In the Genes

I think I remember writing some time ago about my mom and our relationship


For those not familiar with My Little Pony:

My dad's comment after seeing Brave was, "They even got the hair right!"


I did mention I got to appreciate her more once I moved out of the house. I love her. She loves me. And the differences are much easier to deal with in half day visits and phone calls. Her idea of the great outdoors is a mall with trees in the food court? Fine by me. I'll head to the local nature center later.

So during one of our visits I start talking to her about Japanese tea ceremony. It really can be quite complex, all the forms to memorize, the Japanese language skills. And then there are the related arts of kimono wearing, calligraphy, incense, tool making. She starts to look a bit glazed when I go on about all this and I mention she should come to one of the ceremonies they have at Shofuso, the Japanese house in Philadelphia. I'd try to arrange taking on a role as an assistant for that day, fully decked out in a formal kimono. After she gets done laughing at the idea of seeing me dressed in a kimono, she says she might come out to one, but she isn't sure. Is green tea the only option? Can she add sugar to hers.

I think I managed not to outwardly cringe. Green tea served at a formal Japanese tea ceremony is whisked up directly from powdered tea leaves. There are lots of beautiful nuances of flavor between different brands, growing locations, harvest times; nuances you'd miss with adding anything else. Sugar is NEVER added and neither is milk. I told her maybe I'd make a batch for her informally at home just for her to try rather than take the time to drive into Philly.

So later that day, she's out with me while I'm running some errands and we get to the supermarket. My mom makes a beeline for the tea section. Perplexed, I follow her. She paces up and down our local Wegman's pretty impressive tea section until she finds what she wants - an inexpensive brand of Earl Grey tea. I give a her weird look as she proceeds to empty the shelf of it, looking a bit like Daffy Duck in a cave filled with gold.

"Uh, mom. That's not exactly hard to find tea. You can get it at any supermarket."

"It's not just any Earl Grey tea. It's MY brand of Earl Grey tea. And it tastes better than any of the weird loose stuff you have. I'm always running out of it."

She goes on to wax lovingly about the variations in Earl Grey and how this particular brand has just the right sort of blend none other can match. She's actually pretty knowledgeable about flavor profiles, and she definitely knows what she likes. My mom marches to the check out counter like she's Indiana Jones carrying a sacred relic back to a museum. And I realize, though we are pretty different, we both take our tea time seriously. Very, very seriously.

Song Choice: Let's Call the Whole Thing Off preformed by Harry Connick Jr.

Picture, Earl Grey Dragon, used with 
kind permission of the artist, Brian Kesinger. 
See more of his super cute, tea themed art at his etsy shop


This post is part of the Mad Tea Party 2015 blog hop hosted by  A Fanciful Twist. Follow the link to see more fun tea themed blog posts

50 comments:

  1. I love the Earl Grey Dragon, and there is nothing like the smell of bergamot in Earl Grey Tea! I'll have honey and a bit of cream in mine!

    Linking from A Fanciful Twist,
    Happy Mad Tea Party!
    Ricki Jill

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do switch off of green tea and enjoy Earl Grey now and again. Bergemot is such a happy scent isn't it?

      Delete
  2. I love the Earl Grey Dragon, and there is nothing like the smell of bergamot in Earl Grey Tea! I'll have honey and a bit of cream in mine!

    Linking from A Fanciful Twist,
    Happy Mad Tea Party!
    Ricki Jill

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a wonderful thing to realize about your mom! I love the idea of tea as a bridge. Wonderful story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, it's kind of a thing now when we go shopping at Wegman's we hit the food court and get our preferred cuppas to go.

      Delete
  4. Nice write. :-)
    I can totally relate. My mother and I have been butting heads our whole lives. Having just spent three weeks with her on vacation, I can really, really, really relate.

    Also, talking about tea, the British take their tea very seriously. We made friends with some Brits on the boat and they were quick to tell us all the appropriate things to do. Don't put the milk in first. Don't put milk in while the tea bag is still in or you will get scum at the top. Try these teas and not those teas. Break open your scone with your hands, don't cut it. Put the clotted cream on first, not the jam or people will think you're from...(English town with a less than desirable reputation). It was interesting how every little thing had a right and wrong way to do it. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, the English have their rules too! I do enjoy a nice British high tea from time to time (tea sandwiches...yum!) I think I may try to get my mom to one of those places specializing in it, as long as Earl Grey is on the menu.

      Delete
  5. I've never had Earl Grey Tea. And I suspect that my unsophisticated tea palate might prefer your mom's choices. But we never know, right? Maybe you both can make me a cup. *giggles*

    I love this post: the tension, the reasons behind it, the lesson's learned... and most of all, your dad's comment after watching Brave, lol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Earl Grey is pretty good. There's a really lovely perfume in the bergamot that is just soothing. I would be happy to make you a cup of whatever you like as long as I get to taste some of your herbal blends too! :)

      LOL, my Dad laughed through most of the movie.

      Delete
  6. It's always nice to find some common ground.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. It's a lovely surprise sometimes.

