Dessert Teas

picture650So, you’re feeling like indulging in a little something sweet after dinner, but don’t relish the thought of spending hours on an elliptical machine working off that piece of cheesecake?  Have no fear… dessert teas to the rescue!  These two blends are guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth, without making you wonder if someone accidentally shrunk your jeans in the dryer.  😉 If you tuck a meringue onto the saucer with your tea cup, it’ll be our secret.

picture654Chocolate Coconut Herbal Tea (makes 10 cups)

In a small glass jar, combine the following ingredients:  1 tablespoon cocoa nibs, 1 tablespoon dried coconut flakes, 1 tablespoon peppermint, and 1 teaspoon cocoa powder.  Place one teaspoon of this herbal tea blend in a tea infuser or tea bag, and steep in 1 cup of boiling water for 5 minutes.  Enjoy!

 

 

picture656Blueberry Lemonade Tea (makes 10 cups)

In a small glass jar, combine the following ingredients:  1 tablespoon dried passionflower leaves, 1 tablespoon dried blueberries, 1 tablespoon granulated lemon peel, and 1 teaspoon brown sugar.  Place one teaspoon of this herbal tea blend in a tea infuser or tea bag, and steep in 1 cup of boiling water for 5 minutes.  Enjoy!

20 thoughts on “Dessert Teas

  1. I like to toss my apple pealings into a pot of hot water with a bit of ginger if i am ever pealing apple and simmer it along-side. You may add a cinnamon stick if yo like and a black pepper corn. It makes for very lovely sipping while you wait for your apple-whatever to be done.

      • Hunger and suffering are my issues, not organic. If people want to open up a higher price market segment for the privileged, i cannot stop them. I’d rather give the few Euros more i would pay for yuppy apples to the Grampa who sleeps in the bus stop. He needs the money more than i need trappings of liberalism.

      • It’s ironic how our food system – at least in the US – has come full circle. We now have the cheapest, most nutritionally devoid supermarket inventories in the entire world. Glossy, blemish free fruit was once the demand of the elite. Now, only the financially comfortable seem to be able to escape the toxins that permeate our food supply. EU standards for food safety are much higher (in most arenas, anyway) than the standards in the profit-driven, Monstanto-dominated food system of the United States. Our corporate farmed food system seems to respond only to mass consumer demand, which is why I try to vote with my food dollars and demand higher food quality. I am looking forward to safer food in Germany.

      • While a minority worries about the ‘safety’ of their food, their neighbors have difficulty with basic nutrition, as well as obtaining other daily necessities. More people die of famine and malnutrition than from non-organic food.

        Westerners have the highest life-expectancies, and the lowest morbidity, and infant mortality in the world. Organic, etc. is often just the premium-line of the same industry that makes and sells the other stuff. It has degenerated from a movement for social change to a life-style product. While i can see the logic in not buying one or another specific product, the rest is pure hype.

      • Well, it hasn’t degenerated into a lifestyle product for me, or for many in my local peer group. I am concerned enough about toxins (I am a chemist, after all) that I maintain a very large urban garden and preserve about 400 jars’ worth of my family’s winter food supply. Surely that is not the same thing as perusing a carpeted grocery store for fad food?

        I respect Maslow’s Hierarchy, and believe me, I respect the work you do. As a parent, I try to do the best I can for my children while not bringing harm to anyone else. By advocating for a return to organic food (unpolluted food isn’t a new concept, after all), I am advocating not only for high quality food for my children, but for better protection of our beleaguered environment, and am taking a (sometimes expensive) stand against a corporate food system that prioritizes profit over health.

        It is true that Westerners have the highest life-expectancies and also the lowest morbidity and infant mortality in the world. The United States lags woefully behind other Western nations in all three of these areas. What are the odds that the United States would allow itself to be surpassed in military spending, or prison capacity (try to breathe while you laugh at the very idea!)? Our Ruling Class prioritizes spending in these areas far more than spending in areas related to social conscience. I am not in the position to contribute $100M to try to sway the political system, but I can make sure my kids’ applesauce isn’t laced. 😉

        Isn’t it interesting how food and politics rub shoulders so frequently. Excellent discussion!

