This is Teatime, a storytelling series that shares people's experiences with tea. Through this series, we hope to create conversation about the **complex** history of tea, the role tea plays in people's lives + the differences across cultures.
This week, we talked with Christina, based in LA, about her stories surrounding tea. Spoiler, it involves eating tea.
Christina Lazzaro, Freelancer & DONA PR Manager
Q: Name & background
Christina, native Angeleno. My mother grew up in Hawaii and my father in Italy.
Q: What do you do?
I consult for incredible food, beverage, and tech brands. On the side I make mask chains and jewelry, cook, giggle at twitter, and pet as many other people's dogs as I possibly can.
Q: What is your relationship to tea? What significance does tea have in your life? In your family? In your culture?
Tea and I are BFF's. My grandmother grew up on a sugar cane plantation on Maui with 11 brothers and sisters, so her tea time experience was never a solo event, rather a time of day that everyone can come together and sip. She passed on that tradition to us grandchildren and when the tea kettle went on, it was time to come together. We're ethnically Japanese, but I would consider my family culturally Hawaiian. On-island Grans grew up beside many different Asian cultures and that was reflective in the food she cooked and the various teas she kept in the cabinet.
Q: How do you drink your tea?
Well, my favorite tea pastime involves eating my tea. A traditional rustic Japanese dish my grandmother made and I still make very, very frequently is Chazuke. In its simplest form you pour hot tea over rice and other accoutrements. I start with cooked Gaba Rice (because it's slightly nutty and so good for you), layer with an array of Japanese pickles (salt cucumber, Takuan - pickled radish, umeboshi - sweet & sour pickled plum, gobo, seaweed, ginger, really whatever you want), smoked fished (Ruddell's salmon belly in Cayucos, CA is the BEST for this), and pour hot Genma-cha (green tea with roasted rice). I'll top with some furikake or tograshi if I'm feeling zesty. But really the hot tea with the fish and all the aromas from the pickles make the best kinda quick dashi that is both comforting and delicious.