Foodie thoughts

Monday, 24 February 2014 11:06 pm
mokie: Hannibal Lecter contemplates a fork of...food (hungry)
#1. Vinegar has an expiration date. Did you know this? I didn't know this. Isn't vinegar just expired wine in the first place?

#2. Nobody knows what to do with radishes. NOBODY.

#3. I wish I'd noticed about the vinegar's expiration date before I poured it over the radishes and chucked them in the fridge.
mokie: Cartoon of an angry tea pot raging (drink tea)
Time for another tin from the Republic of Tea, because cheapo shipping sale = lots of samplers!

The tea of the now is Orange Ginger Mint Herbal Full-Leaf, which contains no camellia sinensis and is thus not actually a tea but a tisane. It's a good distinction to make: when I buy herbs, I want herbs, not herbalish tea, and when I buy tea, I want tea, not drinkable herbs. It also avoids awkward naming conundrums, like 'red tea', which can refer to fully fermented tea according to China (what we call black tea), rooibos tea according to manufacturers (though that's daft, since people usually go out of their way to buy rooibos specifically to avoid tea), or hibiscus tea according to the insane and masochistic (because damn you, hibiscus).

But I digress. Orange! Ginger! Mint! All three good companion flavors to other beverages. What's not to love?

In the Bag Tin:
The smell. The smell is not to love. I opened the tin to a scent memory of when my mother smoked Kool cigarettes. I wouldn't say the herbal blend smells like tobacco outright, but that the other ingredients trip the mint over into dirty menthol territory.

It's nothing spectacular visually, but that's to be expected--pre-steeped tisanes do tend to look like stuff swept from under the couch.

The Steepening:
A teaspoon of herbs, a cup of boiling tap water and thee. I gave it two minutes to swish in the mug/strainer combo before removing the tea, and still had tiny floaters. (It's not relevant, I just really hate floaters.)

I wish I could tell you that cigarette whiff goes away, but it would be a lie. It does evolve, though, into the smell of the tea aisle at the all-natural hippie shop, where you purchased that awful-tasting but supposedly good for you tea and considered telling the dude eyeballing the mineral deodorant that it was clearly not working out for him. The whales are great, dude, but think about your immediate environment, too.

It also tastes just like that tea: kind of stale, kind of medicinal, kind of like you messed up and steeped the cardboard box rather than the herbs.

Part of the problem? No actual orange in the herbal mix, so instead of orange flavor, just a vaguely 'bathroom cleaner' aroma. Not much mint flavor, either. They've tried to make the mint do double-duty by using orange bergamot mint, one of those mild mints that have a citrusy scent. You'd think the ginger would come roaring through, but there, in the ingredients list, is a bastard ninja ingredient: "Ginger root, orange bergamot mint, lemon thyme, anise hyssop, anise seeds and blackberry leaves".

If the ingredients were listed in terms of flavor rather than quantity, it would be: "Lemon thyme, ha ha, you thought you were buying orange ginger mint anything".

Like hibiscus, I can't not taste thyme. I thought the ginger would curbstomp everything else, but it's the thyme that comes out swinging, all medicinal and sticky. The sample could be stale, but I'm betting the dirty stale flavor is simply what happens to ginger after it fights thyme, just as the line-up of citrus-ish herbs and mint have conspired to create a vaguely disinfectant aftertaste.

I add a teaspoon of honey* in hopes of making the cup more palatable, maybe teasing out the mint or clarifying the citrus flavors. While it makes the orange-ishness more pronounced in the cup, it doesn't improve the dirty taste of it. Not earthy, dirty--the difference between puerh and poo.

What really improved the flavor was letting the cup go cold. Even then, though, it tastes like picking up a cardboard box that once held mints and licking it.

The Verdict:
Oh, God no.

Maybe someone could use it as the basis of a syrup for juleps. Insane amounts of sugar and alcohol might be able to dull the taste of thyme. If not, keep drinking till you don't care anymore.


