While the hubbub of the holidays made me neglectful of my blog and my Thursday Tea Parties, it did afford many plane hours, which corresponded to many reading hours. So I finally finished (yeah, I know, how long did it take me??) Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers and oh, was it deserving of every minute. A story with characters as complex and lovely as the flowers it detailed. I thoroughly enjoyed it, reading right through the Acknowledgements as my plane landed at the end of my journeys. I love it when the reading muses orchestrate such divine timing.
To start 2012, I’ve finally cracked the cover of the highly acclaimed novel by Téa Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife. My editor for The Baker’s Daughter and The Time It Snowed In Puerto Rico called it her “book I loved and lost.” On that recommendation alone I immediately put this on my reading stack. Then it became a National Book Award Finalist and one of the top bestsellers of 2011, and I felt like the only person on the planet who hadn’t read it. So first things first in 2012, I’m remedying my reading insufficiency.
This officially being the month that The Baker’s Daughter releases (huzzah!), I’m not entirely sure how swift my reading will be. I never-never-never rush reading excellent stories. It’s easy to breeze through books that are ho-hum but great books—I let my imagination simmer on every page. So you may be hearing about The Tiger’s Wife for some time. I hope that’s okay by all of you.
I should also mention that I’m reading Gwyneth Paltrow’s My Father’s Daughter daily in preparation of dinner. It was a gift from Santa. I’ve already read the entire cookbook (as is my way) once and am now going back in to give the recipes a go. I absolutely love Gwyneth’s philosophy on food and cooking, and all the personal stories about her father and family that accompany the recipes. I have yet to find someone who mirrors my own food choices and beliefs as closely as she does. For once, I can follow the recipes without the need of substitutions. Thank you, Gwyneth! If you are a meat-conscious, organic, fresh-is-best, chicken-n-seafood locavore health nut like me, you’ll treasure this cookbook too.
For Christmas, my younger brother gave me the most amazing gift—a box of tea goodies! Feel free to imagine how this lady squealed when she tore off the wrapping paper: a new one-cup teapot, fancy silver teaspoons, a selection of premium tea leaves and much more. So at this first tea party of the New Year, I’m drinking Steven Smith Teamaker’s Kandy Blend No. 23 and it is supa-delicioso! (Good pick, baby bro!) Here’s the description from the package:
Named after one of the most beautiful cities in Sri Lanka, Kandy brings together three unique Ceylon teas in one cu. We join full and flavory Dimbulla with highly aromatic and intense Uva and lightly scented high-grown Nuwara Eliya. A tea made for sipping with pleasure all day.
According to the directions, this tea is to be steeped for a full 5 minutes, which produces a burnt orange color with a sweet, floral aroma. The taste echoes the floral/citrusy aroma but gives a hearty sip that reminds me slightly of the earthiness you get from Portobello mushrooms. It’s quite satisfying. While I’m not usually drawn to Ceylon teas, this No. 23 has converted me! I don’t fancy teas that are too floral or light. I like a bold brew. A tea with girth of spirit. The same is true of my fiction preferences.
Sarah’s Sipping Summary:
It’s the earthiness of this cup that makes it a nice accompaniment to my current reading. Téa’s novel begins with references to The Jungle Book, exotic animals and a grandfather. My senses mingle the smell of leafy trees, dark soil and hidden streams with men’s spicy aftershave and a tobacco pipe—mystery and magic alongside the familiar. Likewise, with each spicy sip, I’m reminded of the twinkle of Christmas lights and the laughter of my family over warm mugs.
Cheers to a stupendous and blessed 2012 for us all!