Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dead man walking

Two notes from the Day of the Dead:

1. Perhaps a good follow to yesterday's post about my bar — and certainly a nice bit of advice for the day after All Hallow's Eve — I have for many years relied on the soothing effects of EveryDay Detox tea.

It's an old-worldy herbal blend, a kind of medicinal flavor (like warm paregoric), allegedly soothing for the old liver. After a night of revelry, this stuff always makes me feel a bit more solid. The box recommends a regimen of three cups a day. That seems a bit much, but it's good stuff. You have to let it steep about 15 minutes, much longer than tea, ideally with a cover over the cup.

2. At our friends' annual Dia de los Muertos party this afternoon — complete with altars for Michael Jackson, the Oxy Clean pitch guy and the Taco Bell chihuahua — I served up an improvised twist on tea for the occasion. Mexico's not a tea country, at all, but I built a chai that worked with the desserts, most of which were already loaded with cinnamon. Black tea, ginger, cinnamon, etc. — plus some dark cocoa, a small bit of spooky-rich chipotle chili powder and a pinch of lapsang souchong. A spicy pepper in chocolate or coffee can work wonders; this more even-handed, smoky pepper was kind to the weaker tea, especially with the powerful pine of the souchong to back it up. With a little sweet (brown sugar or honey) and some soy or dairy, it was smooth and very warming.

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