* Honey of the now: Airborne's blend of New Zealand floral honeys, which is mild and tasty and doesn't make beverages taste like honey + beverage. Never again, clover honey.
mokie: Cartoon of an angry tea pot raging (drink tea)
Milk oolong. What? Is that a serving suggestion? A poetic translation, like "Monkey-picked tea"? (Spoiler: no actual monkeys involved.) Some bubble tea concoction? A new fad where the leaves are rolled in powdered milk?

According to shops, it's so named for its milky taste, but that explains nothing. Does that mean the tea tastes like milk? Does it taste like tea with milk already added? Or does it have a milky quality, like liquidized coconut or soy or rice or almonds or hemp or all the other not-actually-milks?

It has taunted me for over a year. Milk oolong. Sold in a variety of swanky online tea shops, but pricey and available only in the So you need a lot of tea sizes. No matter how curious I was, I couldn't go through a repeat of the lapsang souchong incident, of trying not to waste a large bag of tea, and trying to find a home for a tea I couldn't drink without making it sound like I was trying to pass along an undrinkable tea. (While feeling terribly ungrateful, too, since the bag had been a gift from concertina42Tina. Neither of us expected 'smoky quality' to mean it would trigger an allergic reaction, just like actual smoke.)

But Republic of Tea sent out a sale e-mail, and I'm not much of a tea snob--not enough of one to turn down a good sale, certainly. And there it was, milk oolong, and in a sampler tin at that.
Cup of Abundance - This delightful, hand-processed green oolong is grown high in the Fujian mountains in China. Famous for its “milky” taste and silky texture, the large, tightly-rolled leaves have the alluring fragrance of sweet cream and pineapple. The flavor is smooth with light, orchid notes. Great for multiple infusions.
Look at it, shamelessly tempting me with its multiple infusions.

In the Bag Tin:
Wee wrinkled pellets that smell like the Platonic ideal of peaches. You know the way some oolongs are described as having notes of peach? (Or maybe that's mostly Ti Kuan Yin.) This tea mocks those teas. Sweet cream and pineapple? I won't argue with RoT's writers--a ripe peach all sun-warmed and dripping juice isn't far off from sweet cream and pineapple to me.

The Steepening:
Eyeballing pellets when you're used to loose leaf is a pain.

For the first cup, fresh tap water straight from the boiling kettle over an eyeballed allotment of wee wrinkled pellets, steeped about two minutes (it's easier to steep longer next time than fix a too-bitter first impression) and served hot and plain. I thought at first I'd added too many pellets, because the steeping pot was packed with green and red leaves, all rumpled and looking like a very misplaced salad. Then I noticed those wee wrinkled pellets had unfolded into the biggest damn tea leaves I have ever seen. The leaves of other teas? Mocked. We're talking capsule-into-spongeosaurus expansion.

The resulting liquor was a touch lighter in color than expected, but it packed a lush floral scent that filled the room and waved a baseball bat at the neighbors.

"Light, orchid notes" is misleading: the flavor is like sitting down to tea in the middle of a hothouse in full bloom. The flavor-scent of orchid isn't the assault on the senses that strong lavender and rose can be, though, so it's a gorgeous sensation, with a good whiff of natural fruity sweetness underneath. What others refer to as a milky taste I would describe as a natural mildness in the flavor, as if the tea were served with cream, and a rich, almost luxurious mouthfeel. Even the aftertaste, a slightly dry perfumed pucker, is delicious.

The second cup got a few minutes more to brew. (Resteepings should in general, but I also wanted to try the tea a little stronger.) It held up well in scent and flavor, and I chilled some for later testing. Cold, it's a little fruitier than floral, with less mouthfeel but more aftertaste, like a fruity herbal tea but without the hibiscus dilemma.*

The third cup is still fruity and floral but noticeably weaker, low on that lovely mouthfeel, and as it cools, more of a standard green tea flavor--but pleasantly floral green, like a favorite cousin to jasmine. I don't think I can squeeze more resteepings out of this batch of leaves tonight (summer, mold, ick!), but I intend to jump back into testing on a smaller steep soon.

