Sunday, January 2, 2011
You Say I gotta go to Teahab I say no, no, no
Mr. Garner, your family has brought you here today because you have a problem. They all love you and care deeply about you and they are here because of that. They are here to talk to you about your addiction. It's getting out of hand.
My dad has a problem. He is a compulsive tea hoarder. My dad tends to get into little hobbies that become obsessions. Obsessions that fill cabinets in our kitchen. First it was spices. It went on that dad would collect various spices and keep them in the cabinet above the stove. This combined with his love of spicy food ended up in the confiscation and eventually hiding many of his favorite spices. First there was Old Bay- a spicy seafood seasoning that made a shrimp dish into an unbearable curry-esque concoction. Then there was Montreal seasoning- a sea salt and pepper combo that ended up in absolutely everything so that the family got sick of the stuff and withheld it until he promised to only use it on his portions of dishes and it sits beside the salt and pepper on the kitchen table to serve this purpose.
Because of Dad's love of spices, I bought him a coffee grinder for his birthday. I assumed that he could use it to grind spices, or since he loves black coffee in the morning, he could use it for its intended purpose. He chose to use it for coffee and fell in love with the way that fresh ground coffee tastes in comparison to his old brew. Which is fine, coffee beans last a long time. But Dad took on the mission of trying all different flavors of coffee fresh ground and our cabinet began to fill with bags of coffee beans from various places.
Then there was tea. No one really knows where the obsession started, but I point back to the day when an abandoned cabinet at his work was cleaned out to reveal that it contained three pouches of expensive imported teas. Dad bought them home and marveled at their lose-leaf flavors. Then boxes and tins of tea started to fill the cabinet beside the collection of spices and coffee. Dad comes home from a late band practice (instruments- saxophones in particular being another of his obsessions) with a sandwich for dinner and a tin of Roobios. Each new tea comes with a call to the family to come and taste the new blend. He will describe the flavor of it. Say simply, "it's good" then ask everyone if they want a cup. Usually to the point of the person relenting and having a cup of tea. So for Christmas I got him a tea chest from Starbucks (one of my obsessions that I manage to keep in the store). I thought this would quell the obsession for a while. That he would spend time with his variety of teas. Exploring them and enjoying their flavors until the chest began to empty and then he would fill it with the teas he had in the cabinet. Then, when that ran out, he would find new teas to put in the chest. But the plan didn't work out that way. He returned from the commissary today with three new boxes of tea one of which is a flavor included in the chest I gave him. And he lamented that the store didn't carry his other favorite flavor that he could use to restock his stash, which is in no way diminishing but instead becoming eternal.
I guess I can't complain too much, our kitchen will always be bountiful and interesting and I guess there are worse things to be hoarding and this collection is for the most part non-invasive. Plus green tea and honey is a nice way to finish out the evening.