By Anjali Kochhar
New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANSlife): Upon hearing the term "Chai," what immediately comes to mind? What are the large, little stories that accompany chai? Chai has played a big part in bringing people together from the beginning of civilization. A drink that unites individuals and makes it easier for them to open up and share their untold tales and secrets. We might be able to listen in on some informal chats later while drinking chai. So, what?
"Chai is an emotion. The warm feeling or the prospect of making chai comforts me. Also, it is a get-together beverage for me. When I call people to my house, I always prefer serving tea over coffee," chimes Anu. Her passionate love for chai is unmistakable.
"Chai is family," adds Rakshita, another tea enthusiast who has a strong love for chai. Sitting far away in Seattle, she immerses herself in 3 cups of chai every day. Each cup acts as a trail of crumbs to connect her to her family in India.
Here are three must-read books for tea-lovers.
A Sip in Time by Pallavi Nigam Sahay
A newly released recipe book, A Sip in Time by Pallavi Nigam Sahay contains India's finest teas and teatime treats.
With 60 delectable dishes and lip-smacking recipes, this book will keep you wanting more chai. It doesn't matter if you are a fan of traditional more-sugar-less-milk chai or trending chamomile and Darjeeling teas, the book has something for everyone and resonates with readers of all ages and backgrounds.
Sahay, who is an adrak chai lover loves adding lemon grass leaves to her brew. "You cannot go wrong with lemon grass as it reaches your soul with a refreshing aroma and heals with its citrusy taste," offers Sahay.
In the book, the author talks of discovering India's first brew, aka.phalap, as she journeys into the densely forested areas of Upper Assam. She also talks of the medicinal properties of tea as kadhas-medicinal concoctions believed to cure a number of ailments-made using tea as a base.
The book will also take you to the lane of memories. Nostalgia is a key ingredient in her book of tea recipes. From Mumbai's cutting chai to Haryana's khaddi chamach wali chai, she talks about everything in the book.
Sahay is a published author, columnist and television show host. Her first book, The Bhojpuri Kitchen, published in 2017, won the Gourmand Cookbook Award for the best book in India in the Easy Home Recipes category and was recognised among the 'culinary treasures of 2017' by India Today.
The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo
If you are not looking for a recipe book and want to learn interesting facts about tea's history then you must purchase this book. In The Book of Tea, popular author Okakura Kakuzo explores how tea moved from being a medicine in China to a religion in Japan. The Book of Tea is not a history of tea, but of humanity and how the East and West and their values came together. This book is written poetically about how to understand the beauty of the present time, which is the central focus of a tea ceremony in Japan, is a must-read for those visiting Japan and who want to learn more about the reason behind the tea ceremony.
Kakuzo was a Japanese scholar and art critic who in the era of Meiji Restoration reform defended traditional forms, customs and beliefs. Outside Japan, he is chiefly renowned for his book.
Cancer Hates Tea by Maria Uspenski and Dr Mary L Hary
To start with, the book was a finalist for Best Tea Publication 2017 World Tea Awards in 2017. Author Maria Uspenski is the founder of one of the most popular tea shops, The Tea Spot. The book helps the reader understand the biology of the human body at the cellular level and how cancer affects it. It is an unusual read around tea that chai lovers would definitely find interesting.
The author, through this book, explains the healing power of tea, backed by 5,000 scientific studies, leaving the reader with a feeling of control over their own wellness. The book inspires the reader to overhaul old beverage habits.
You won't find many books solely on tea related to cancer. But, this book will definitely catch your attention as it is an amazing tea story with wellness references backed by studies and many wonderful recipes.
While these are some of the tea books which I found unique and caught my attention, there could be many that you may like and can tell us in the comments section below. Before you go, just a sneak peek into the conversations over Chai people have to make your day:
"You don't need any time travel machine if you have chai in hand," says Meenakshi, a tea enthusiast. She says she cannot trade her chai time for anything. She and her friends meet once a week for chai and together go on a nostalgic drive of their college times.
And if you think matchmaking apps are setting you up for a thrill, making adrenaline course through your veins, Akshu's words are piercingly intimate and you cannot stop resonating with them. "My partner has to enjoy tea as much as like I do. That is the underlining criteria of my dating choice. I should enjoy a cup with him at the end of the long day." Love for chai means swipe right, isn't it?