My nightstand book is still Lisa See’s Dreams of Joy, the sequel to Shanghai Girls; but like most Thursdays, I’m coming to this tea party as a bit of a meandering reader. So, as my husband would say, walk with me:
On the corner of my writing hutch is where I keep my reading book pile—books that I either want to read or have a need to pick up at a moment’s call. (A visual reminder is here courtesy of Write Place, Write Time tumblr.) I just finished reading the galley of my friend Sarah Jio’s second novel The Bungalow and it’s sitting pretty atop my stack. The cover is… gorgeous! The yellow hibiscus, so startling and lovely, my eye is continually drawn to it. My peripheral vision obviously took a subliminal toll on my stomach because I’ve been unendingly thirsty all day. (FYI—August is a month of wicked dehydrating heat in El Paso.) So I went to my cookbook collection in search of a fruity beverage. Well, we all know I’m a Puerto Rican girl, which isn’t the same as Bora Bora featured on Jio’s cover, but hey, it’s tropical. Years ago, my grandma gave me her Doña Irma cookbook and I thought it the perfect place to look. I thumbed through the recipes, reading not just the printed entries but my grandma’s handwritten notes in the margins: “1 TB more salt than recipe calls,” “add tsp. of sofrito makes it even better,” “made this for party, very good,” etc. As well, the dozens of paper snippets she’d tucked between the pages. I ended up reading for forty-five minutes before reaching my destination chapter: Bebitas. The book made me wonder what my grandparents are doing on the island right now. My grandpa is probably listening to the radio and getting ready to feed the chickens. My grandma is no doubt crocheting while lunch cooks and already thinking about what to make for dinner. I love that I come from people who remind me that life at its simplest is best. In the end, I bookmarked the page for a fruity strawberry pineapple rum smoothie. It’ll be a great recipe to make when I have friends over to celebrate something. For now, however, a simple cup of spicy iced tea sounds just right. I made a mental note to call Aibonito. I want to hear how my grandpa’s garden is looking these days. The island’s national flowers, red hibiscuses, are in bloom.
I added a bag of Twinings Christmas Tea to my usual sun tea pitcher. Maybe I’m missing the yuletide cheer, the cooler months, sweaters and fires and a day without sweat. I tell myself it’s the cinnamon and cloves, spice to my regular cup. But deep down, my subconscious is craving a little fa la-la, la-la. Here’s the word from our Twining’s sponsor:
Christmas Tea starts with a selection of our expertly blended black tea and infused with the traditional spiced flavors of cinnamon and cloves. The tea has a spicy aroma that will get you in that special holiday mood. Enjoy black or with milk and sweetener for a special holiday cup.
Yes, it’s August with no holidays in sight—even more reason to sip the season.
Sarah’s Sipping Summary:
Hmm… this is my best stab at a reading-sipping correlation: 1) Not to give too much plot information away, but there is a wonderful Christmas scene in The Bungalow. 2) Cinnamon and cloves are semi-tropical. Doña Irma employs them in many recipes as does my grandma. She makes coquito with coconut milk, cinnamon and rum, which my husband enjoys as a slushee in the summertime. So I believe my Christmas tea hits the spot today.
Cheers, m’dears! Sarah