Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Other Favorite Mug

Some of my friends just got back from Ireland. Knowing me oh-so-well, they brought me back a mug with cute little Irish sheep on it -- and a box of authentic Irish Breakfast tea bags! The tea is rich and full-bodied and the mug -- while it won't replace Tweety -- has made it onto the display shelf where I am forced to put all the mugs and teacups that won't fit into any of my kitchen cabinets. (I do not have an addiction. When we have friends over in the winter, we regularly offer tea, so all my teacups are well-used).

If you are considering starting a winter tea-as-welcome tradition, start with strong flavors, which alway seem more acceptable when it's frigid out, and semi-medicinals to help ward off colds. You might consider having a tea caddy filled wth:

Orange Spice

Black Tea with Cinnamon

English or Irish Breakfast


Lemon Herbal or Chamomille

Flavored Green Tea (for the tea-drinker who won't try anything else)

Regular visitors to your home will soon tell you thier favorites -- and may even bring them along for you to have on hand!

My Favorite Mug

I've been ill for almost a month now. First I got the flu (no, I didn't get tested to find out if it was H1N1 or not), which turned to bronchitis, which has now mutated into some hideous sinus thing. In short, I've been living on orange juice and tea. This month nothing has made me feel better than hot Earl Gray in my favorite mug. It's not a teacup. It's not even an elegant mug. It's bright pink, oversized, really heavy, and it has a picture of Tweetie Bird on it. I guess when you're sick, there's really nothing like comforts remembered from childhood.

But there are legitimate reasons for drinking tea when you're sick. The American Society for Microbiology confirms tea's antimicrobial effects (and yes, that includes plain old black tea), which folk-remidists have long suspected. The article states that tea only inhibits certain kinds of bacteria, but they include some of the things that cause stomach problems and the bacteria that causes strep throat. The Society for General Microbiology has gone a step further, stating that green tea, when taken in conjunction with antibiotics, can increase the effectiveness of the antibiotics up to "99.99%." I guess that means that I'll have to switch from Earl Gray to the delicious strawberry green (As an added bonus, strawberries have tons of Vitamin C!) I got in Austin a couple of months ago. But I'm not switching the mug!