How to Make a Proper Cup of Tea

I’m half British and so, like all folks of tea-drinking nations (here’s looking at you Pakistan, Afghanistan, Botswana, India (note: I separated Pakistan and India because they aren’t friends), Ireland, Wales, etc), my blood contains tea. Now, living in America, which I have done all my life, I’ve noticed that our tea-making ability is really poor. When I order hot tea in a restaurant, I get a huge pot of water and ONE teabag. ONE! And they’ll give me all the coffee I want but if I order tea, I get one teabag. Makes no sense. If I had the energy, I’d campaign for better tea in restaurants. Lets face it though, there are more important things to place my energy to, you know, like making sure everyone in the world had access to clean drinking water.

Anyway, Americans, in general, don’t know how to make a proper cup of tea. This is essential knowledge. I mean, what are you going to do if someone from a tea-drinking nation visits you and you hand them a pot of hot water and a tea bag? If you follow the steps I bring to you, you will be prepared to enjoy a good cup of tea.

There are two ways I know of to make a proper cup of tea. The uber-strong-cup-of-tea method and the-method-that-I-think-is-wrong-but-that-my-family-members-do. I will explain both.

The Method That All My Family Members Do But That I Think Is Wrong Method
Step One. Fill a tea kettle with fresh water.
Step Two. Put said tea kettle on stove.
Step Three. Turn burner onto high and boil water.
Step Four. While water is heating, put one teabag (black tea or assam tea only…. this does not taste good with chamomile or other herbals) into normal sized mug. If using a larger sized mug that us die-hard tea and coffee drinkers use, put two. One teabag is for wusses.
Step Five. Don’t watch aforementioned kettle. It will not boil if you do.
Step Six. When water finally boils (after you stopped watching it, of course), pour hot water into mugs with desired amount of tea bags in making sure you do pour over the tea bag. It’s important to saturate the tea bag for optimum results.
Step Seven. Wait four minutes.
Step Eight. After four minutes, steep the bag(s) for a minute or so.
Step Nine. Remove tea bags.
Step Ten. Add milk. Milk is important. It must be real cow’s milk and it has to have some fat in it but not too much. Do not use cream and do not use non-fat. I prefer 2%.
Step Eleven. Add sugar to your liking. Do not add sugar substitute because it’s gross and it’s very bad for you. You can substitute honey if you like. I recommend no more than three teaspoons of sugar. This isn’t diabetes tea.
Step Twelve. Enjoy!

The Method of Tea-Making That I Believe Is The Right Way
Step One. Turn on the hot water tap.
Step Two. Find largest mug in home.
Step Three. Put two black tea bags in largest mug and fill it with the hot tap water.
Step Four. Put aforementioned mug in microwave and microwave til boiling (3-4 minutes).
Step Five. After it’s boiled, take out of microwave and remove tea bag.
Step Six. Add milk. Again, milk is very important. Non-fat milk will destroy the beverage and it’s not worth drinking unless you’re desperate. Cream is too heavy. Also, when adding milk, it is necessary that you do not let it get too dark or too light. Think latte color.
Step Seven. Add sugar or honey.
Step Eight. Enjoy!

I hope this encourages you to go out and enjoy tea. It’s my favorite beverage in the entire world!

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Years Later, I Still Remember This Song

The things I learned from and loved about Sesame Street have not only stuck with me but have been useful. I can count to ten in Spanish without batting an eyelash.I knew my alphabet and numbers in preschool without a struggle. I could even spell my name. No doubt Sesame Street has been educational but it’s the songs I remember the most. Below are a few skits that I love:

Sunny Day:

This song pops into my head at least once a week… most particularly when I’m in my shower:

Every time I see someone crunch into an apple and it’s raining outside, this song gets stuck in my head:

I thought this skit was very annoying. I’ve rewatched it just now and realize, it’s pretty cool. Sometimes things just need time:

I loved Oscar the Grouch so much I named my Cabbage Patch Kid “Oscar.”:

If you say “neighborhood,” this song comes into my head:

Ok. That’s all for now. Enjoy the flashbacks!

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I Humbly Submit My Dish for “Worst Cooks in America,” Sir.

When the fiance asked me if I knew how to make beef stew this morning, I lied. I have never made beef stew in my life. That’s always been my mama’s job. So tonight, I am making beef stew for the first time in my life.

I started by trimming and cubing beef of some sort. I have no idea what cut it is. It’s a chunk of something. Then, I seared it over high heat in butter (butter is delicious!) til all the sides have browned nicely. The cubed beef are large so they did not cook inside. I should mention this all happened in an cast iron dutch oven because that’s pretty much the only thing one should use when making beef stew… unless using a slow cooker.

Because I’m mindless sometimes and didn’t think to cut veggies before cutting the meat, I had to sanitize all things and then cut the veggies. All of our veggies were getting close to going bad or so I thought. Win! It turns out that the fridge had managed to freeze all veggies. Note, it is very weird peeling a frozen carrot. Also note, green onions don’t fare well frozen. Also not sure green onions should go in beef stew given their size but in they went. As a matter of fact, in went all the fresh veggies we had because they were all starting to go bad. I’m sure I made it sound like a cornucopia of veggies but it was really only tomato and onion after that.

Remember how I told you I’ve never made beef stew? Well, that would mean I’ve never seasoned beef stew either. So. Remembering how mustard seed is delicious corned beef*, I added some. Well, I added quite a lot because there’s no shaker lid on the mustard seed bottle. Then, I added various other herbs**. Oh and I added garlic powder (peeling fresh garlic is pain) and salt. I just now realized I forgot pepper but that can be added at any time.

Lastly, I added water for steam and it’s now slowly cooking in the oven at 350 degrees (fahrenheit, not celsius, that would be too hot). I’m either going to make something delicious or make myself a candidate for Worst Cooks of America.

 

*corned beef stew sounds delicious! must put in mind for later dinners

**note to self: out of marjoram

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Yes, I Learned My Lesson

I got hacked. I was a little too trusting of my anonymity on the internet. I mean, who cares about my little old website, right?  And so, openly, I admit I didn’t give a gosh darn about my password or updating WordPress and so, consequently, I got hacked. Fudgesicle.

The joke, however, is on the hacker. The hacker’s attempt was to redirect as many people as they could to their website where the visiter can get malware downloaded into their computer. The malware is designed to capture key strokes and get your bank and credit card account passwords. The genius that is Google Chrome prevented the redirect. That’s not the “haha” moment I have though. The “haha” moment is that only spammers visit my site anyway.

Self-deprecating humor aside, I’m oddly happy this hack happened. This little old website, my vain attempt to keep www.nicolamae.com as my very own domain–my stamp in the world–has gone through many changes as I figure out what I really want to write about.  It started as a general site, posting my school-assigned poems, my thoughts, then it morphed into a Yelp-like site. Of course, then I discovered Yelp. So I changed it again when I became engaged to a site where brides and grooms can get ideas on budget wedding planning. Not only did I not stick to said budget (thanks to change in fortune), I also was uninspired. Truth is, I don’t really know what inspires the writer out of me. The hacker, in their attempt at a get rich quick scheme, didn’t hurt me (and hopefully anyone else), they helped me. I have a fresh start. You know, it’s Spring and a fresh start sounds really good.

I embrace this fresh start but this time, I’m locking things down. I indeed learned a valuable lesson.

 

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