January is National Tea Month

Even though it’s more than half way through January, it’s better late than never to let you know that January is National Tea Month. There’s no drink that so pleases Steampunk sensibilities and inspires such reverential treatment. Professor Elemental wrote this anthem to our favorite beverage:

Tea has an interesting and quirky history. The Tea Drinker Blog has these interesting facts about tea.

  • Tea is the second most widely consumed beverage in the world after water. Half of the world’s population drinks it either hot or cold.
  • It is the most popular and cheapest beverage, next to water, in the world.
  • Everyday, more than 2 billion men and women drink their favorite beverage, tea.
  • 5 out of 6 North Americans drink tea
  • The average North American consumes one cup of tea per day.
  • Tea’s consumption will continue to increase as health-conscious consumers choose tea for its medicinal benefits.
  • Tea is a rich source of antioxidants and flavonoids which are scientifically proven to aid in the prevention of heart disease and cancer.
  • The antioxidants in two cups of black tea are equivalent to the antioxidants in one glass of red wine, seven glasses of orange juice, or 20 glasses of apple juice.

So this January, stay warm with a nice cuppa and enjoy National Tea Month! Yay!

Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities will always be the favorite beverage of the intellectual.
-Thomas de Quincey

In Praise of Idleness and Tea

Around the globe today, many are celebrating Christmas. It’s an opportunity for many to spend time with loved ones and enjoy that company. For others, it’s just another day.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, it is Saturday. And today, I’d like to encourage my readers to take the day to relax. This film by the Tea Appreciation Society entitled, “In Praise of Idleness and Tea,” was created as a tribute to tea’s ability to slow us down, to encourage us to pause for moments of reflection and introspection.

Sometimes we get caught up in the dizzying whirl of life. We get swept away by to-do lists and demands from work that makes us neglect what we truly care about. This year, I’ve been particularly guilty of putting aside the things and people I care about for demands from things and people who don’t necessarily care about me. It’s a terrible habit, and its hardly a way to live a life.

In the waning days of 2011, I’d like to encourage you, my dear reader, to indulge in some personal idleness with a cup of tea (or other steamy beverage of choice). Now is a great time to consider what adventures you would like to embark on in the approaching new year on this last weekend before 2011.

Steampunk Cakes

One of my favorite blogs in the vast space that is the internetz is Cake Wrecks. Cake Wrecks features the very worst in professional cake decorating atrocities. Needless to say, it is very much for the lulz. After I’ve had a bad day, Cake Wrecks often leaves me feeling better by reminding me of no matter how frustrating my day was, I don’t fail quite as much as the people who decorate (and expect others to buy) these cakes.

Every Sunday, however, Cake Wrecks features some of the very best in cake creation and design. Recently, she did a thread on Steampunk cakes. And, needless to say, these cakes are AMAZING. Like this one:

By Amanda of Venus Cakes: http://www.venuscakes.com/

I don’t know when I would ever have such an occasion to have a cake like that, but it is definitely impressive.

To see the entire blog post which includes lots more pictures of awesome Steampunk cakes, head on over to Cake Wrecks. And for some hilarious examples of cake decorating gone wrong, make sure to visit their main page often!


The Tea Appreciation Society

There’s no beverage quite like tea that so unites Steampunks. I’ve spent many a wonderful meeting sharing tea and discussion with many of my favorite Steampunks. Tea brings us together and encourages sharing and dialogue. It is, in many ways, vital to Steampunk interaction outside of the internet.

Knowing that tomorrow is International Have a Nice Cup of Tea Day, I wanted to bring to your attention one of my favorite tea organizations: the Tea Appreciation Society.

Founded in 2007, the Tea Appreciation Society is a worldwide collective of tea lovers. According to their About Us section, the Society is for people who believe that tea is more that simply a beverage:

The Tea Appreciation Society satisfies our desires to do some good both ethically and environmentally, allowing us to champion philanthropic attitudes to business, and work with various charities.

Our philosophy: As a worldwide collective of individuals we celebrate the love of tea, community, and the creative human spirit.