      Delete
  7. Thank you for sharing your story. I can see you both are passionate about your interests - that's a great thing! :-)

    Please come to my party: http://www.moonlyf.com/2015/07/8th-annual-mad-tea-party.html

    ~♥Carmen♥~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One thing my mom and I have in abundance, it's passionate opinions!

      Delete
  8. Excellent! Totally relating with you here. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Delete
  9. Oh, I think a lot of us take our tea time seriously. ;-)
    Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lovely example of the differences in a Mom and her child and yet the strong similarities.
    thank you for sharing!
    Jemma

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's fun finding the common ground as an adult that I was so sure didn't exist when I was a young teen.

      Delete
  11. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this!- especially as I live just outside Phila. and have never been to the tea ceremony (gasp, sigh) now on the must-do list
    I'm an Earl Grey fan too so I can relate- they do vary- So nice you two can find common ground over a cup :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness, yes you should go! Here's the link for Shofuso http://www.japanesehouse.org/ The house is open for visits on the weekend and their calendar lists any special occasions.

      Delete
  12. Love it! Seems we might have similar relationships with our moms! Thank you for stopping by for tea at my party, too!
    God bless and Happy Unbirthday to you,
    Sherry - Sherry's Cabin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but it is a blessing to take joy in the commonalities at last, no matter what the differences.

      Delete
  13. what a great story! I too would butt heads with my mom over different things...not about tea, but about dolls- she liked to keep them in the box, I loved to take them out! LOL...tThank you for visiting the http://theonesixthscaledollhouse.blogspot.com Lisa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, Oh I don't think I could resist taking dolls out of their boxes either!

      Delete
  14. What a wonderful story, it especially hits home for those of us who have had a less than ideal relationship with our mothers! It's great you were able to discover something to agree on in the end. Thanks for sharing, I may never think of Earl Grey in the same way again! Ha! Cheers, Sarah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, since I discovered how serious she is about it, I don't look at it the same way either! I'm having lots of fun figuring out Earl Grey based recipes for her upcoming birthday.

      Delete
  15. Great post...I love Earl Grey Tea, too...wonder if I've ever had any of her brand ??
    I just wish I had my mama here to talk to about ANYthing...bwaaaaa, now I am missing her. Sorry.
    Back to the tea party....thanks so much for coming over. xoxo Please come again soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand. I'm glad that I have my very opinionated mom around still to argue with and I know there will be a terrible ache when that force of nature of a woman isn't with me anymore.

      Delete
  16. Let's Call The Whole Thing Off... LOVE. THAT. SONG.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Very interesting story. My mum and I are both weirdos. We used to fight when I lived st home, then I moved out, we both got weirder... we get on pretty well now... like a pair of naughty kids.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, I'm weird. She's particular. But it's nice time has mellowed us both.

      Delete
  18. I so agree about not appreciating our aprents as much until we have some space. Now that my mother is gone I still miss being able to pick up the phone. (That doesn't mean I don't still share with her.)
    I, too, am of the unexperienced, less educted palate, but when I find something I like, I hate to run out.

    http://dogsmomvisits.blogspot.com/2015/07/a-fanciful-twists-8th-annual-virtual.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing wrong with that! Sometimes the simple, less fussy stuff tastes best. The the part about this that is the most amusing to me is *I'm* usually the one reaching for the less fussy option while she's straight up fancy.

      Delete
  19. I soooo get it, i'm the same about my earl grey tea, even the cheapies ;-) There are some better than others for sure. Your mom sounds adorbs! Happiest Mad tea party wishes! <3, Vanessa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I make sure to keep my house stocked with it for her visits LOL

      Delete
  20. ps: yes, sometimes it does take a while to find our groove with even our moms, but it helps things be great, sounds like you're finding your happy relationship balance :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It took awhile, but we're getting there!

      Delete
  21. Isn't it amazing how we each take tea so differently. Only high end loose teas for me. Friends love matcha, but I have not developed a taste for it. Then other friends put sugar and milk in their tea, which I think is awful. So each to our differences. Happy tea times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love some good loose leaf ones myself, splurging on some rare oolongs or pu-ehrs from time to time, but any tea among friends is good tea. :)

      Delete
  22. Happiest Mad Tea, my Dear!
    Hugs,
    Anne

    ReplyDelete
  23. Happiest Mad Tea, my Dear!
    Hugs,
    Anne

    ReplyDelete
  24. I think a lot of us have had tea experiences with our moms. I know I have. I delighted in your wonderful retelling of this one! Thanks, too, for visiting my tea party at Marmelade Gypsy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself here :)

      Delete
  25. I'm late. I'm late. But that's okay because I finally made it. I must say I like Earl Grey Tea, but if I were rich, I'd fly to the Orient just to take part in an official Japanese tea ceremony. The serene purity of it would be wonderful to see!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't actually have to fly all the way out there to enjoy one. My tea school based out of Kyoto Japan (Urasenke) has branches all over the world. See if there is one nearby. A formal Japanese tea ceremony may be closer to home than you think! http://www.urasenke.or.jp/texte/world/branches_associations.html

      Delete