From My Wok to Yours - Taking the Mystery Out of Everyday Dining and Meals!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Iced Tea Party Patriot

It has been said that in China, tea plays an important, indispensable role in daily life.  Indeed, there is a saying that confirms this: “Firewood, rice, oil, salt, sauce, vinegar and tea are the seven necessities to begin the day.”

Tea does not just carry with it a symbol of excellence; its consumption is compared to personal character. The fragrance of tea is not aggressive; it is pleasant, low-keyed and lasting. A friendship between gentlemen is also like a cup of tea. With a cup of tea in hand, enjoying the green leaves in a white porcelain cup, you will feel peace. Fame, wealth and other earthly concerns melt away.

As I have sworn off sodas and *gasp* beer to try to regain my guy-ish figure, (I got tired of lugging around a spare tire…very bad for the back…) I have gone to drinking tea, both hot, with a meal, or iced, when not eating.  Water? Nah, that’s for swimming or fishing in. (Yeah, I bathe in milk. 2%)

Sadly, here in Texas, where capitalism reigns supreme, and excess is the norm, the flavor of choice is not green tea, nor is it chrysanthemum tea.  The masses swarm to any location that carries a good recipe for sweet tea.  Tea, with sugar.  Lots of it.  Texans love their sweet tea.  Its popularity has created such a following that it has been dubbed the “Champagne of the South.”  Really.  Just like Coca-Cola.  It is such a staple of restaurants and homes here in Texas that one has to specifically ask for unsweetened tea.

It is ridiculously easy to make.  Simply add tea bags into boiling water, allow it to steep, then add tons of sugar to the warm pitcher.  I am talking about enough sugar to send you into diabetic shock.  I am talking about so much sugar that mosquitoes will be attracted to your sweat.  Then, refrigerate it and let it cool.  It is a sin to add lemon to sweet tea.  It is also a sin to allow sweet tea to warm again in the sun.

Sweet tea is to be served with lunch, dinner or when unwinding from a rough day.  As a social drink, it is best with friends.  When welcoming someone into your house, you are to do so with a glass of… you guessed it: sweet tea.

Okay, so I may be exaggerating just a teeny bit, but in reality, there are plenty of Texans out there who will agree with me when I say that sweet tea has gained prominence on the standard drink menu.  (It should probably be on the dessert side of the menu…)
I warned you all before that there might be a test, so let’s see just how many of you were paying attention. 
1. When, where, and by whom was tea first discovered:a. In 1603 in England by Sir Thomas Lipton
b. By Japanese emperor Hirohito in 1492
c. In A.D.80 by a Buddhist priest named Darma in
d. By Chinese emperor Shen Nung in 2737 B.C.

2. How many types of tea are there:
a. There are over 3,000 types of tea derived from many different plants
b. Counting herbal tea there are five basic types
c. There are three basic types of tea, all derived from the same plant, called Camellia sinensis
d. There are dozens of teas available, depending upon what country the tea is produced in

3. Next to water, tea is the most popular beverage in the world:a. True
b. False

4. In the
U.S., tea is the 3rd most popular beverage:
a. True
b. False

5. In what country and when was iced tea invented:
a. In the United States in 1904
b. In
Great Britain in 1650
c. In
Egypt during the great drought of 1894
d. In
Iceland in 1894

6. Who invented the tea bag, and when was that:
a. Samuel Twining, a British tea packer, in 1864
b. The Tetley Company in 1902
c. John Sullivan, an American tea importer, in 1904
d. The Dexter Company in 1899

7. What is the predominate form of tea used in the
a. The tea bag
b. Loose tea
c. Instant tea
d. Iced tea mix

8. What country drinks the most tea per capita:
United States
Great Britain

9. What three countries produce most tea per capita:
India, China, Sri Lanka
Kenya, Indonesia, Australia
Argentina, China, Indonesia
Sri Lanka, Malawi, Japan

10. What primary processes, in order of occurrence, does tea undergoes after harvesting:
a. It is rolled, graded, and packed
b. After plucking, it is fermented, sorted, and heated
c. Tea is fermented, rolled, fired, graded, and packed
d. After plucking, it is withered, rolled, oxidized, fired, graded, and packed

11. What are the ideal growing conditions for tea: a. At sea level in temperate climates
b. In well-drained, sandy soils with minimal rainfall
c. In jungle like conditions, with heavy rainfall, well-drained soils, at high elevations
d. In cool, dry climates

12. Does tea have more or less caffeine than coffee:
a. More
b. Less
c. Same
d. Both more and less

13. What are the ideal conditions for storing tea:
a. In a refrigerator at 45 degrees F or lower
b. In a plastic airtight container in areas of relatively high humidity
c. In a closed container in a dark, cool, dry area away from strong odors
d. In an airtight area at temperature above 75 degrees F

14. What is the proper temperature to brew both hot and iced tea:
a. With water that is nearly to the boiling point
b. With hot tap water
c. With water that has boiled for at least a minute
d. With water that has just started to boil

15. How long should tea brew:
a. At least one minute
b. Between three and five minutes to develop full flavor
c. Between three and five minutes for hot tea and at least five minutes for iced tea
d. Both b and c

16. What is the ideal way to serve hot tea:
a. In a ceramic (or ceramic-like) teapot
b. With the hot water already poured in a teacup with the tea bag and a slice of lemon on the side
c. In a metal teapot
d. Pre-brewed and served out of an insulated container

17. What country produces the most tea in the world:
Sri Lanka

18. What country exports the most tea in the world:
Sri Lanka

19. What has more caffeine, green tea or black: a. Green tea
b. Black tea
c. Both the same

20. What health benefits have been attributed to tea consumption:
a. Reduction of dental caries and plaque formation
b. Antioxidant and antimutagenic effects
c. Helps maintain fluid balance and proper hydration.
d. All of the above

Answers Tomorrow.
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