      • I have no cause to brag about our political priorities, we are whittling them down to market friendly form bit by bit.

        In addition, our government apparently just out-sources the stuff they cannot legally do here to the US, only to be feign scandal and horror when the US actually does what our people expect of them. See NSA-scandal. And i shudder to think what may come of the trans-Atlantic trade agreement we are working on at the moment. I presume we will see further liberalizations, on a number of fronts. The document is likely to have a bit of a US bias. Why Holland and Merkel are even willing to yap at Russia at the US behest? They cannot have though Russia could accept NATO bases on the Black Sea. What a dilettantish blunder! If they and their delegation are equally savvy in negotiating our new trade agreement, God help us! So much for the superior wisdom of European politics.
        So where i would still rather live here than in the US, i presume demographic, and geo-political realities are likely force us to react sooner or later, as we seem thoroughly unwilling to act with foresight. I doubt the Brazilians, South Africans and the Chinese will give a hoot whether we would like organic food or not. They will be keen on our paying back our debts, and with what ever we have left we can try to keep our cities spiffy enough to attract foreign tourist to bring a bit of foreign currency into our sorry, little, self-absorbed, geriatric countries.

        I for my part however find it difficult to listen to peoples food worries, as most are willing to drink alcohol quite voluntarily, and think nothing of the combustion engines that roar past their dwellings day and night.
        Nor have i noticed FDA standards being unreasonably lax. What is indeed lax, and often full of loop holes is the system of controls to ensure that these minimum standards are being up-held. Not that that is much different here. Before i started spending my disposable income on special foods, i am more eager to see those foods everyone can afford actually, consequentially meet a certain minimum standard.

        What i am willing to do, is if i am on an outing to Brodowin in Brandenburg i will bike down to the hunter’s house, and buy a few pounds of wild-boar salami (Chernobyl fall-out be damned). I believe in craftsmanship, and in seeing people get paid for their work. I will buy European potato starch that is guaranteed GMO free. I am not convinced that corn of all plants is likely not to share genes with its surrounding, and i would like to be sure that that is not a problem before i shout Eureka! Besides which, Monsanto has done some pretty sketch stuff trying to make a buck – not my kind of company. But, if a basic foods cannot be made for an affordable price in a way that is decent to animals and people, then i just plain don’t need them. Here this applies to milk, eggs, meats, sea fish, exotic fruit, and the like. Things like tea, coffee, and chocolate are luxuries, and if i can afford them as fare-trade products i buy them, otherwise they join the list with milk, eggs, etc. This has the effect, that i eat much the way people ate here up until the nineteen-fifties, ‘cept that i have a fridge – the latter being a luxury many Chinese families cannot afford to this day, so i figure i ain’t missing out. In fact there is so much stuff i don’t need, that the list is too long to mention. I figure that is an advantage for me, as sooner or later we will be called on to adjust our standard of living in order to allow others to have a standard of living worth the name at all.

      • I think you are an excellent candidate for a TED Talk, Auntie. 🙂 In all seriousness, where to you see Germany along the spectrum of personal food responsibility? I know Switzerland stands out as an excellent example of personal/sustainable food production, while some places (Hong Kong, for example) simply lack the space. I suspect Germany may be more progressive than the US in this area, even with it’s higher population density, but that is mere speculation.

      • ‘Progressivety’ is a very American idea, and i presume impossible to quantify. And ‘Personal Food Responsibility’ smacks of Thatcherism and hyper-individualism. I cannot do much with the phrase.

