Or, “chai morning”. Or, “how I plan to blame my mother for my decisions and smugly say she cost me a thousand dollars.”
Let’s begin with the weather, which I’m sure is news to everyone: it’s cold. I live in Texas and naturally I’m woefully underprepared for cold days.
Frost was on my bathroom windows. Icicles and straight-up ice, too. Here’s the part where I gleefully blame my mom: I was totally gonna get new windows last year. I even had dudes with tape measures and brochures of smiling vinyl windows come out to my house. When I told my mother I was getting the windows replaced, she looked outraged, like I’d told her they were making every highway between her house an anywhere a toll road, and hissed “why??” My mother is a frugal soul. She makes do with anything. Sometimes with nothing, in fact. The thought of new windows when these 38 year old ones were clearly not falling out of the frames or visibly broken past the point of a tape-fix was in fact appalling.
So the opinion of my mother–nevermind the sticker-shock and the hassle of having to get a permit for windows (WTF!) or my own natural frugality (skinflintitude? cheapskatedness?) nevermind my tendency to never get around to doing anything–meant I now have hoar frost in the bathroom.
And thus the chai. If you’ve stuck with me this far, you deserve some chai. Here’s how I make mine for 2 or 3 people:
2 cups boiling water
2 cups milk (I use almond, but cow’s or soy would work)
Combine and put over medium heat.
Powdered cinnamon to cover the surface of the milk
2 shakes of ground cloves
2 shakes of ground ginger
A pinch of cayenne
2 or 3 grinds o black pepper
A blurp of vanilla. Let’s call it 1/4 tsp
2 arms of a star anise pod
2 or 3 cardamom pods
(some mornings I whack them to crack their pods open. I think the heat does the trick though.)
A shake of nutmeg
A shake of allspice. Cause why not.
I put all that in while the milk/water is heating. Stir it up, but don’t walk too far. You wanna catch this as soon as it boils.
When it does boil, turn the heat to low and simmer. Put in 2 tea bags. Earl grey is nice, but today I used a black tea. Earl has a pretty decent heavy flavor. I also add sweetener at this point, but sometimes leave that to the drinker to put in his or her cup. I’ve heard it’s not good to heat honey up.
Simmer for 20 or 30 minutes and stir. The stupid cinnamon will want to clump or stick to the sides. Fight it. Beat it down.
Enjoy with a side of smug while you cover your ears, sing la-la-la-I can’t hear you while fully shirking responsibility for your own lassitude and fully grown-up decisions.