I’ve spent 3.5 years bumming chai off of my Indian neighbors. Once I started drinking real chai regularly, the thirty different flavors of tea bag teas I’d kept in my cabinet hardly seemed adequate. I didn’t want to drink them anymore. I wanted real Indian tea.
After I got back from India, I decided I’d finally learn how to make it.
First, I went to the Indian grocery store and bought myself some powdered tea– the same stuff I watched my cousin in Bangalore use when she made chai for me. Then I picked up a small strainer. I found some cardamom pods, and fresh ginger. I even picked up 2% milk instead of the fat free stuff we’ve used for years.
I boiled half milk, half water, with a teaspoon of tea for one cup. Then I added crushed cardamon pods and slices of ginger. After a few minutes, a froth formed at the top. The aroma was intoxicating. I held the strainer over the mug, then poured the tea over it. I stirred in some raw cane sugar.
It tasted amazing.
Last night we had a party at our home, with our Indian neighbors and my newly relocated Indian cousins. I made a huge pot of chai for everyone. It was a big hit.
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I’ve always told myself that if and when the girls wanted to try meat, I’d let them. Well, the opportunity presented itself yesterday. After a fun afternoon at the Mythical Creatures exhibit at Fernbank Natural History Museum, we found ourselves at the most amazing Mediterranean restaurant. My husband ordered a lamb kabob, and the girls wanted to taste it.
First my 9-year old took a bite. She chewed a few seconds before exhibiting any sort of reaction, but after she swallowed, she declared that it was “delicious.” My 7-year old then wanted a bite. She agreed–the lamb was wonderful. “But it was a little lamb. A sweet, fluffly lamb,” I said. They were undeterred. “Yes, but it’s already dead. And it tastes great.”
I felt sick to my stomach.
I first became a vegetarian as almost a dare to myself. At the time, I lacked opinions about health, animals and the environment. But now? Now I’ve changed the way I feel about vegetarianism. Now it’s become moral imperative. It’s about doing what’s best for my body, respecting other living creatures the best I can, and understanding sustainability. Of course, one doesn’t have to be a vegetarian to be healthy, humane to animals, or to combat global warming. But it’s the path I chose for myself, and I realize now, the path I choose for my kids. They might not like it, but while they’re living under my roof, it’s the way they’re going to live.
Hope they enjoyed that lamb. It will be a long time before they eat it again.