibiscus flower, lemongrass or other citrus notes, but I wanted to create something smooth, sweet and with a hint of vanilla. I took inventory of what I had on hand and stocked up on what I needed–thanks to the Mr. for doing some last-minute shopping for me while I scurried around trying to get everything together. I made dried chamomile flower the base of the tea, accented it with rooibos, and the rest is tea history. When you’re digesting the wrappings of de Beauvoir’s ideas, sip on this tea to enhance the educational and enlightening experience.
Thoughtful Dreamy Tea
- 2 tbsp dried German chamomile flower [or any type of dried chamomile flower]
- 1 tbsp loose rooibos tea
- 1 tsp dried lavender flower
- 2 inch piece of vanilla bean [seeds scooped out]
- 1 tbsp dried currants
- 1 gram powdered stevia [about 1 individual package]
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl
- Bring filtered or spring water to a boil
- Measure about 3 tsp of the tea mixture into a tea infuser [I used a biodegradable tea bag and stapled the top]
- Place the infusing device or tea bag in your teapot
- Pour water (12 oz) over tea bag and cover
- Let steep for 5 minutes
- Pour tea in your favorite cup, sip and enjoy a thoughtful, dreamy night’s sleep or afternoon nap.
- Feel free to reuse the tea mixture 2 or 3 times (flavor will change with each brew)
- Use a higher tea-to-water ratio for a stronger tea
- 1 1/2 tsp tea mix per 6 oz water
- I enjoyed this tea hot, but you could brew the tea and chill
“To say that woman was the Other is to say that a relationship of reciprocity between the sexes did not exist: whether Earth, Mother, or Goddess, she was never a peer for man; her power asserted itself beyond human rule: she was thus outside of this rule.” [about the Golden age of Woman being a myth]
The Second Sex (part 1) imbues an intellectual sturdiness and prowess that challenges both men and women to recognize patriarchy’s role in history and asserts that women’s rights are human rights to be addressed by all. I’m very happy to have finally read this book (at least the first part) and I’m looking forward to jumping into the second part at a later date. Let me know how your tea concoctions turn out and what you think of the recipe. It’s my first time experimenting with making my very own tea combination and I look forward to hearing your opinions and critiques. Join me in my next reading selection, Blankets by Craig Thompson, for a trip down the graphic road once again. And remember…bite responsibly!
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.
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?
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.
Fresh Mint Tea
- 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)
- With a sieve handy, pull mint leaves from each sprig and place them into the sieve. Rinse with cool water to remove any dirt
- 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)
- 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)
- Allow leaves to steep for approximately 8 to 10 minutes
- If teapot strainer is housed within teapot, your choice of allowing leaves to remain (what I did) or removing them.
- Pour and serve. Enjoy with a friend, partner or in solitude.
I hope you enjoy this cup of tea and remember…bite responsibly!
Healthy and Mindful Regards,
What’s new? I’ve been absent in posting this last month and then administratively, my site was down, but here I am now, and ready to talk about TEA!
I can’t write enough about how much tea means to me. I hate to place so much power on an object, really, but there’s something disturbingly refreshing, replenishing and delightful about tea. I don’t mean to belabor the ‘object’ as an issue, but I think in American society, though tea has its popularity, it is often overlooked and gazing eyes settle onto sodas, coffee or even energy drinks. Not to project a nauseating elitism, but I must say none of those drinks, the occasional teeny cup of black coffee straight from our press is the exception, does it for me. I must admit, due to my barista past, I do have a bit of a squishy spot for coffee: the scent is intoxicating, the graceful oily top layer is mesmerizing, and of course for most–not me–the caffeine liberates.
However, coffee is no tea substitute.
I’ve decided, and happily so, to give tea the power to aid and transform a blossoming mood, be it decisive or doubtful. This is because tea, for me, makes all the difference. There is something terribly magical and exquisite about the dainty nature of the leaves. The aroma, even before brewing, is intoxicating. I find the infinity of selection both daunting and comforting. A person could become easily entrenched in the plethora of products available to ‘help’ your tea enjoying experience. But, simply a teacup, some filtered water and those leaves is all you need to be on your way to your own kind of transformative and magical tea palace.
I’m sure tea, in the great canvas of life, is a relatively frivolous topic to write about for some, but for me, it envelopes so much of what it means to be me and why I have an affinity for writing about the milieu that is the comestible world. I just wanted to say, what a difference a cup of tea makes!
What are your experiences with tea? I was thinking it would be fun to share pics of your tea experiences these days and how it is transforming your day. Post the pics with the hash-tag #teacanvas
Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait to see all the beautiful pictures you’ll be sharing! And remember…bite responsibly.
Check out more Kitchen Letters here!
Good morning everyone and happy Friday!
Most days, there is nothing I enjoy more than a hot cup of tea–this even includes hot summer days–and the beauty of tea is, it’s really what you make it. There are many varieties and variations and that’s part of what is so exciting to me; the diversity. Much to my surprise, I found out that January is National Hot Tea Month, which is both frivolous and exciting at the same time. A month entirely devoted, for those interested, to tea… how lovely!
Here is the tea latte I’ve been hooked on lately. This warm beverage will delight your palate for sure.
