Monday, March 17, 2008
I love the illustrations from Alice in Wonderland - especially the tea party! When Olivia & I were in India we always heard wherever we went: "masala chai?" We came to look forward to merchants and shopkeepers showing us carpets or crafts handing us a cup of the warm, sweet, milky tea spiced with cardamon and cloves, black pepper and star anise or ginger. It energized and refreshed us everywhere we went. Sometimes it was served in little clay cups that could be tossed after drinking the tea - India's answer to Styrofoam and a much better alternative don't you think? Ashes to ashes and dust to dust instead of half-life to half-life.
There is a wonderful book called oddly enough The Book of Tea and it chronicles the history of growing tea complete with exquisite photos and artwork and all the types of tea and how to brew them. I have the orignal edition printed in 1992 but Rizzoli is getting ready to reissue it in May. Above is a woman in India picking tea leaves. Like coffee picking and other exported beverages, the work is hard and the pay is small - the unions fight hard to gain rights and benefits for the people bringing that pot of Assam or Darjeeling to your neighborhood.