The Verdict:
I may have a new contender for Best Tea Ever.


* Hibiscus is a popular filler in flavored teas for its fruity twang. In herbal teas, it can add a fullness and body to an otherwise weak fruity cup, and cover up a bit of unpleasant earthiness or bitterness. Some herbals, if served without a strong tent pole ingredient like hibiscus, taste weak and watery. On the other hand, herbals with a strong tent pole ingredient like hibiscus often taste most strongly of that ingredient, which is annoying if you hate that ingredient and/or expect your herbals to taste like the herb(s) in the name.

I call it the hibiscus dilemma, but it could as easily be "Goddammit, this is rooibos."
mokie: Ghostbusters' Vinz Clortho wears a collander and answers questions (SCIENCE!)
A conversation observed, paraphrased and annotated:

Naive poster: "My friend is a nurse and washes her hands all the time, but I looked at her lotion and it's full of all these chemicals. I'm going to make her some all-natural homemade lotion! With coconut oil, and sunflower oil, and..."

Note: Many medical facilities use latex gloves and barriers. Oil-based products break down latex. This is a bad, bad idea.

Helpful people: "Since your friend works with sick people, sterilizing your equipment and using a preservative is a must. This is usually the problem people run into with homemade lotions."

TRUE. Lotions are water-based, and water-based products are almost guaranteed to succumb to mold and bacterial growth eventually, even with a preservative. Products made without a preservative should be refrigerated and used within a month, and not on broken skin, because seriously y'all, cooties.

Naive poster: "How does a preservative keep someone from spreading infection? Pshaw!"

...ungh.

Helpful people: "It keeps bacteria from growing in the lotion. The lotion she spreads on her hands. The hands she touches equipment and sick people with."

Not at all helpful people:
- "You can just use vitamin E."
- "Or grapefruit extract."
- "I like rosemary oleoresin."
- "Essential oils make great natural preservatives."

Helpful people: "No, none of those things are preservatives. Several are antioxidants. They prolong the life of the oils, but they don't stop bacteria and fungi from growing in the product."

Not at all helpful people: "I don't use water in my lotions, just aloe juice, so it's not an issue for me."

Helpful people: "Aloe juice is water-based. Juices in general are still water-based. Is your lotion made with liquid? Then you still need a preservative."

People who work in an actual medical setting: "Guys, the products we're allowed to use are strictly regulated for exactly these reasons. Also, oil-based products break down latex."

See?

Scoffing scofferson: "Don't all lotions contain oils? Harumph and pshaw."

No. For example, products made for industries that use latex--

Scoffing scofferson: "Sounds like more chemicals to me."

And this is why you should be a little more cautious when buying handmade personal care products, especially from folks throwing around the terms 'all-natural', 'preservative-free', 'herbal', and (especially) 'great for kids': because good intentions are no substitute for actually knowing what the fuck you're doing before you put the health of total strangers at risk.
mokie: Man with an old computer monitor for a head drinks through a straw (eljay drama)
The old joke is that Livejournal users hate Livejournal.

Most of it isn't really a Livejournal thing, but an Internet thing: once a website reaches a certain size, long-time users begin to reject all change to it. Not just the big stupid changes to functionality that break the way they've always used the site, either--even small, trivial changes get blown out of proportion. Every foaming-mad comment is really the user saying, "This is to please those new people, isn't it? What about me? I was here first!" It's not so much a rejection of change as it is a rejection of that loss of insider status.

But anyway.

What about this phenomenon at LJ makes it seem so silly?