We are tea drinkers, our passion for celebrating community, art and the creative spirit fuels our desire to make the world a better place to enjoy.

Tea offers us an opportunity for quiet contemplation and shared moments of intimacy with friends, enabling us to reflect, be inspired and create.

That’s why we appreciate the tea.

And I think that’s precisely why many Steampunks appreciate tea as well! If you want more information on the Society’s philosophy, please explore the Tea Appreciation Society’s Manifesto, a beautifully tea stained document detailing the Society’s mission. Make sure to enlarge it fully, else you’ll find it very hard to read.

So today, tomorrow, and any day you wish, reflect on the memories and inspiration a cup of tea has brought you. Here’s to many more.

Steampunk and Victorian Food

With the holidays soon upon us, that means it is time for food. And not just any food. We’re talking grandiose Thanksgiving dinners that served for ten that could easily serve 50.

Yes, November and December is a time of gluttony, and if you’re going to be doing all that cooking anyway, you might as well make it Steampunk, right? Right.

Fortunately, horizonchaser over at LiveJournal has gone through a monumental undertaking to guide you through the process of Steampunking your holiday culinary experience. Her impressive article entitled Steampunk and Victorian Food is chock full of period recipes and tips for creating that perfect holiday meal. Some of them are a little stranger than others, so I’ll leave it to your culinary discretion to pick out those that are the tastiest and least likely to freak out your guests.

As an important asside, since we are talking about food, it’s important to mention manners. Remember that your guests may have certain dietary restrictions which may complicate their desire the fully partake in the festivities. Be sure to give everyone lots of options. Everyone loves food, but no one likes being surrounded by food and having nothing to eat. So be a good host and consider your guests!

Over the Crescent Moon: Steampunk Party Food

A while back, I covered Fuel for the Boiler, a Steampunk cookbook put together by the Steampunk community over at Brass Goggles. It’s quite a treat as it has all sorts of recipes for creating Steampunk entries. It’s also free to download the electronic copy.

Fuel For the Boiler is designed not to be a “corny” presentation of Steampunk cuisine. It’s definitely more along the lines of what Steampunks could eat on a daily basis as and not die of malnutrition.

But for a child’s Steampunk party, it’s okay to get a little goofy with the presentation and go overboard with gear shaped junk food.

Like This

Crescent Moon, from the blog Over the Crescent Moon,has a post on a series of recipes that she created for her son’s Steampunk birthday party. From zeppelin candy to marshmallows transformed into top hat treats, this is great “cute” munchies for the younger Steampunk audience because it replicates many quintessentially Steampunk items like gears, airship, and top hats.

And since that was precisely what Fuel for the Boiler was trying not to do, you won’t find any of these sorts of recipes in the cookbook. Fuel for the Boiler is about discovering a Steampunk cuisine, not about trying to incorporate the look into the food.

But for those looking to replicate the Steampunk look for a child’s party or other casual Steampunk function, Crescent Moon’s recipes are an interesting reference tool.

The Well Stocked Steampunk Bar

When I was writing the post for my sortie to celebrate all things Tesla last week, I discovered a troubling lack of cocktails with a particular Steampunk flair. Indeed, digging up some Tesla inspired drinks was quite the challenge, though I am quite pleased with the end result.

The lack of Steampunk themed cocktails got me wondering what it was that Steampunks drink at a party. Sure there are givens like wines, beers, rum, absinthe and tea, but what else? That can’t be the end of the beverage list. We need something a bit more.

To that end, I would like to bring your attention to a webpage called The Well Stocked Steampunk Bar. This page, which began as a thread on Brass Goggles and was expounded upon by the Steampunk community there, has a plethora of drinks suitable for your next Steampunk get together. It is especially helpful because it is broken down in to three categories to guide one’s purchasing to fit the hosted event:

  • Critical items, without which you should be be hesitant to entertain
  • Secondary items, that are a plus.
  • Premium items, that are wonderful but expensive and/or difficult to come by and may be best for small gatherings of intimate friends.

As noted in the page, the categorization of different beers, wines, and spirits has a distinctly North American slant, so those in different parts of the world will likely differ in the classification of certain drinks.