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February 16, 2008

Taking Tea

Filed under: Celebrity,Tea — Mr. Henry @ 2:50 pm


Not only has Mr. Henry been drinking tea in copious quantities, he has been thinking about it, too. A healing broth, tea is the drink of contemplation (and idleness?). If coffee is amplified music, tea is acoustic. Mr. Henry’s morningissawis-laws.jpg quart of English breakfast (with whole milk, no sugar) washes away yesterday’s misdeeds, physical and spiritual. A calm, hopeful, cerebral, and gentle infusion, tea hosts renewal.

“I often wonder who left mankind the greatest legacy, the Arabs for coffee or the Chinese for tea. I think, on balance, it was the Chinese, because one must be feeling healthy to take coffee, whereas one may take tea whether feeling sick or well.” — Charles Issawi (1916-2000).

Mohandas Ghandi drank tea, and surely he greeted his daily obligations with equanimity. Perhaps the quiet, strengthening properties of tea gave him a foundation for his remarkable stoicism, his capacity for hope in such a benighted country, his ability to fast for weeks without dying.barack-obama-bw.png

Running the race, in the past few months Barack Obama has suffered a loss of five pounds. Is he fasting until we accede to his demands for bi-partisanship? Please, Barack, if it didn’t work for the Mahatma, will it work for you?

For Mr. Henry, unburdened by such weighty matters, tea simply re-hydrates the body after its wrestling match with the nightly incubus. Tea reanimates his petrified vitals and permits the introduction of solid food. After a warming mug of tea, the world as reported in the New York Times looks remarkably less bleak.

At night, draining the last drops of wine from the glass, Mr. Henry sulks a bit at his self-imposed alcoholic limits and then brews a cup of mint tea (Tazo). In the night a cold glass of water with another bag of Tazo mint tossed in slakes his parched, 3:00 a.m. throat.

tazomint.jpgThe Founding Fathers drank it. They even launched a revolution over it. To arms, patriots! To arms! (Perhaps one more cup before taking the streets.)


  1. As my sainted mother used to say at the end of a weary day when she would sit down to have a “nice” cup of tea……”God bless tea”.

    Comment by gemdiva — February 17, 2008 @ 8:05 pm

  2. What’s more, there is nothing like the delicious concept of a quiet cup or five of tea in the afternoon, accompanied by something sweet like a small cake, muffin, scone or tart. Mr. Twistie, though, prefers a nice watercress or cucumber sandwich. That is also lovely.

    If these treats are shared with a novel by Jane Austen or Anthony Trollope, so much the better, so far as I’m concerned.

    Give me a cup of Darjeeling and some nineteenth century English prose, and you’re looking at one delighted camper.

    Comment by Twistie — February 19, 2008 @ 8:15 pm

  3. If it is the perfect and sublime cup of tea you are searching for, look no further than John Harney (harney dot com). They have a large selection of common, uncommon and truly exotic teas. I am sure that Mr. Henry would approve.

    Comment by teteatete — February 21, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

  4. Tea is wonderful. When I received two tea pots as wedding gifts (in addition to a kettle), I wondered whether I would ever use them. I used to make the trip back to the kitchen to the kettle every time I wanted another cup, but now I let it steep quietly in the teapot sitting on a trivet on my desk and pour myself cup after cup without leaving the comfort of my chair. It’s so much more civilized, whether the fragrant liquid is sweet, apple blossom-scented green, a hearty Irish breakfast black, or spicy peach and ginger.

    Comment by JaneC — February 23, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

  5. I do not drink any coffee, but copious amounts of tea. No sugar.

    Comment by Glinda — February 23, 2008 @ 11:34 pm

  6. A beautiful bit of prose about a beautiful drink.

    But is not an incubus the male demon who seduces women while they sleep? If Mr. Henry’s so chooses an incubus rather than a succubus, that is all well and good – but what would Mrs. Henry say?

    Though, now that I think of it, either one visiting my hubby would meet with my disapproval.

    Comment by eowyn_2 — February 25, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

  7. eowyn_2, you are a woman after Mr. Henry’s heart, for he likes nothing more than to receive deserved correction, although you need not be so gentle and solicitous in the future. The rod was not spared in Mr. Henry’s youth.

    Yes, an incubus is, as you describe, a male demon, and a succubus is a female demon forcing herself on a man, the one a genuine threat and the other an imaginary creature if ever there were one.

    Mr. Henry grapples with all manner of baroque creatures in the night, creatures that get weirder as the night progresses. This is why he rises so early and welcomes the new day. In the morning he can grapple with normal, everyday murder and mayhem as reported in the NY Times, a calm retreat from the visions of the night.

    Comment by Mr. Henry — February 25, 2008 @ 6:59 pm

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