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The fineness of green tea

There is an ancient Chinese saying, "Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one." The Chinese people love their tea and when they talk about tea they certainly do not talk about the same black tea that we drink every morning. Centuries ago they discovered the wonderful simplified caffeine drink called Green tea. They have harvested an array of other flavours too, black, oolong, scented and white. The west traditionally drinks black tea, which is also popular in our part of the world. In China, Japan and Taiwan though, green tea is the reigning favourite.

While the Chinese folks could not survive a day without sipping the potion of joy, the rest of the world decided to have a go only recently. Green tea is now the latest in vogue all around the world. All the fineness of this traditional Chinese drink including its rich flavour, the gentle aroma, its aftermath reaction to the body and the good for health impression is gaining its place in the world, even here in Bangali life.

So what is this green tea everyone is talking about? We've already mentioned that it is a type of tea originating in China, but what else? What exactly is the difference between green tea, and the comfortable black tea that we are all used to? Well, it all comes from the same plant called 'Camellia sinensis' but the difference is in the processing. Green tea is dried, but not fermented. It goes through minimal oxidation during processing. The shorter processing gives green tea a lighter flavour and fragrance than black tea. It also helps keep all the beneficial chemicals intact, which is why green tea is so good for you.

The Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea since ancient times, using it to treat everything from headaches to depression. Its medicinal use can be traced as far back as at least 4,000 years. The rest of the world is just beginning to discover the goodness of this drink.

Today, scientific research in both Asia and the west is providing hard evidence for the health benefits long associated with drinking green tea. The most important health benefit of green tea is that it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue and it reduces the growth of new cancer cells. Drinking green tea also lowers cholesterol levels. Here are a few more medical conditions for which drinking green tea is reputed to be helpful: rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, infection, impaired immune function, tooth decay and so on.

According to ancient Chinese saying it is good for relieving stress and calming the nerves. Other than quenching thirst, green tea also sharpens the brain and brightens the eyes they say.

Green tea tastes nothing like regular black tea. There are various types of green tea with different flavours. The flavour of green tea can be described as fresh, light, green, or grassy. Some varieties of green tea have a bit of sweetness to them, and some are a little astringent. Green tea is not usually served with milk or sugar, but you can decide that for yourself.

If you think brewing green tea is just the same as brewing any other kind of tea then you are mistaken. It is almost the same yet producing the perfect cup of green tea can be tricky. Remember that using fully boiling water would over brew and spoil the fine drink. The same elements that provide health benefits will ruin the flavour. Green tea is more delicate than black, so keep the water a little cooler. Brewing when your water is just about to hit the boil is good for green tea.

If you really want to experiment with good green tea breaking away from your everyday black tea routine, you may need to look beyond your neighbourhood grocery store. Try the superstores.

By Shahnaz Parveen

Chronicles of Sam Q

Dearest diary,
God! This viral thing has really gotten out of hand. All these years I thought viral fevers lasted three to maximum seven days, but nowadays even the length of fever days has spiraled like the prices of essentials. By the fourteenth day I was ready to admit the worst, I didn't want my tea!!! Me not wanting tea…that's bad news. Anyway while recuperating, I was going through some girlie magazines and one article caught my attention. The writer was saying how when one is young, when advice is being doled out how we tend to be so tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing. We think, while we are all of twenty how worldly wise we are. I tend to forget (very conveniently), I am sure I was the same, but today in hindsight I realize how wrong I was. So today I am going to list what experience has taught me. So as the French woman told the 18 year old “trust me, life really does get better as you become older.” It's so true.

1) Always think before you speak. Otherwise it will be very difficult to get the whole foot out of your mouth. Once I was looking through some old photos with a friend. I came across an overtly painted, badly dressed woman in one of the photos. I was just about to make a critical comment and stopped myself just in time to ask who she was. And guess what my friend answered?? It was her mother. My heart still palpitates even after all these years.

2) Have no expectations from anybody. I know this is a very rigid statement, but actually life would be so much simpler if we could practice this and adhere to it. The only person I know who really practices this statement, is my brother-in-law, Jami. Way to go buddy. Maybe by the time I catch up with you, I will be like you.

3) My number three lesson comes from my friend, Minnat. Fight the bigger battles of life and let the smaller ones go. Be it battles with your husband, children or parents. Fight the ones, which really matter. If some battles are not worth it…let it slide.

