GOOD MORNING WORLD
The fascination since Wednesday has been tea and teapots. I had no idea how many teapots I had until I decided to actually go and check. I have 4 official teapots and three teapot and cup combos. I understand from daughter #1 that I almost got another. I assured her she had sufficiently provided me with the three teapot/cup combos and I did not need anymore. As I turned from taking the picture I looked directly at the stove and there was the last and most important – the stainless steel tea kettle!
I have had a stainless Revere tea kettle since we were married. My Father-in-law worked for Revere!!! The one I have now is downsized from the others. It handles about three or four cups of water. This is equivalent to 2 mugs of tea! I rarely use a teacup though have been this past week!
As I was contemplating this subject the word Teapot Dome Rebellion came to my mind. I had to look it up. Interestingly enough the Huffington Post had an article today about scandals and that was in it. Their summary satisfies my curiosity.(1)
Teapot Dome, 1922: The secret leasing of federal oil reserves by no less than President Harding’s secretary of the Interior. The result: Harding dies and the perp goes to jail.
The Teapot Dome Service Station is a former service station built in the shape of a teapot. It was intended as a reminder of the Teapot Dome Scandal that rocked the presidency of Warren G. Harding and sent Interior Secretary Albert Fall to prison for his role in leasing government oil reserves in, among other places, Teapot Dome, Wyoming. Located at 117 First Avenue, Zillah, Washington, it is an example of novelty architectureand listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Then it was time to really look to discover where teapot came from in the first place. I started looking and on teapot.net the most logical statement came forth. No need for a teapot without tea so I read to see when tea came about. (3)
There are two legends about the invention of tea. Some attribute the discovery of tea to Shen Nung, a Chinese Emperor in the 3rd century BCE, who sat under a tree while boiling his drinking water. When the leaves of Camellia sinensis fell into his bowl, the agreeable taste prompted the genesis of tea drinking. An alternative account gives credit to a Dharuma Buddhist monk who travelled to China from India in the 5th century CE. During his fifth year of a seven year meditiation undertaken to prove his faith, he became sleepy. In an effort to remain focused he cut off his offending eyelids and threw them onto the ground, whence sprang the tea plant. He decided to make a drink from the leaves and discovered it kept him awake, allowing him to pursue his spiritual studies.
Then on to the teapot itself. It did not come about according to this same website until the Ming Dynasty which lasted from 1368-1644. The ground tea previously into powders and then about this time they simply left them as leaf and infused the water with them.(3)
The earliest examples of teapots come from this period, made from the zisha, or “purple” clay, of the YiXing region of China. Pottery in the YiXing tradition has been strong since the Sung Dynasty (960-1279); wares are valued for their fine texture, thin walls, and naturally beautiful coloration ranging from light buff to deep maroon tones. The transition from drinking bowls to teapots was a smooth one. YiXing teapots were, and still are, used to brew tea as well as act as the drinking vessel — one sips directly from the spout of a single-serving pot. YiXing teapots gradually season, the unglazed clay absorbing the flavor of brewed tea, making them a favorite choice for tea lovers. The dissemination of YiXing teapots greatly influenced not only the forms of teapots found throughout the world, but also prompted the invention of hard-paste porcelain in the western world. (Modern YiXing teapots can be found atwww.YiXing.com, along with information about the manufacture and use of these legendary pieces.)
I have added a couple of additional sites that share the story of the origin of the teapot and its history. I liked one of them that said the teapot is as individual as faces – no two are alike!
The teapot and tea kettle are ever part of my memory. Tea Kettles were used to heated water for baths sometimes. My aunt did not have a tub for years and every afternoon before her husband returned from work she would heat the teakettle and take the basin to her room and bathe.
The mother of a childhood friend would curl her hair on rollers and then with a funnel fashioned from a cardboard box she would direct the steam from the kettle to each roller thus steaming her hair. She invented the hot curlers before their time!
An English friend of mine had an electric tea kettle and heated her water in it for tea. I asked once if it was as good as the ones we used on the stove and she said “Boiling is boiling.” She would not serve tea unless the water was steaming hot and the milk was in the cup FIRST!
Me? Well mostly now I heat a cup of water in the micro and drop in a teabag. This last week I have taken the art of drinking tea more seriously using my teapots and cups. As with anything I own each teapot has a story and I relish the memories. From the calico yellow given to me by special neighbors to the pot/cup combos from our daughter, tea brings joy.
Another day I can think about all the flavors and the struggle it is to find chai spice decaf for my evening cup. I have had to go to Rooibos Chai herbal that I discovered at OCS. It works almost as well.
……ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…