        I have never consciously compared the US and Germany on the matter at hand. Took a quick look at the „Selbsversorgungsgrad“ (degree of self-sufficiency) Germany vs. Switzerland: Germany (2007/08) – 90% / 80% (without foreign feed products) [http://www.bmelv.de/cae/servlet/contentblob/430138/publicationFile/26477/DieDeutscheLandwirtschaft.pdf.] p.18, vs. Switzerland – 58,5% (2007) [http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selbstversorgungsgrad].

        The next thing that comes to mind is that comparing immeasurables across cultural boundaries would seem to be of rhetorical interest at best.

        There are some very basic differences between the US and Germany.

        The history of the US is often about the freedom ‘from’ one thing or another, be it control by a colonial government, or the intellectual dictation of clergy to name only two examples. The history of Germany has been largely a history of freedom ‘too’ … . Martin Luther for example never suggest a schism with the Roman Catholic Church, and Goethe does not go ‘to the woods because [he] wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if [he] could not learn what it had to’. He moves the kingdom of Wuerttemberg to the duchy of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach where the he is given the wherewithal to continue his work at the court of the arch-duke.
        Secondly the social mindset at least until quite recently has been less about competition and the individual as in the US, and more about mastery of a discipline, and the group.
        The influence of these differences are often very difficult for Americans to understand, as they are often under the impression that there is something naturally given about their daily lives.

        Germany has a long tradition of nutrition and health reformist ideas. Much of the groundwork for the current so-called health food idea arises out of attempts to a large extent of German-speaking doctors and reformers to deal with the wide spread tuberculosis epidemics at the turn of the last century before anti-biotic therapies were available. This means that there are all manner of quasi-scientific herbal, dietary, and other remedies that have found their ways into the everyday lore. And the reform idea in and of itself is one that is very familiar for people here (see above: “Martin Luther”).

        Famine, malnutrition, and just plain scarcity are also very much more a part of cultural memory here than in the US. Many people know that we all but depopulated the region through war, and the ensuing starvation in the 30 Years War, still more know that we nearly starved after the First World War, and again some 30 years later when we wanted to have a second go at it, and failed most miserably to say the least, and almost everyone knows that you had to line up for hours only a little more than 20 years ago in the GDR for one banana per person (three if you had kids).
        All of this, and bunches of other stuff (the peculiarities of the coming into being of the German nation state, Germany’s role in colonialism, the influence of Marxism, response to National-Socialism, the rapid growth of affluence in the FRG after 1948, the geopolitics of the Cold War, the particularities of the student revolts of ’68 as compared to those in France, or in the US (1969), the relatively late influence of Reagan/Thatcher-style politics and social thought, the (re-)unification, etc) makes for a set of realities here.

        There is a long tradition of everyday people using herbal remedies, and there is nothing the least bit hippy-dippy about it. In fact it is quite conventional. Wild plants, or garden varieties are viewed a ‘natural’, and somehow less dangerous than, while similarly effective to scientific pharmacology. People grow, and gather their own or just pick it up at the pharmacy, which always stocks a wide assortment, and the staff is more than willing to advise, as these powders and salves are very popular, and a good source of supplemental income much like “vitamine” pills are in the US (which by the way people here are somewhat more wary of. Pills are some how viewed by many as dangerous in and of themselves.)
        As a response to hunger, malnutrition and poor urban planning, and because it is always nice to organize something in a group if you a German, there are what are called “Kleingarten Verein”s (small-garden clubs – though a “Verein” is much more serious and official than just an anglo “club”.) [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allotment_%28gardening%29#Germany]. This is a 150 year old tradition that is still very alive to day. Read the quick section if you want to know more.
        Arising out of the 1970s anti-nuclear / anti-Pershing protests, the Green Movement, has done quite a bit to popularize ecological, and health food notions. The persisting, and pervasive influence of the movement’s first organizers, university students, has an enormous effect on the focus, and scope of ‘Green’ issues, and the types of solutions they propose. Then as now, Greens are for the most part formally educated, and comfortably middle-class.