4) Men are such babies. Feed them well, cream their feet twice a month, don't scream at the help when he comes back from the battlefield, tell him how wonderful he is and “presto” he is yours for life. And a little pout and flutter of tears now and then helps too.

5) And better believe me diary, honesty is always not the best policy. So what you had to buy the lace sari after coming back from Kolkata? And surprise surprise, hubby comments, “you didn't buy any lace from Kolkata?” you give a very practiced, tinkling laugh and say, “oh, this old thing… mummy gave it to me years ago.” Case closed. Hubby happy. Me happy. The white lie re-surfaces and dies down again.

6) Diet, diet and always diet. Never believe that line, “have the last one today, diet from tomorrow.” As Sidney Sheldon says “tomorrow never comes.” We all know that there is a nicotine patch to help smokers to stop smoking; apparently there is a patch for dieters too. You put the patch on your mouth. Only then it helps.

7) This is a serious one. Save. As in money. I can't save money to save my life. I am so bad. Okay, so I am bad, but I can give good advice. So guys don't be like me. Put away cash for the day when it is pouring and the bank is holding a huge umbrella over your head. I told my umbrella in the early years of our marriage that this is my “only” flaw. Nobody is perfect. My umbrella is still trying to come to terms with my “perfect” comment.

So diary, enough advice for you today. So have a fabulous day the Sam Q. way.

Buffalo Wings
10 whole chicken wings each cut into two
2 cups of oil for frying
180g plain flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp black pepper
The Sauce(mixed well)
180 ml b-b-q sauce
250 ml tomato ketchup
180 ml chili sauce
4 tbsp Tabasco sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
1. Heat oil. Meanwhile combine flour salt, chili powder and black pepper
2. Roll chicken wings in flour mixture and dust of excess. When oil is hot, gently deep fry chicken in batches until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper.
3. Pour sauce over chicken wings.


Décor Delight

Wouldn't it all be so much easier if we were born a generation or two earlier? Back in the days when pragmatism reigned supreme over aesthetics, if nowhere else, when it came to interiors at least. A time of large families, which is what brought on practical living arrangements of course and Dhaka's (under) development. A time when furniture was got because it needed to be so, and got meaning the personal 'kath mistri' chopping wood into shape in the front yard (yes there were yards). But that was then. Scoff as grandparents may, we've come to a time when interior designing has become one of the most happening and reputable professions of it's day and making a home look good is an absolute necessity. So move over convenience, it truly is a beautiful world.

Now there you have it-space which must be converted into a home. Before you bring in the furnifun, attention must be paid to colour because the very shade on your wall will be the basis of a lot of other decisions about the room. Gone are the days of being bland, so forget sticking to only one colour scheme and opt for whatever suits you best. Red if you have the adventure in you, rich mustard for the quieter, classier rooms and pristine white for a light, peaceful touch. It would be advisable to decide what purpose and which person each room will serve before you order your rollers and paint.

Next up we have furniture. Remove all restrictions and let variety seep into you-mind, body and house. There is no need to stick to only one style because there are different tastes and different purposes all harboured under one roof, for which different materials apply. Although heavy dark-wood desks and shelves would be apt for the study, the complete contrast of light cane furniture would do justice to the patio. It is also desirable to break free from tried and tested norms and go for less common ideas like flooring or thick mats and cushions for some sleeping or sitting arrangements. The key is to be innovative. For instance, with all due respect to showcases, cabinets stuffed with a suffocating wealth of collectibles (all literally lined up side by side) are absolute chokers. There is no need to be typical, extravagant or to follow the same pattern in every room. It is just as well to sport an impressive collection of books in one room (makes one seem intellectual!) and simultaneously allow the cuter, more childish side of you speak in the form of stuffed animals in another (or is this just my personal bias?).

Once the bigger pieces have marked their territories, bring in the accessories. Candles, colourful lamps, hand-painted calabashes, paintings and so on are seemingly small decoratives that yield big in terms of both use and look. Plants and flowers, with special reference, must find a permanent spot in every house if it is to be a home. Lastly, add some personal touches like photographs and other sentimentally valued memoirs because a house is one of the most vivid reflections of those who inhabit it.

Remember readers, your home is the most important place in your world, so pay heed to no rules because there are none, except that wish is your command.

By Subhi Shama Reehu


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