this summer in a glass ::::
I am at the cusp of this summer’s end, as well as my maternity leave’s end preparation, unfortunately. It’s not that I don’t love my job, but it’s very difficult leaving a small baby at daycare for the day. I am reminded of the phrase first coined in the 1980s “It takes a village to raise a child.” That it does, even if Mommy doesn’t necessarily want it to happen so soon. It doesn’t matter if my maternity leave is 10 weeks or 15 months, it’s still difficult leaving one’s baby with another adult. Infancy and childhood is the only time I see that a parent can just stare and stare at their children, especially in the calm of their sleep at night, and marvel at what they have. I want to have that connection as long as possible, every second, without the workplace tearing my eyes away to view MRIs, patient charts, or some pile of paperwork.
I’ve tried to enjoy my time “off,” relishing the baby time, as well as enjoying the time with Peach and Grub (when not having to break up a physical dispute or two between them). The sleep deprivation is overwhelming, even if the child mostly awake is extremely cute and hungry, however, and I just can’t catch up in one night when she is less fussy. While I’m not a regular caffeine drinker, it makes me too jittery and unpredictable, I do enjoy a good cup of tea occasionally. As my brother explained once, “It always seems to taste better when Mom makes it, especially if she makes it and serves it to you.” It’s true. Nothing is better than the tea from Mom.
I’ve not perfected her tea brewing, I’m excusably out of practice, not wasting my thirst on decaffeinated black tea. Green tea isn’t the same, in a different realm. Barley tea is caffeine-free but conjures up different memories, ones of pregnancy, my friend Jen, and Japanese cuisine. Rooibos connects me with medical school studies a few years ago. The zinger teas just aren’t my thing. Lemony sun teas also seem to taste better when Mom made them years ago; I’ve never achieved the same taste that I remember as a kid. And a simple black iced tea: this always opens memories of my dad and his daily iced tea drinking, the gritty sugar at the bottom of an icy glass, the clink of the long stirring spoon and ice spinning, and that first gentle slurp.
One must relent at times, to achieve a partial recap of a memory with food. I made some black tea, iced it and dappled it with plums and fresh thyme. The plums were fresh in our CSA box, the thyme from the garden. My new summer somewhat melancholy memory, speckled with some of the past.
Two years ago: grilled corn with basil-garlic butter-oil
- 2 tea bags of your choice (I used Earl Gray)
- 3 cups water
- 4 tablespoons simple syrup (see recipe in Instructions section)
- 2 plums, sliced
- a handful of ice for each glass
- 8 to 12 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Boil water and steep tea bags in water for about 10 minutes. Remove tea bags.
- Meanwhile, mix together about 5 tablespoons sugar and 5 tablespoons water in separate small pot to dissolve sugar (you can do this in the microwave, if you watch carefully). Once dissolved, add in 4 sprigs of thyme. Allow to steep until mixture is about room temperature, then remove thyme.
- Add 4 tablespoons of simple syrup to the tea and mix. At this stage you can chill the entire mixture (and use less ice for each glass) or proceed to the next step.
- Fill each glass with ice, drop in a few slices of plum for each, then fill with tea. Garnish with remaining thyme sprigs.