A Haiku Tea

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Welcome.  Come in and join me as I brew some tea!  I hope you’ve brought your favorite Haiku poem to share.

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A Haiku consists of three lines.  The beginning and ending verses each contain five moras (similar to syllables), while the middle has seven.  Sometimes this varies after translation, as Haiku poetry originated in Japan.  Kobayashi Issa, considered one of the greatest Haiku masters, penned this:  “Everything I touch, with tenderness alas, pricks like a bramble.”

I was delighted to discover the above Haiku by Shiki.  It reminded me of time spent with my beloved mother.  She grew up memorizing poetry in school–lots of poetry.  I think our modern education system misses the boat by not requiring this of today’s student.  She could recite poems of any length – right up through her eighties.   Some of her repertoire, like those verses passed down from her civil war era ancestors, has been lost to time, but most remains well known and familiar.  I grew up with the words of Dickinson, Coleridge, Wordsworth, etcetera, being spouted at opportune moments!

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What about the persimmons?  you ask.  There are two types of this fruit.  Don’t confuse the large, yellow or orange imposter, seasonally available in grocery stores, with what we had at home.  Our persimmons were harvested in late fall, after most of the leaves were gone from the trees, and baked into highly prized puddings.  There are even festivals dedicated to this wild, small brown delicacy.

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Three large, ancient trees stood on the edge of our garden.  Come fall, we’d lay plastic sheets down around their bases and let the wind do the work, collecting our prizes at the end of each day.  By the way, deer also loved this fruit and would always beat us to what hung from the lower limbs during the night.  If the fall breeze didn’t meet our quota, we’d throw sticks up into the high branches, knocking down more of the loose crop.  Not only did Mom bake delicious puddings, she froze the pulp in order to make persimmon ice cream.  I recently made my way up to the old garden but found that the trees were, unfortunately, no more.  I forgot that over thirty years had slipped by since those crisp autumn days when we collected the tiny treasures.

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Let’s get back to today’s tea.

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A few years ago, I enjoyed a meal in one of our local Chinese restaurants.  The place was a bit hoity toity, but had excellent tea.  I always order hot tea in these spots to accompany the food.  When I complemented the waitress, she was kind enough to give me a stash of tea bags to take with me!  IMG_3677crop sizedRevolution’s Citrus Spice Herbal Tea turned out to be the drink I so enjoyed.  I came home and brewed a cup.  Somehow, it didn’t provide the same experience as in the eatery.  That got me thinking.  The beverage I relished earlier that day came in a small, iron pot.  Could that make a difference?

Christmas rolled around and I let it be known I wanted an iron teapot.  My youngest boy chose one from World Market (see my blog Finding Your Happy Place) as his gift to me (such a sweetheart!).  A few days later, I put my new kettle to the test and, voilà, I had my perfect cup of tea!


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Today, I used my iron pot with a variety of loose leaves to brew our tea.  I utilized both the metal and a porcelain teapot for serving.  My brother gave me the floral set for Christmas when I was a young teenager, my very first real tea service.  I doubt he knew what he started when he chose that gift!  I still bring it out when we have Chinese food at home.

To make things easy, I purchased some sushi at a local store and added small squares of yellow cake for our sweets.


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   Let’s sit outside and enjoy the warm weather.  Do you have a favorite Haiku or any other poem you’d like to share?  Please do so!

This is my husband’s favorite Haiku:
“Stay the patient course
Of little worth is your ire
The network is down”

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  • When using an iron pot, employ a trivet to protect your work surface from the heat.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different teas and pots to perfect your brew.
  • Ask guests to join in the fun by contributing their own favorite poem, story, etc.
  • If the weather is good, move your tea party outside.

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Mother’s Persimmon Pudding

2 Cups wild persimmon pulp                             1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Cups sugar                                                          Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda                                   1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs                                                                     2 Cups milk
2 Cups flour                                                           4 Tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and butter a 13 X 9 inch pan.  Combine pulp, sugar, baking soda, & eggs, mixing well.  Add flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla, milk, & butter.  Stir.  Pour into pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.  Serve with whipping cream or ice cream.

Mother’s Easy Persimmon Ice Cream

1 Cup frozen wild persimmon pulp
Pet milk

Place frozen pulp in good, sturdy blender.  Cover with Pet milk & blend until consistency of soft-serve ice cream, adding additional milk as needed.  Serve immediately.  NOTE:  this makes a wonderful, smooth treat.  If you find the persimmons not sweet enough, add powdered sugar, to taste, before removing from blender.

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Thank you for coming!  I hope you enjoyed our time together.  If you have a favorite Haiku or other poem, don’t forget to leave it in the comment section.  I’d love to hear from you!

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Cinco De Mayo For Mom

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Come in!  I think you’ll enjoy this unusual tea.

A friend recently gave me homemade tamales.  Along with the traditional pork, chicken, and beef, she included delicious pineapple tamales for dessert.  On the West Coast, it seems that everyone loves these treats, and I especially appreciate the work that goes into them.   So, I had to share this unique flavor.  With Mother’s Day approaching, how better to give my guests some local favor and honor the moms amongst us?

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Many people make tamales at Christmastime and present them as gifts to friends and neighbors.  Tamales consist of three parts:  the filling (usually meat, but sometimes raisins for dessert), masa (dough), and corn husks.  The dough, made with corn flour, is wrapped around the filling and baked in husks.  Families often craft them in an assembly line fashion with multiple members participating.

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I’m a gringo and that rare breed, a native Californian.   My first experience with this wonderful ethnic food came as a child.  Neighbors presented us with dozens of tamales, including the raisin-filled dessert variety, as a Christmas gift.  My mother warmed them in the oven, per the given instructions, and served them for dinner.  I’m not sure how it happened, maybe because I was the youngest in a large family and no one paid me much attention, but I ended up eating them with the husks on!  I didn’t know to remove the corn husks first.

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Years later, I returned to California for my first real job.  The holidays came around and people began discussing tamales.  I made the statement, “I like tamales, but eating those husks is just too hard.”  Needless to say, stunned coworkers responded with, “W-H-A-T?”  I reiterated my remark and received an education on how to eat tamales, amid whoops of laughter.

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When my friend delivered the pineapple variety, something completely new to me, I was thrilled.  I’ve added some whipped cream and sliced strawberries to spruce up the plates and brewed a mild pineapple tropical tea to enjoy with these south of the border indulgences.   I’ve thrown some Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass on the CD player to remind me of my youth and add to the fun atmosphere.

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  • Choose a color palette that will enhance your theme.
  • Flowers always add a fresh and lovely touch, especially when your table is scant.
  • When going an unorthodox route, choose a tea that compliments the food.
  • Remember to include music in your tea party. Don’t forget this important element when setting a mood!

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Happy Mother’s Day, Happy Cinco De Mayo, and don’t forget to remove the husks!
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