Rooibus Tea Latte
- 1 tsp loose-leaf rooibos tea/8 oz liquid or 1 tea bag (if preparing for one person)
- 2 or 3 drops liquid stevia or 1/2 bag of powdered stevia or another sweetener as you see fit
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
- Measure out loose-leaf tea into infusion ball or biodegradable tea bag and place at the bottom of your favorite mug
- Drip stevia over the top of bag or, if using powder, hold
- Heat up a kettle with hot water
- While water begins the boiling process, begin to heat almond milk in a small sauce pan over medium heat
- Add vanilla extract to milk
- Begin whisking milk constantly until a light foam has been created (whisk longer if you want a more airy drink– like a cappuccino)
- When the kettle whistles, pour a small amount of hot water over the rooibos tea, just enough to barely submerge tea bag and cover for 4 or 5 minutes
- Once milk is hot and tea has steeped, remove the tea bag and quickly pour steamy, foamy milk over tea
- At this point, stir in the powdered sweetener if this is the alternative you’re using
- Sip and enjoy!
Definition of Tea (Merriam-Webster)
: a drink that is made by soaking the dried leaves of an Asian plant in hot water
: a similar drink that is made by using the dried leaves of another kind of plant
: the dried leaves that are used in making tea
The scoop on Rooibos tea
The tea I used:
Shaman’s Secret Organic Tea by Serengeti Teas And Spices – A shop in Harlem, New York
Ingredients: rooibos, hibiscus, lemon peel, strawberry, almond, pineapple, rose petals, lotus flower petals, white peppercorns, lemon verbena, elderflower, milk thistle, nettle
Today, I wanted to engage you all and ask what are your favorite teas? What could you not go a day or couple of days without? Do you create your own tea blends? Do you only use loose leaf or do you simplify with boxes of tea in an assortment of types? Do you drink mainly decaf herbal or caffineated and herbal? What’s your tea personality? I want to know!
And remember…bite responsibly!
sources: Cornell University
Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of peppermint is winter holidays growing up. Once a year, I could open the freezer and I knew there would be peppermint ice-cream in the freezer, something that I used to enjoy exclusively with my mother. It would be green with lovely red and white chucks of peppermint candy crammed in every crevice like little glaciers –once in your bowl–waiting for discovery. Why I like eating something this cold in cold weather, I will never entirely understand, but there are some things in life I think we shouldn’t question or over analyze, and this for me, is an embossed moment, not to be tampered with. Granted, I don’t eat the conventional types of ice-cream any more, for obvious reasons, but this idea still remains a nostalgic strong-hold in my mind. I’ve yet to experience another ice-cream quite like this one.
I’m also reminded of a conversation I had with my oldest brother just a twinkle ago, about how peppermint candy came to be. Why would something that started out so herbal and green transform at some point into a delightful symbol of a season, a feeling, a moment? I’ve dug into this idea and here is what I’ve discovered. One beginning of the peppermint candy started in the US with the ‘Peppermint Kings‘ (illustrious growers), that has such a regal ring to it, doesn’t it? Skip past numerous inventions of mint gums (Wrigley falls into this bracket), in the early 20th century, came the invention of the first mint hard candy by Clarence Crane. It was supposed to resemble a life saving device with red and white stripes. The popularity of mint or peppermint candy rose until the 195os when the crops were jeopardized by verticillium wilt. However, the origin of the peppermint cane or stick that we now know dates back to Europe in the 17th century. A choirmaster in the 1670s was noted for bending her mint candy sticks at the tip to resemble a shepherd’s staff, and they were handed out to the children. Later, the red stripes were added sometime before the 1900s but nobody seems to know where this tradition exactly started. What does this tell me? Mint, something so simple, has spread globally for one main reason, its pure flavor and reach. I hope you’re reading this brotha!
Now, it’s thought that the peppermint herb originated in England and gained more commercial insight as time passed. My interest at this point is to refocus on the non-candy use of mint and how it plays a role in my life in could in yours.
What’s Up Peppermint, What Do You Do?
Woody Allen – Sleeper (1973)
Maria Bamford – Paula Dean skit (2012)
I hope some of this will be helpful to some of you in the coming days, weeks, months and years to come. Remember, all of our bodies are different If you have any additions to what I’ve stated, please let me know, I would enjoy hearing from you. Understand that keeping our body strong is something that should and easily can be an ongoing process. Respecting those around you, the source of your food in connection to its proper season and the quality of its nutrients is an optimum way to keep your body and mind aligned with the earth and its effects on you and those you love.
And remember…bite responsibly…especially right now. ^____-
Good Afternoon Everyone,
Ya know those lovely yellow flowers and wispy white cloud puffs that start to cover your yard–or other people’s yard for that matter–in the Springtime? They are often thought of as simply weeds, but this pretty gem is known as the Dandelion Flower (taraxacum), is a herb to be appreciated. Who knew foraging could become as simple as stepping in to your front or back yard?
It is always okay to nourish your bodily organs. They are of course, what keep your external organs looking smashing, so why not help them out by having an extra cleanser to lend a hand. Whether or not you think your diet is absolutely ‘pure’ or you know you’re treading scary dietary waters, it’s important to keep in mind that we often abuse our liver and gall-bladder in many ways. Dandelion actually tones the organs of your body, which is a wonderful benefit as we age. Just as our external changes, so does our internal.
How to prepare:
A few ways…
After perusing a bit online here are just some of the many benefits from drinking dandelion root tea:
So, whether your drinking this tea as a regular body maintenance tool, or you’re trying to pet your organs after a night of drinks and desserts, dandelion tea is a must. I plan on planting some more contained dandelion very soon in some pots, and I’ll keep you all up-to-date on how it’s coming along. More soon on my little vegetable garden too. 😀
Now, go and brew yourself a cup of tea and savor every last cleansing quality. Oh, and let me know what you think and if you see any benefits.
And remember…bite responsibly!