        The economic changes of the last 30 or so years here in German have lead to pressure being put on people involved in agriculture to either find a niche, or expand. This has led, from what i can see, to a dichotomy – large highly mechanized, very rational farming on the one hand, and for the most part small(er) to extremely small farms who have found their niche delivering goods that appeal to the current ecological chique. These ‘Bio-”farmers can demand higher prices, and so afford to perform more extensive forms of agriculture, making them less dependent on agricultural technologies many consumers and farmers have (often rightfully in my assessment) become wary of.
        My criticism being however – As a solution to the problems intensive, large-scale agriculture can bring about, people who feel uneasy about intensive agriculture suggest, that agriculture in general more like the niche farms. They seem to forget, that the problems extensive agriculture brought with it are often the reasons we began using intensive agriculture on a wide scale in the first place. To say nothing of the fact that in times of increasing urbanization world wide, it is very puzzling to suggest we all become agriculturalist.
        What is also somewhat irksome to me, this very idealized, and superficial view of how the production of ‘good’ food (not to mention cosmetics, health, medicine, leisure, etc.) ought to look has been discovered by the advertising profession as a Utopian image to evoke customers’ positive association with the product. This has apparently been so effective, that people are actually revolted by what real life food production actually looks like. I recall an ostensible horror scandal in the US where my (meanwhile rather few) friends in the US were bemoaning ‘pink slime’ being used in food, and how disgusting it looked to them. Regardless of what that mass may have been, far from being disgusting it looked like many thing i had made in my work as a cook ranging from strawberry ice-cream to the fine ground sausage meat that i regularly treated with anti-oxidating agents (not all of which are horrifically toxic), and sometimes added a bit of beet juice to keep them pink. If one does not do these things fine sausage looks like grey zombie fingers, and you can imagine what conserved meats in the jar look like if they are brownish grey. Forget it!
        The use of ‘natural’, ‘healthy’, etc. as marketing jingles is something that is having an effect on German people in their teens and twenties today more than it did on my generation, as the German advertising and consumer product industries become even more strongly influenced than they have been in the past by their very ‘successful’ counterparts in the US.

      • At risk of sounding persnickety, if personal food responsibility is hyper-individualistic, at what level would food responsibility be more appropriate? Your historical knowledge supercedes mine. If history is any indication, as long as financial profit is at stake, food responsibility is not going to occur on the level of nations.

        It sounds as if we agree on several points. I wholeheartedly agree with you where Fair Trade products are concerned. And certainly, many natural food advocates are misinformed on many issues. I would offer, though, that there is a difference between the reasonable use of additives in sausage making in your kitchen and the ammonia-infused McDonaldization of literally tons of questionably sourced ground beef here in the US, the end products of which would not meet minimum health and safety standards in the EU.

        I may very well be simplifying a vastly complex issue. That said, I don’t see the harm in advocating for individuals to do something as stone simple as watering a potted tomato plant in order to get away from Florida’s tomato growing monopoly, which traps immigrant laborers in poor (and poorly compensated) working and living conditions. I also don’t see the harm in advocating for folks with a backyard apple tree to stop spraying the darn thing and live with a few blemishes in their fruit.

        I am hopeful that as more folks scrutinize global food systems and engage in conversations such as this, even when viewpoints don’t always converge tidily, we stand to move in a positive direction. As with most other contexts, sticking our collective heads in the sand as we numbly accept the status quo is rarely a good thing.

      • As far as i can see there are only two basic ways of avoiding civil unrest, you can either use social welfare, or you can use law and order. National public health and welfare systems, established in the West between the end of the nineteenth century and the mid-1930s, were set up to avoid wide-spread poverty and destitution. They did not come about out of the goodness of our hearts, but because the industrialized world realized they would either institute social programs, or risk revolution.
        In the 1980s on the other hand, politics in the US and Britten decided in favor of law and order when faced with a disgruntled population that was beginning to realize that young people of the period would be the first in three generations not to become more well-off than their parents. The US and British governments took money out of the social welfare systems (as the have by the way, out of food, health and safety inspections as well) and put it in law and order measure. This is the system we are being told is without alternative today, as there is no money for these programs. At the same time commercial profits and government spending are at an all time high.

