Thursday, December 09, 2010

Holiday spice and everything nice, without sugar!

Bengal Spice tisane and Hot Cinnamon Sunset black teaIt seems almost like a dare, a challenge--the claim that Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Sunset black tea blend is naturally sweet. Of course, this raised my hackles when I read this boast, but I decided to buy some anyway, as I've enjoyed Harney's quality tea in the past. I was pleasantly surprised--it's true, there is no need to add sweetener to this tea! A hot cup of this brew will have your home or office smelling like Christmas in no time, and you enjoying this beverage repeatedly. It's no surprise that this is the company's best-selling tea, and I brought a some as gifts for a couple of people (as well as gifted myself). What a great way to enjoy the warming taste of cinnamon and its gift of health.

The only other beverage that is in the same league, in intensity of flavor and fragrance, is the Celestial Seasonings' tisane (herbal blend) Bengal Spice, which I've also enjoyed many times, but always like a chai, with milk and sugar. This time I decided to try it naked (it could never be plain), steeped only with boiling water, no sugar added. Another hit! (And cheaper to boot, available in any grocery store.) If it only came in a tin during the holiday season, I might buy some as a gift...

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What's with the recent spate of nutmeg scare stories in the local news outlets? Why now? I can't imagine meth use (or any other drug use) is going down during a recession, so what gives?

I'm offended by such utter ignorance parading as news, because my mother, most esteemed baker among her family and friends, always almost used nutmeg in her baked goods--cakes and pies--and the delicious practice was handed down to me. Later I discovered that nutmeg is also used in savory dishes, especially in spinach dishes. Perhaps if the nutmeg-toking young'uns actually cooked, sometimes with nutmeg, they probably wouldn't be tempted to (or have the time for) foolishness such as getting high.

I'm saddened when only scare stories of a common, natural substance (which is harmless when used sensibly) are promulgated, as this means that its benefits will be overlooked. I first remember reading about the healthful properties of common kitchen spices in a December 1997 Vegetarian Times article, "The Baker's Trio: our favorite holiday spices do double duty as flavorings and healers."

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