|Green tea latte with shells|
I am an idealist and consequently a believer in the redemptive qualities of humanity. However, this is easier in theory than in practice, it is much easier to have faith in a undifferentiated collective called humanity than in the people that inhabit ones day-to-day life. It all sounds quite grand until someone hurts your feelings or leaves you disappointed. Maintaining a promising outlook on humanity is much more difficult in that moment.
I had such an experience recently. It wasn't anything too tumultuous, but nonetheless I was left wondering whether trying to be kind and responsive to the needs of others was worth it. In my world that is a pretty bad mental space. Being decidedly introverted, with the potential to go full hermit at any stage, this kind of thinking threatens to topple the foundations of my rickety philosophy for dealing with people. All the dry, logical arguments about not being reactionary and maintaining my centre were swept into disarray by a wave of cortisol and adrenalin.
As is so often the case, I sought wisdom from the arts. I recently watched 'Taxi' by Jafar Panahi at the film festival and fell in love with Mr Panahi's perspective on everyday life. It was so gentle, bemused, interested, and above all, loving. My friends and I used to say of particularly good and kind people, "He has a good heart," and I could feel that his heart was not only good but gigantic. So, in my temporary and reactionary despondency, I looked to him again. I watched, 'This is not a film,' and despite the uncertainty and claustrophobia that runs through the film, it is the sympathetic interactions with his family, friends, iguana and especially the young man who collects the rubbish that demonstrated his quiet charisma. I finished watching the film a bit more hopeful than when I started, and that is no small feat.
Being part of academia and thinking lots of scientific thoughts has given me a greater appreciation for the power of art. The good stuff can use something as mundane as a streak of paint or a few well chosen words to demonstrate a situation or emotion with more truth than all the facts and figures in the world. After a time of quiet reflection and a good book, thudding hearts are calmed and angry thoughts can be organised.
Once again, the recipe has become a bit of an afterthought to this post, but it is a nice one to know. I recently opened a package of green tea (matcha) powder and am trying to use it as quickly as possible, knowing that it oxidizes rapidly. One way of using the powder is to make green tea lattes. They are sweet, mellow and not challenging - which is nice sometimes.
Green tea latte
makes 1 serving
3/4c whole milk (or your choice of other milks)
1/2tsp green tea powder
1. Warm up your serving vessel by filling it with boiling water.
2. In a small bowl, combine sugar, tea and 1Tb of hot-but-not boiling water. Stir well to get rid of lumps.
3. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it is almost simmering. At this point you can use a milk frother if you have one.
4. Pour the boiling water out of the serving vessel. Pour in green tea mixture followed by the milk. Sift a little extra powder over the foam for decoration if you want to.