Laundry: time for contemplation. Nothing goes better with contemplation than tea, though perhaps it’s the other way around — does tea promote contemplation?

Tea, apparently, promotes many things, packed as it is with antioxidants. Sipping my cup of smoky Lapsang Souchong from Farley’s as the clothes tumbled in their dryers, I could feel the health surging through me.

Or could I? The report last week from the San Francisco Chronicle touted tea as one of nature’s “superfoods” — a buzzword sure to sweeten many lips this year.

But while I was ready to leap to action in a superfood sort of way — some of my favorite foods are super, including dark chocolate, avocados, and spinach — science does not subscribe so readily to food trends.

As usual, it’s more complicated than just eating specific foods. In a piece today in the New York Times food section, Marian Burros investigates the proliferation of “alternative” cereals, along the way finding that tea — she’s talking here about green tea as an ingredient in cereal — doesn’t get a free pass into the Superfoods Hall of Justice (“Wonder Twin powers, activate! Form of: Darjeeling!”). As Burros reports:

But “the science isn’t there yet on antioxidants,” said Bonnie Liebman, director of nutrition for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “It’s a good buzzword.”

Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration has said that the cancer-fighting claim for green tea is “highly unlikely.”

Hmph. But it still tastes good — the pot of Houji-Cha I had yesterday at Medicine New-Shojin Eatstation, for example, was nutty and wholesome, as things tend to be at Medicine.

So, as you’re contemplating your next cup of tea, check out the Los Angeles Times‘ roundup of tea kettles; then revisit Pim’s excellent paean to tea. Finally, has already done all the work for you, if cake or biscuits are your cup of tea’s, er, cup of tea.

Food Writing Roundup: Tea Time 11 January,2006Bay Area Bites

  • cucina testa rossa

    is that a little red tin of hediard tea i see there? my favorite to contemplate with in the late afternoon.

  • Davina Baum

    It is indeed! You clearly have an eagle eye for tea — I’m glad you were able to identify it in my rather amateur shot. Since when did writing about food have to include photographing food? Two separate talents altogether.


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