How about a comment thread where an admin essentially reassures a Russian-speaking user that they can ask questions in their native tongue and be understood, and the English-speaking users wig out and accuse the admin of attacking the user for not asking questions in Russian?
mokie: Ghostbusters' Vinz Clortho wears a collander and answers questions (geeky)
The season finale of AMC's zombie drama The Walking Dead airs tonight, and the network is running a marathon of the entire series so far. Since I'm a fan of the show, I figured I'd wax philosophical. And before anyone asks, I've not yet read the comics, so this probably won't be relevant to them at all. Don't open, spoilers inside )
mokie: Cartoon of an angry tea pot raging (drink tea)
Is there anything more fun than being slammed with a cold/sinus infection and still having work to do? Besides being dangled from a tree like a piñata full of phlegm and hit with sticks by small children, that is. Being sick sends me back to my comfort teas, one of which is Eastern Shore Tea Company's Plum Good, which can be ordered from Baltimore Coffee & Tea Company.

In the Bag:
This tea also sends me back to that problem of unlisted ingredients. The site describes Plum Good as, "Deep, rich, satisfying flavor, highlighted with soft cinnamon, for an intriguing aroma. Flavored black tea. Contains caffeine. Loose tea in 1 lb. (454 g.) bag." It mentions nothing of cloves, which are plain to see, or finely red shredded petals that a recent Steepster review called hibiscus. [ETA: the company confirmed the ingredients by email as black tea, soft cinnamon, clove, hibiscus and plum extract.] Both are ingredients that make people wary--hibiscus is my mortal enemy, for example--and neither is present here in significant amounts, so I can see leaving them out of the tea's sales blurb. Omitting mention of them entirely is a different story.

(Curiously enough, I knew there were cloves in it when I went to order, and was surprised that they weren't listed. It makes me wonder if the 3oz 'ribbon bags' I used to buy locally do/did have a full ingredient list.)

When I open the bag, the scent is a burst of bubblegum. Bubblegum flavor itself is a blend of wintergreen, vanilla and cinnamon (or cassia), so I wouldn't be surprised by a bit of vanilla in the ingredients/flavoring, too, though it may just be the fruity plum and cinnamon scent playing off my mental scent pre-sets.

The Steepening:
For the first cup, a teaspoon (eyeballed) in a mug with a mesh basket infuser, boiling water straight from the kettle, steeped about 2 minutes, and topped with a small dollop of mixed local and orange blossom honey for my sore throat. (Because I hate having 2 tall jars each with a half-inch of honey left, when I can have one smaller jar with plenty. Also, local honey is clover-heavy, and clover honey is an affront to all that is good and teaful.) For the second cup, the tea resteeped, no honey and untimed because I'm easily distracted. The scent is warm and fruity, all cinnamon and plum, as advertised.

The Verdict:
Not as deep and rich as you'd expect from the description, nor as complex or spicy as you might expect with cinnamon and cloves in the mix, but very satisfying nonetheless--not unlike a tea-incarnation of the Doors' "The End" perhaps. (Sorry, Boomers.) Sure, it's got a little bass and depth, and isn't the high and bright one-note tea many fruit blends are. Its spicy side is nicely warm and mellow and supports that fruity depth like a wonderbra or a really mixed metaphor, where many spicy blends are just heat, or just spice for the sake of being spicy. It plays well with both milk and sweeteners, but has a natural sweetness if you want to forgo the extras.

But it isn't all that deep or complicated, and that's a good thing, because sometimes you just want the tea equivalent of a warm blanket. A warm, bubblegum-scented, 10-minute groovin' Space Coyote blanket. Okay, maybe that last bit's the decongestant talking.

If the red petals are hibiscus, I'm impressed that I don't taste it. I'm used to companies overusing it as filler, and letting it overwhelm the taste of their blends, but if it's hibiscus, it seems to be only accentuating the fruitiness of the plum in this blend. For those suspicious of cloves, they're not a supervillain here either: SeriousEats suggests that clove boosts fruity flavors, adds a little heat and plays well with cinnamon, and it just seems to be doing just that and only that. And adding a little Christmas vibe, but I don't think it can help that.

It's the perfect cup for waking up from an 11-hour nap and considering going back to bed.
mokie: Cartoon of an angry tea pot raging (drink tea)
What's the secret to green tea, mokie?

Time and temperature, mokie. Mostly time.

