Sunday, January 20, 2008

Exploring Issues & Answers........

Related to our food systems, our health, and our community.
It surely seems as if by magic all major companies have suddenly switched from spoon feeding us less than healthy foods to spoon feeding us all natural and totally healthy foods.

Green is getting attention, the masses are taking notice of the fact that our food choices are laced with "stuff" that is less than ok.

Are we being duped by the 'Green' label and the 100% natural, toxic free, and a host of other 'buy' me, well written ads designed to once again keep us from thinking for ourself and doing our own research, and most of all making our own decisions about what is healthy.

I know what is required to be organic, healthy, and toxic free, I also know you can't get there overnight, in a few weeks, or even months, it takes years to undo and redo what is needed to make that transition. But...not if one is allowed to cut corners, by-pass laws, mis-label, leave out and just plain lie and revamp the truth.

My suggestion is this...if you are moving into the green living stream, seriously changing the way you look at and decide your food choices...then look at locally grown, in season, and small companies that you can easily track their history and operating modes.

Learn how to read labels, if it has a lot of words that you have to look up the meaning...leave it on the shelf.

Natural, organic, green, whatever it is to you or to me....isn't always 100% as we would like it to be. But on a scale of safe to harmful, it should be very close to safe. That isn't asking to it?

I invite you to make 2008 a very Green year.

Bea Kunz

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Nice Cup of Tea


In honor of National Tea Day...I thought this was fitting.
I love George Orwell's take on everything.

A Nice Cup of Tea
by George Orwell
Evening Standard, 12 January 1946

IF YOU look up ‘tea’ in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points.

This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.

When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer than 11 outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here are my own 11 rules, every one of which I regard as golden:

First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays—it is economical, and one can drink it without milk—but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.

Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities—that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britanniaware teapots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse; though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad.

Thirdly, the pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water.

Fourthly, the tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right. In a time of rationing, this is not an idea that can be realized on every day of the week, but I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones. All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes—a fact which is recognized in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners.

Fifthly, the tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea. In some countries teapots are fitted with little dangling baskets under the spout to catch the stray leaves, which are supposed to be harmful. Actually one can swallow tea-leaves in considerable quantities without ill effect, and if the tea is not loose in the pot it never infuses properly.

Sixthly, one should take the teapot to the kettle and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours. Some people add that one should only use water that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that it makes any difference.

Seventhly, after making the tea, one should stir it, or better, give the pot a good shake, afterwards allowing the leaves to settle.

Eighthly, one should drink out of a good breakfast cup—that is, the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one’s tea is always half cold—before one has well started on it.

Ninthly, one should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste.

Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.

Lastly, tea—unless one is drinking it in the Russian style—should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea-lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.

Some people would answer that they don’t like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need sugar to take the taste away. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.

These are not the only controversial points to arise in connection with tea drinking, but they are sufficient to show how subtilized the whole business has become.

There is also the mysterious social etiquette surrounding the teapot (why is it considered vulgar to drink out of your saucer, for instance?) and much might be written about the subsidiary uses of tealeaves, such as telling fortunes, predicting the arrival of visitors, feeding rabbits, healing burns and sweeping the carpet.

It is worth paying attention to such details as warming the pot and using water that is really boiling, so as to make quite sure of wringing out of one’s ration the 20 good, strong cups that two ounces, properly handled, ought to represent.

Copyright © 1995 - 2008 by Charles' George Orwell Links. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Can We Get There From Here?

I sometimes enjoy sharing "cool stuff" I find in my reading or traveling. I found this in the news magazine "Mother Jones"...
I know you are thinking this has nothing to do with herbs, yes and no.

I think it points out the fact that we need to take more control over our health decisions. Change some habits, take a hard look at our diets, our food sources, and make radical changes. Herbs can help us do that.

This is the text of the article from Mother Jones...

Do You Care About Your Health?

According to a report from the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, avoidable medical mistakes are the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, ahead of car accidents, breast cancer, and AIDS.
There is no legal limit on the number of hours a physician can work in a 24-hour period. 70% of surgeons do not believe that fatigue affects their performance in the operating room.
In a recent year, there were an estimated 44,000 to 98,000 avoidable patient deaths in American health care.
There are no federal laws requiring hospitals to report deaths and injuries to patients caused by error.

Sure makes me look closer at other options!

To Your Good Health!~~Add herbs to your diet.

Bea Kunz

Monday, January 07, 2008

January's Garden

Looks like snow, feels like snow, it was snow! Didn't last long and may or may not return. We are at the foot of the Cumberland Plateau, so the mountains and ridges usually stop or break-up the hardest of the weather actions. We can have snow one day and sunshine the next.

But, one thing we can depend on is....the gardens will only sleep so long and then they will rise up against whatever the weather offering is for the day.

Looking out across this field, imagin a sea of beautiful lavender, that is what this field will be by mid July...I'll share the view when it is in full bloom.

Everything is sleeping and just as it should be for January. ( In the garden, that is.)

The keeper, ( that would be me) is busy with pen and pad, books of all descriptions, ideas, and options.

Lots of new stuff coming to the Beatitudes this spring, so stay tuned and have great winter fun, wherever you are and whatever the weather brings to your town.

I would really love to build a big fat snowman!

Bea Kunz