27 November 2010
I just returned from Thanksgiving- this year, hosted by my older sister who has basically adopted Louisiana as her ancestral home. She's been there for years now, and has seamlessly transfused our original Yankee blood with a slow-burning southern warmth, from her charming circle of friends to the incredible regional food coming out of her kitchen.
As we sat on her porch, mincing herbs from the backyard garden for the grand meal, I made some Darjeeling to sustain us throughout the preparation. I kept trying to focus on the remaining tasks (chop the Brussels sprouts, peel the sweet potatoes, go stir the gravy) but my body started to relax in the sunshine and I ended up gazing lazily into the cups, marveling at how much stronger, cleaner the light was here than in New York.
The next day, I was treated to tea made for me, and I couldn't help but ease more into the place and the moment.
It was a deep, full-flavored Kagoshima sencha, expertly prepared- and a perfect accompaniment to as many leftovers and local specialties (baked cheese grits, fresh pecans and fragrant, sweet Satsuma oranges from the farmer's market) I could get down before the flight back.
I've made sencha countless times, and had it well-made for me more than once. But there was something so effortless, so easy in that day's gracious hospitality; with the soft light filtering through the Spanish moss that blanketed the live oaks outside, the moment absolutely absorbed me.
Thank you, south Louisiana. Y'all have reminded me how to savor.