        Providing decent nutrition, drinking water, etc. will most likely have to take the form of a minimum consensus set down in some form of internationally, binding agreement. It is possible, it is simply not en vogue at the moment. The readiness will come about when the present state of affairs becomes intolerable for those make policy decisions (for ‘us’ – if you will).To put it in some what simplistic terms, the tomato growers will come around when more tomatoes get stolen by people struggling to get by, than make their way to market, or the growers cannot find workers healthy, or disciplined enough to pick tomatoes.

        The current strategy is to create ever more growth, and amass wealth at the expense of the majority. The speculation being that the greater the economic pressure the harder people will work to escape poverty. I suspect as we accelerate toward this great future, we shall create ever more entire populations living in permanent poverty. I presume that people will one day begin to see that ever greater growth, and amassing of wealth can only take place at the cost of ever greater consumption of resources, and the transfer of wealth away from increasingly many toward increasingly few. Having realized this, those who have been the losers at this game may see no other solution in order to survive, but to follow the resources, and wealth flowing out of their regions and communities to where ever that wealth is flowing to.

        Currently, wealth and resources are flowing into the West. That means that if things remain as the have been for the past 400 or so years, people will follow the flow here. We in the West are well advised to prepare for this politically, culturally, economically, and intellectually. At the very latest when we begin to realize, that we cannot build a wall high enough to keep migration from happening, we will begin to look for solutions, and it is my hope that we will seize the opportunity to live simpler, more cooperative, and more tolerant lives, not because we are such “good people” but because the other options seem unthinkable at least to me, and i presume to many others as well.

        Growing, preparing and sharing food are some of the many skills we could acquire in the process of learning to live simpler, and less consumption oriented lives. Tasks like growing food, and sharing meals could be a part of the process of reexamining our mutual priorities.

        Responsibility may also represent a central concept in learning to live together again rather than apart as we do at the moment. When i hear “individual responsibility” or “individual” anything else for that matter however, it makes me wonder why some how responsibility has to be modified by the word “individual” unless we believe, as i suspect we are intended to, that each and every person is responsible for her/himself, an idea has become very fashionable during the last 30 or so years, but it counteracts shared experience, and people who are not interconnected are easier to manage. In addition, “individual” what-have-you is based on the idea, that if everyone were to look after his/her own business, then there would be fewer unsolved problems (and it would come cheaper for the public sector). Though this seems logical, it does not take into account an observation i at least have made, that is that a group of people can do much more than those same people doing the same thing individually. So where i agree with you, it is advisable to reflect on what we do, and to weigh the consequences, this only becomes relevant when we take into account not only the consequences for our “individual” selves but also for the greater community.

        To stick with the image of a back yard apple tree. Yes, i can see where a blemish or two is less likely to poison insects than pesticide. I am actually quite fond of blemishes (not only on apples), as i am of insects (they are lovely, make wonderful pets, and make smashing nibblets when tossed in a wok). All the same, it would seem to me under the circumstances, we need to think intensely about why it is that we have back yards whilst, many do not have even apples. It may be advisable to do so, if not for the somewhat sentimental love of humanity, then on the basis of the rational concern, that we may sooner or later find those lacking an apple suddenly standing in our back yards asking precisely that question. I doubt very much they will be happy with the answer, “Why yes, i have a back yard but i never sprayed my apples,” or “I have my ‘individual food responsibility’ now you get yours.”

  2. This is exactly what I was needing last night – how amazing to have stumbled across your blog this morning! I share your values and am looking forward to my after dinner tea tonight!
    Nice to meet you, Emma 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s