Vanilla isn’t White

Vanilla Rosewater Ice Cream

Ice cream isn’t going to save the day. Fear of change won. Racism won. Anti-semitism won. Anti-immigration won. Sexism won. Anti-LGBTQ won. All the -isms in the world won. And, I have a right to be scared and will stay mad. When the conservative trend was noticed in Europe and Turkey earlier this year, it was a comforting thought that we in the United States were slowly moving in a positive direction. But, when the majority of people used voting booths — similar to how the Klu Klux Klan wear hoods — to vote for a racist candidate on Tuesday, I’m wondering who among my white friends, are truly my friend.

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Start the Year by Improving Bad Habits and Trying New Food Pairings

Maple Cumin Bread
Maple Cumin Bread

My knowledge of wine could be more than the average person, for I know my basic pairings with food. I’m also not an aficionado when it comes to tea, but I know enough to start with loose-leaf tea leaves and the different steeping times. However, my knowledge of beer is flat. Last autumn, Jo of AGiftofTea.com — a true tea connoisseur — invited me to her Beer and Tea pairing event in Harlem. Although, my time management is a work in progress, I missed the demonstration. However, I was able to sample Organic Golden Monkey Black, Jasmine Green and Alishan Oolong teas while nibbling on beer flavored popcorn, spicy dried mango from Trader Joe’s (that’s now part of my grocery list) and dark chocolate.

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Welcome to The Republic of Tea

Ginger Peach Tea Mussels and Shrimp

A long time ago, friends highly recommended two dollar boxes filled with 30 bags of green tea. It was the trendy, recently discovered (in Western culture) ingredient. Everyone was talking about all its health benefits, such as weight loss, clear skin, detox and low cholesterol. It cures (fill in your health problem here). Back then, I drank a cup in the morning and another cup in the afternoon. Then, one day as I was strolling in the health food store, I picked up a nicely designed steel can of 50 green tea in unbleached bags (free of unnecessary tags, strings and staples). As a designer, I was immediately attracted to the packaging. The label had all the buzz words demonstrating good citizenry in the world: organic, The People’s Green Tea and social good activities. The first sip was refreshing. The second sip I threw the cheap green tea boxes away. The third sip, I wanted to learn more about tea inspired by The Republic of Tea.

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