Experts suggest water heated to 160 - 180 °F for green tea, 190-ish °F for oolong and 212 °F for black, and argue over 140 °F or 212 °F for white, presumably debating whether to lower the temp because of the lower oxidation or raise it since herbals are given a full boil. Herbal experts, meanwhile, huff that just as you can't boil all teas, you can't boil all tisanes. (That's the proper name for an herbal tea, since they don't actually contain, you know, tea.) And yet more expert experts point out that there's a difference between Japanese and Chinese greens, and spring-plucked and summer-plucked greens. All that's before you even get into the Celsius conversions or the debate over whether greens should be steeped just 1 minute or 7 minutes...

And they wonder why green tea didn't take off in the US until Lipton started bottling it.

Let me make your life easier the Chinese granny way: 'shrimp eyes'.

For black tea, your water needs to come to a full raging boil, but when you put on the water for green tea, wait for little bubbles rising to the top, the size of--you guessed it--shrimp eyes. The next two steps up are 'crab eyes' and 'fish eyes', and they're well within the green tea range. If you think your bubbles are too big, or you've just lost track of time and hit full boil, turn the pot off and let it sit a minute or two. With a bit of practice, you'll be able to tell where your water is just by the sound of the kettle.

That said, time is the killer. Water that's too hot may leave you with a bitter green, but most greens, including those you're going to pick up from the shops, also become bitter or astringent if they're steeped too long. Most packaging on green teas is oblivious to this; people from countries that drink sugary coffee milkshakes and sugary milky black tea are told to steep their green teas up to 7 minutes, as if to confirm the healthy benefits of green tea we must first make it taste godawful. Trust me and aim for 3 minutes; if your cup is too weak/strong, you'll at least have a good reference point for adjusting the timing on the next pot.

Now that's out of the way...

What's the biggest problem with flowering teas, mokie?

Time and temperature, mokie. Mostly time.

First, let me explain (finally, halfway down the entry) that flowering teas are whole tea leaves tied together in such a way that, as they steep, they 'bloom' from a hard round ball into a floating 'flower' in the pot, often with actual flowers like jasmine at the center. It's also, according to some, a very pretty way to sell off really outdated tea stock, and I believe it, since I haven't had any yet that didn't taste stale.

Second, there's the issue of steeping time. A flowering tea starts out as a hard bound ball o' tea, but tea leaves need room to move and infuse--that's why bagged tea is chopped into tiny pieces (more surface area), and why tea balls are great for corralling herbs and herbals, but not so great for actual teas. It can take anywhere from 3 - 7 minutes for the outer leaves of a flowering tea to infuse enough that they unfold, and that means that while the outer leaves are oversteeping, the inner leaves aren't getting much room to infuse and expand at all. You can easily end up with a contrarily astringent cup of weak tea.

Which I did.

In the Bag:
Oh look, the actual review! The brand in the cup today is Primula's flowering green jasmine tea. It has several negative Amazon reviews which mention that the customers' tea arrived already several years old judging by the 'manufacture' date and/or expired. I find this perversely funny, since, again, flowering teas seem to be made exclusively from stale tea.

In the bag, this is a little knobby ball that smells a little dusty. No jasmine scent.

The Steepening:
Took forever.

The unfolding of the leaves and flowers into a little bouquet is the real point of flowering teas (more on that below), but this one underwhelmed me. The leaves are rolled and bound in such a way that it didn't gently bloom into a dainty bouquet, awaiting the oohs and aahs of onlookers, as much as it porcupined out into a delicate tea mine, awaiting passing U-boats.

The scent was also disappointing. The mark of any good jasmine tea is its ability to make you forget you're supposed to drink it, because you're too busy inhaling the aroma wafting off the pot, but jasmine barely showed up to the party in this tea.

The Verdict:
Weak, astringent, and not even particularly jasmine-ish? Blah.

