[port2port calendar. Click these photos to see a little clearer, but I think the haziness represents my A.M. outlook accurately.]
[top of our dresser]
[antique prayer bench (from my Mom) and usually a cat]
[one of my favorite corners in the house, and a family rocking chair]
And then, a warm beverage in the kitchen. Today I made an attempt to enjoy yerba mate partially traditional, and partially not:
I do think the traditional gourd preparation process is really cool (you can see a video here). But like I said, it's pretty high maintenance for my average morning, at least right now. You have to cure the gourd 12-24 hours before using it, for one thing.
So, I placed the bombilla in my cup, added a few scoops of mate, two teaspoons of Sweet-n-Natural, and poured in hot water. Honestly, it smelled wonderful. It tasted great, too, and sipping through a bombilla was fun. The only weird thing was at first, I tasted a few mate leaves as I sipped. I was not so much into that, but I think the mate I used was too finely cut - better used in our coffeemaker or various tea filters.
I met a nice Argentinian via flickr who urges me to cure my gourd. He said the longer I use it, the better mate will taste. He also informed me that in South America, it is just "mate" - not "maté." The accented "e" is an American invention to make the beverage more fashionable. This made me laugh as I've been accenting e's all over the place. I'll do my best to stop.
I also joined a few yerba mate flickr groups - I'm so intrigued by this tasty beverage and its origins. From what I gather, mate is South America's Starbucks, except that South Americans have been drinking mate for much longer than we've been fiending for caramel macchiatos. And, mate is an entire, lovely ritual in South America. Another flickr guy said that gas stations in Argentina don't even have coffee to-go. Instead, there's a hot water spout for brewing mate. I love learning such facts, away from my American perspective. Johnny, we need to travel more!
Also via flickr, I found this charming photo of two very cute mates (gourds are also called mates) which complement that kitchen perfectly. A cheerful sight.
I read the Guayakí curing instructions (that came w/my gourd) again this morning - trying to work up my gusto gradually - and I learned the "subtle mate language":
"Mate can be prepared in various ways. Different ingredients and temperatures can suggest the brewer's intention for sharing mate."
-Friendship: sweet mate.
-You are in my thoughts: mate w/cinnamon.
-I like you: mate w/burnt sugar.
-Come for me: mate w/orange peel.
-I sympathize with your sadness: mate w/molasses.
-I'm so in love with you: very hot mate.
-Marriage: mate w/honey.
-True love: foaming mate.
Apparently, I'm drinking friendship mate today. Now, I need to hop to that rocking chair and read more of Leif Enger - in order to post over on books for calvin
["goodbye" in Portuguese ~ trying to be like Papaw.]