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The Little White Teacup

There was always a place at her table. My grandmother carefully set our plates and cups on her floral vinyl tablecloth and steeped the daily brew. We sipped chamomile, yerba buena “spearmint,” cinnamon, and other herbal infusions. Everything stopped for afternoon tea, but she called it “merienda” the Spanish word for a pause in the day for tea and a sweet treat.

Stopping for tea was our tradition and it was the best time of the day. I can still smell the cinnamon and the anise infusion that she would make when the weather got chilly. I was just a little girl, but I quickly learned the importance of setting time aside for yourself or connecting with others with the hot beverage that called us to the table. I knew that whatever was wrong with the world took a break while we sipped our tea and sunk our teeth into the soft and pillowy pan dulce “Mexican sweet bread.”

I carried the tradition throughout the years and into my adult life. Whether it was a small dorm space in college, a tiny apartment in France for grad school, or a first townhouse rental, I always arranged a special place of peace to retreat to for my cuppa comfort. I began to invite family and friends to join me for small gatherings of tea, treats, and conversation. This began to embody my upbringing of drawing loved ones to the table.

As I moved into my first home with my husband and children, my mother gave me a little white cup that belonged to her mother. I learned that in fact both of my grandmothers loved the tradition of tea! The little white cup became a symbol of a legacy of both of my grandmothers, their love for their families, and the tradition of pausing in the day to enjoy a peaceful moment with the ones they loved the most. Today, I continue the tradition with my own children. We set our plates and cups with our treats and enjoy our time together. I sip my tea from the little white teacup—yes, the exact same one my grandmother drank her favorite teas. I look forward to sharing my stories, recipes, and travels, as I sip from the little white teacup. Join me at the table.

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