"Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories." ~From the movie An Affair to Remember
I was sitting in Our Little House this weekend enjoying the warmth of the wood stove and looking out onto the 10.5 inches of snow when a craving from a long time past hit me.
Russian Tea. There was nothing that would make me happier than a nice, hot cup of Russian Tea.
I don’t remember if my mother received a jar as a gift or if she got the recipe, as she did so many ideas then from Country Living Magazine, but I do remember it was Christmas 1979 when I believe she first started making it.
We had moved that summer from Our Little Bungalow into my mom’s dream home, a turn of the century brick Tudor with a ceramic tile roof.
It wasn't a mansion, by any measure, but it was one of the largest homes in our railroad community, built by the man who founded both the bank and the general store.
It sat on a half-acre corner lot and with its original leaded glass windows and built in bookcases, china cabinets and chandeliers, it was a gorgeous home.
Restoring the old home to its former glory allowed my mother’s creative ability to really shine, in her decorating and in the kitchen.
1979–80 was a cold, snow filled winter. I remember my dad walking the few blocks to his railroad job several times because the roads were snow packed.
It was a perfect winter to enjoy the lemony orange goodness of Russian Tea, which became a staple in my mother’s kitchen. It could always be found in one of her antique tins on her counter.
If you've never had Russian Tea, it is a sugary mixture of orange Tang, pre-sweetened Country Time Lemonade, instant tea, cinnamon and cloves.
It’s a rusty orange color when mixed with hot water (Dale always said the color reminded him of old car radiator water), but is oh, so good on a cold day, especially when one is fighting off a cold or flu.
The winter our German daughter, Steffi, lived with us, was also a cold one. I introduced her to the tea and we would enjoy it while munching on German cookies her family sent us from Munich.
I’m a coffee gal now. I don’t remember when or why I stopped drinking Russian Tea. It was probably a mixture of my resolve to eat/drink healthier and my loss of taste for most things sweet (except chocolate). But, as my holistic doctor has said to me, “Sometimes you just have to go for the comfort foods. Go with it!”
It’s not something I would drink everyday, but a cup now and then this cold winter will not hurt.
So, this weekend, I will buy the ingredients and also get a few little mason jars and give some Russian Tea as gifts this holiday season, as it does make a really nice little family present, or small gift for a friend, teacher, neighbor, etc.
Don’t forget to tie a pretty ribbon around the top and include the recipe!
½ cup instant tea powder
1 cup pre-sweetened Country Time Lemonade mix
1 cup orange flavored Tang
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
Mix together in a large mixing bowl. Place in an airtight container. Make by the cup by putting 2–3 tsp. of mix into a cup of boiling water. Will keep without clumping for 2–3 months.
Have you ever had this tea?