I'll admit that the primary draw of flowering teas isn't the cup but the pot: they're not drinking teas, they're watching teas. If you're hosting a little girl's tea party (raiding party, whatever), and everyone's going to drink their flower tea with a heaping spoon of sugar and a handful of cookies anyway, then it's not a problem. They're also not too shabby for that relative who'll drink it and think, "Ah, so that's what a fancy tea tastes like," and then return to her Diet Coke quite pleased at having had fancy tea that one time.

If you want a drinking tea, though, flowering teas aren't the way to go. And if you want a watching tea, you can certainly do better than Primula's.
mokie: A doll with an open torso featuring a diorama (yay for girls)
Feminism exploded all over my Internets from unexpected sources!

The other day, Cracked offered a lesson in tough love with 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person, and in the process nailed Nice Guys: "Don't say that you're a nice guy -- that's the bare minimum. Pretty girls have guys being nice to them 36 times a day. [...D]on't complain about how girls fall for jerks; they fall for those jerks because those jerks have other things they can offer."

Today, Gawker points out [the now-defunct site] "Nice Guys" of OKCupid in all their glorious douchebaggery, complete with a handy flowchart.

I'm surprised. I mean, you expect it of Jezebel, which even offered a field guide to Nice Guys recently, but Cracked? That's dude-central!

Edited for clarification: In much the same way that 'killer whale' as a term refers to a specific breed of whale and not just random homicidal cetaceans, 'Nice Guy' is a term for a specific type of guy engaged in a specific type of behavior, which is described in-depth at the sites linked above.

Essentially, a Nice Guy is a manipulative man who befriends a girl but has ulterior motives in doing so. He has a sexual/romantic interest in her but fears he'll be rejected if he asks her out directly, so instead he attempts to weasel into her circle of friends. There he encourages her to rely on him for emotional support, and often tries to sabotage her relationship by badmouthing whoever she's with ("Why are you with him? He's a jerk!"). The Nice Guy does these things under the mistaken belief that the girl will have a magical epiphany about how great he is, and he'll be upgraded to boyfriend/rewarded with sex. Unfortunately for him, girls can't read minds either, so the object of his affection generally thinks of him as a friend—you know, since that's how he's putting himself out there.

Since he's not actually her friend and it's all a sham, he will eventually turn on her for being a bitch who only likes jerks, and then wander off to whine about friend-zones and how girls only go for assholes who treat them like shit by, oh, asking them out directly and interacting with them like people instead of "machines that you put kindness coins into until sex falls out."

Naturally, Nice Guys don't grasp the difference between themselves and actual nice guys.
mokie: Cartoon of an angry tea pot raging (drink tea)
Earlier this year, I imposed a tea moratorium: not another box, pouch, brick or bag would I buy until my drinking was under control. Until my stash no longer took up its own kitchen cabinet. Until I no longer had more varieties than the grocery store. Until I could look at my supply and reasonably say, "Uh-oh, better buy more tea before I run out."

It wasn't easy. I ran out of my favorite blends one by one. I used up my runners-up. I forced myself to pitch the try-it-outs that didn't work out. But finally, in November, my stash was down to one basket on the kitchen counter. Sure, it was holding about a pound of tea, but seven or eight varieties, and most of those green, and shut up, I don't have a problem, you have a problem! with cold weather coming, I decided some black teas were in order.

Long story short: I've got new sippage, so you get new tea reviews!

One of my new regular vendors is the English Tea Store, purveyors of bulk tea and snackage from the UK. One of the teas I ordered was 4 oz of blackcurrant 'naturally flavored' loose leaf black tea, to see how it stacked up to my custom currant-y blend from Adagio Teas. I love the custom blend, but Adagio botched it twice in a row and their customer service leaves one wishing for the care and attention of, say, Charter or AT&T.

I also regularly order from Baltimore Coffee & Tea Company, because they own the Eastern Shore Tea Company, seller of loose leaf tea in white paper pouches with nifty labels and reusable muslin bags. I don't remember where Eastern Shore and I first met, but after a long dry spell, they turned up again sporadically in the shop at the Missouri Botanical Garden, tucked behind items on random shelves like they'd been stocked by someone who's never worked proper retail before little surprises. Though it's been a few years since I had their blackcurrant tea, named Black Raven in honor of Poe, I purchased a pound because I remembered it fondly.

