Cups of Comfort

Island Epicure


The damp windy, chilly weather we get at this time of year calls for hot foods and warming beverages. Coffee with a dash of cinnamon.  Tea with ginger in it; ginger as an aid to digestion of spicy foods. Chamomile tea to ward off insomnia.
Chamomile eases indigestion and counters inflammation besides acting as a calmative. Alas, some of us are allergic to it. Its virtues don’t come through to us. Don’t read any farther in this paragraph if you are allergic to ragweed, celery, or alliums, i.e. onions,  If you have no such allergy, chamomile tea would be a pleasant after dinner drink.

Chamomile Tea
2 servings
1 chamomile tea bag
1 cup water, boiled and cooled a little
1 teaspoon honey

Put the tea bag into the first teacup. Pour hot water over it. Steep no more than 3 minutes lest it turn bitter.  Transfer the tea bag to the second cup if two people are participating, otherwise reserve it for later use  or toss it.  If you misjudged the three minutes and your tea tastes bitter even with a teaspoon of honey, add more hot water.

Ginger Tea
1 serving
About 2 inches of fresh ginger root, sliced and slivered.
About 1 cup boiling water
Honey  or coconut sugar to taste
Place the slivers of ginger in an 8-ounce cup or mug. Pour boiling water over the ginger and up to ½ inch from the cup’s rim. Put a lid or saucer over the cup and let it steep for a few minutes. Remove the cover. Stir and sip the tea. Add honey or coconut sugar if desired.
The virtues of honey are that it’s sweetness comes from fructose, not sucrose, and it gives you enzymes and vitamins given to it from the flowers the honey bees plundered. The virtues of coconut sugar are that it registers only 35 on the glycemic index and it’s a flavorful brown sugar. White cane sugar has a glycemic index number of 100 so you feel any aches and pains more acutely.  The  glycemic index lists 11 kinds of honey. Their glycemic index numbers range from 32 Australian to 87 Canadian. They average 55,
Honey is also antiseptic. Anciently, honey was applied to wounds to avoid infection and speed healing. In my novel “Rotaida and the Runestone”  Rotaida, as a kitchen slave in Charlemagne’s castle, cuts her hand while cutting up a game bird, Head cook Truda puts honey on the wound and then bandages it with a strip of cloth torn from her apron.
If Rotaida’s skin had not been pierced, Truda could have used vinegar as the antiseptic of choice, and her apron might still be intact.    The pastry cook used honey in his baked desserts. It kept them most.  Try stirring a tablespoon of honey into your muffin batter. You’ll never break a tooth on a leftover muffin that has a moisture-drawing smidgin of honey in it.

P.S. My books “Rotaida and the Runestone” and its sequel “Royal Spy” are available at the book stall at Saturday Market.