March 29th

theresa albert - my friend in food


Quali-Tea Time

Tea time

I am most decidedly a coffee drinker.  Each morning, my dear husband brings a good cup of java to my bedside.   I know that makes him sound very sweet and thoughtful (and, in fact, he is) but really, he does it for self-preservation.  He puts it down and then backs away slowly and quietly until my morning beast is calmed by the caffeine and I return to human form.

Being a coffee-lover, however, does not stop my ongoing affair with tea.  Though faithful to the bean in the a.m., I dally with all manner of fragrant leaves from green to black and everywhere in between throughout the day.  Sometimes it’s the flavour that appeals to me, other times it’s tea’s restorative qualities and more often than not, it’s the attached rituals that seduce me.

Tea has been hailed as a magical elixir; so much so that one would think it has the capacity to bring about world peace.  Certain teas have been linked to weight loss, reduction of cancer risk, aiding digestion, increasing metabolic rate and more.  Tea contains Catechins which, contrary to popular belief, have nothing whatsoever to do with Sunday school.   Catechins are a type of antioxidant which helps fight free radicals (wait, maybe that does have something to do with religion…).  Not only does this ancient beverage contain good-for-you compounds but, more importantly, the ritual of taking tea is, in essence, a mini-sabbath.

Lie back and think of England for a moment.  Tradition dictates that work stops for a brief time in the afternoon for workers of all ranks, from manual labourers to white collar desk jockeys, to take time out from their day to sip and snack.  In several Asian countries, the serving of tea is a careful and complex ceremony which requires one’s full concentration, an act which, in and of itself is akin to meditation.  As for high tea, what could be more fun than getting together with friends for a few hours of sipping a refreshing brew, noshing on finger foods and indulging in frivolous chatter?

Now imagine how creating a tea ritual of your own could enhance the quality of your life.  It’s time to wake up and smell the… tea leaves!



Ilana Waldston is the mother of two teenage girls who keeps sane by singing. A graduate of the prestigious International Cabaret Conference at Yale, she’s been delighting Toronto audiences with her comedic patter and well-honed ability to sell a song. She’s a self-professed foodie, loves to bake, travel and dine (often all at once) who sometimes sings of food in songs such as “My Diet Starts Tomorrow”, “Dieter’s Prayer” and “Foodblooz”. In addition to her solo work, she’s also a part of Toronto’s only female jazz quartet, The Satin Dolls...


2 Responses

    December 12, 2011 at 9:36 pm Reply

    Ilana, I love tea as well. Also a coffee fan. However I also love how tea can settle ones nerves, mind, heart! It is a ritual of sorts, a sort of hug or comfort when you need one anytime of day!

    December 12, 2011 at 10:12 pm Reply

    Yes indeed, Andrea! I’ve taken to using loose tea to extend the ritual a little (plus I think it tastes better). Isn’t it amazing that a few dry leaves and some hot water can change your outlook? A good cuppa suits me to a “tea”… :)

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