In the Bag:
- The English Tea Store's blackcurrant contains blue and yellow petals--cornflower and sunflower, probably, since they're popular fillers these days. (I guess hibiscus has been retired.) The petals aren't in the sample photo and the ingredients only list black tea and 'natural flavor' (i.e. flavoring sprayed on the tea leaves), so either the site is outdated or you only get uncut tea in larger amounts.

The bag smells like perfume with a whiff of berry behind it, and the reviewers describe it as 'smooth and fruity', much like you'd expect from people who've never tasted blackcurrant-flavored anything before. Put the two together and it doesn't bode well.

- Eastern Shore Tea Co.'s blackcurrant is just flavor-spritzed tea with no petals or mystery bits, so it's already a step ahead. It smells like malty black tea and Ribena. Taste buds puckered, I had a brief flashback and wondered what markfinnMark's up to these days. Good signs!

The Steepening:
Plain cold tap water boiled in the electric kettle and a little hot tap water in the pots to swish off any dust from the tea--a general hazard of dried plant matter rubbing against itself in packaging. Each tea steeped long enough for me to put on coffee for the non-tea drinkers, and each poured mug was sniffed and sipped hot before cream and sugar, for thorough comparisons.

- The English Tea Store's blackcurrant is ridiculously floral, almost like a berry chamomile, with a strange oily mouthfeel. Maybe the base tea is too bright--it's all perfume and no fruit, especially as it cools down. The effect is less a nice blackcurrant tea than it is sipping regular tea out of your great-grandmother's powdered cleavage.

- Eastern Shore's blackcurrant is already gone. I finished the cup before I could write anything down. Dark, malty and tart and perfect for cold mornings and long novels.

The Verdict:
Oh, Black Raven, I'll never let you go again.

Meanwhile, a quick trip to Google [turned up a now-defunct link that] confirms that it's not me: the English Tea Store's blackcurrant tea is all wrong. Not just cornflower and sunflower petals, but blackberry (not blackcurrant!) leaves, which are the special ingredient that gives Celestial Seasoning teas its gritty "How do you fuck up herbal?" astringency, and mallow flowers, which Google proclaims floral and earthy, and which is on the list of ragweed relatives (along with chamomile) for allergy sufferers to avoid--which explains why I had to suck down ibuprofen and sinus meds after breakfast.

And, again, none of these are listed as ingredients on the packaging or the website, but now I've got an inkling why their Earl Grey left me sick as a dog...

Update: The now-defunct link was to a blogger who had requested a full list of ingredients for the tea. The blog's MIA, but the English Tea Store itself now lists ingredients, so that's good.
mokie: Red and Kitty Foreman are obviously exasperated (disappointed)
After watching George Romero's Land of the Dead a few days ago and Rob Zombie's Halloween tonight, I feel like starting a movie review series entitled, "I see what you were trying to do, and here's why it didn't work."

I see the earnest effort. I see the love. But I also see where they fucked up (yes, including making the film at all) and damn, it hurts.
mokie: A patriotic squirrel holding an American flag (politics lol)
Courtesy of The Riverfront Times: Missourians File Petition With White House to Secede From Union (Leah Greenbaum, 12 November 2012).

Well, not quite: "The Missouri petition was filed on Saturday and currently has 2,231 signatures (a great number of them from out of state)." (Emphasis mine.) I'm going to cry foul though, not because lol, rednecks!, but because Get in line! St. Louis has been trying to secede from Missouri for a while now (and regain control of its police force from the state government), and I think that should be settled before the red bits of the state decide to go gallivanting off.

Though I think we're in line behind Puerto Rico, so this may take a while...

About dream/reading tags

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Material is categorized primarily by structure, style and setting. If searching for a particular genre, look for the defining features of that genre, e.g. x-form:nonfic:bio, x-style:horror, x-setting:dystopian.

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