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Friday, June 17, 2005 

Stewing in my juices

Hello all. Thanks for the opportunity. Let's just get to it, shall we?

I have a confession to make. I am a Mormon mudblood. My mother is fourth-generation Mormon; my father has not yet joined the fold (and, for that matter, may not in this life). So, I grew up with coffee and tea. I drank a sip here or there (iced tea is a fixture in the South), but generally abstained. My experimentation with all such ended as I entered adolescence.

I have never really been a hard-core Word of Wisdom guy. I have never smoked, drank any of the proscribed beverages, or stuck things into myself. However, I love Coke (classic), hate Pepsi, and swill copious amounts of hot chocolate whenever the temperature drops below 50. My Word of Wisdom great-heartedness, however, never extended to herbal teas. I was certain that they were some sort of "gateway beverage" into the hard stuff.

Now, I admit it's irrational, but it came from my festering persecution complex. Occasionally, I would be invited to parties with my friends were the only beverage served was iced tea. Sometimes people seemed to be trying to slip me iced tea, as if to spare me from the hell my mother was putting me through. Once I really realized that I wasn't supposed to drink iced tea, I got angrier about the injustice of it all. "All I want is a cold beverage on a hot Florida day, why must you tempt me with tea?!?"

So, I fought against tea or anything like unto it. This quickly extended itself to all herbal teas. It said tea right on the box after all. Celestial Seasonings was anything but.

Then I went on a mission to the rather tea-intensive country of Russia, where I was told that I would drink herbal teas by my mission president. In part, this is because the water in Russia is universally horrible and not to be trusted until it has been boiled. In part it is because tea is such a part of the culture that a visit for tea lasts hours and involves several courses. I wasn't given an option regarding this; I was to drink (herbal) tea or die trying.

So, I did. But initially, I only drank peppermint tea, because that was the only kind I could imagine stomaching. All the members and all of our investigators thought that I was sick for the first 4 or 5 months of my mission, because the only time they drank mint tea was when they had a cold. I was resentful of the tea, of the amounts I had to drink, and of the frequency with which I went to the bathroom.

And then, I let it all go. I became a kind of tea junkie. I stopped putting sugar and jam in the tea and drank it straight. I found the best herbal tea of all (rosehip, made fresh). I came to love the variety of herbal teas (people kept thinking we were sick all the time though). I don't think that there was a particular moment when this happened. I just woke up one day and went with it. If it wasn't an instance of grace, I don't know what is.

I don't know about herbal tea being a gateway drink. I did love iced tea as a child (beofre I realsied I wasn';t supposed to have any), but have grown to love herbal teas. I enjoy their fruity flavour and have no desire to leave them for the more bitter flavour of Camellia sinensis.

I studied in Russia for six months, and also came to love herbal teas while I was there -- except at breakfast. My host-mother would give me a large chashka of it with breakfast -- hot and steaming early in the morning -- and I couldn't stand it.

I did find a cherry tea there that I absolutely adored. Haven't been able to find anything similar back in the States, though.

There's nothing wrong with drinking herbal tea, or hot chocolate for that matter.

Of course herbal tea (if used appropriately) isn't a gateway drink and there is nothing wrong with drinking either it or hot chocolate. I was young and self-righteous/stupid. The original title of this post was "How I lost my sanctimony". I changed it when I realized that, in many cases, I haven't.

Mmmmm...rose hip tea. I first experienced that wonderful elixir in the czech countryside - fresh, as you say. Tough to find around here, I typical settle for the Red Zinger.

On another note, my business associate just purchased a $6,000 dollar espresso machine. He has ordered some yerba mate so that I too can embibe from its illustrious spout.

Yerba is the tea of choice in Paraguay, where my wife served her mission. She brought some home with her and gave some to me one night. That is some powerful stuff.

$6,000? For an espresso machine? The crazy things we do for coffee in this corner of the country!

I drank herbal tea at home with my mom, and drank decaf iced tea at my best friend's house and constantly wondered why we didn't drink the DELICIOUSness at home...until I found out that iced tea was considered "tea" tea and I was totally devestated. Iced tea has got to be one of the most perfect beverages, but I easily gave it up because I believed in the Word of Wisdom.

Herbal teas are pretty good iced as well. I'm not a big drinker of fruit teas unless they are cold. But I too love fresh rosehip (from living in Sweden) and love a good peppermint or slippery elm. Good post John. We look forward to getting to know you, and welcome to the fold!

Honestly... I took ym job because of the vast variety of teas that are available for me to choose from. My Favorite drink at Starbucks is a Passion Ice Tea Lemonaid, no sweetner. It's good, and it's herbal and I don't feel bad AT ALL drinking it. I don't drink coffee (which I LOVE), or alcohol (which I am also fond of) or soda (I'm not one for fizzy beverages, and that stuff will just eat you alive anyway) so I DESERVE some herbal tea dang it!

Great post John... you rock!

Jam in tea? Am I missing something?

When people didn't have herbal tea, they would offer us hot water and jam. Somehow that got conflated in my post (somehow=broken synapse).

My Bishop from my homeward owns part of Jamaba Juice here where I'm from and he also manages the store where my wife works. Recently Jamba Juice has come out with this new gree tea line. My bishop had all the employees drink it (many LDS kids) so they knew what it tasted like. He was dowing them,too. My wife on the other hand just threw her's away. So is green tea bad? My bishop apparently thinks not.

Perhaps you should tell your bishop that green tea is simply regular tea that hasn't been roasted.

I love herbal tea, especially iced, and we drink it here all summer long. It needs no sweetener and it very mild and plesant.

Is it a gateway drink? I have no idea, I just feel guilt free drinking it and enjoy the taste.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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