I was first introduced to Mairlyn Smith from a blog post she wrote called Thirty Cups of Tea. She mentioned how tea makes her happy, soothes her and acts like a problem solver. Tea is always the answer. It was then that I began to follow Mairlyn online and slowly I started to notice her appearing on my television with Cityline and Breakfast TV here in Canada. Aside from being a fellow tea lover, she is also the author of several best-selling cookbooks and the host of My Left Frying Pan where she shares even more of her fun personality and recipes on YouTube. At the tea table Mairlyn and I chatted about her first sip of tea, tea memories with her Gran and Great aunt and some of her favourite teacups.
The kettle is on and I can hear it about to sing. What tea are you going to steep for us today?
I pick my morning cup of tea based on my mood, the season and how I feel. I have an eclectic array of black or green teas in my cupboard. As well as over hundred tea cups and saucers. Lately I’ve been sipping Jasmine, Earl Grey, Irish Breakfast, English Breakfast and Mint Tea at night.
How did your journey with tea begin?
My Gran and Great Aunt Nell made some amazing cups of strong tea that they served in china cups and saucers. I remember always wanting to be grown up enough to have a cup with them. I loved watching the tea time ritual, how they made it, brewed it, and then how they served it in the tea cups with cookies or scones or crumpets. I wanted the whole experience, not just the tea. They served me Mother Goose tea, which is milky tea when I was around 6 years old. I thought I was so grown up. Maybe that’s why I love drinking tea, it makes me feel grown up.
You label yourself as a tea junkie and also a china cup and saucer lover. As someone who instantly falls in love with teacups, I love checking out others’ collection. Can you share a couple of your own favourite teacups?
My first cup and saucer that I bought was a breakfast sized cup and saucer made by Spode. It’s blue and white and is near and dear to my heart. I worked with the Second City Comedy Troupe in London, Ontario and I would walk by this antique store that had the set in the window. I finally saved enough money to buy 2 cups and saucers. They still are my favourite.
Most of my teacups have a story behind them, they were either given to me by my Mom, a friend or a relative. When I drink tea from them, I feel as if I’m sharing a cup of tea with that person.
I have cups and saucers that are the same pattern as my Gran, my Great Aunt Nell, of course my Mom’s good dinner set, my Mother-in-law and several from my Fairy Godmother. I celebrate them when I drink a cup of tea out of their pattern.
That teacup from Spode is definitely a beaut. Can’t go wrong with its size, too! As the author of several best selling cookbooks, take me through the process of your recipe developing routine and how tea plays a role.
Tea is so much a part of my morning ritual, I can’t imagine breakfast without it. But tea doesn’t play a role in the actual development of recipes. My morning cup or pot, grounds me to the day. Gives a chance to think about what’s ahead. My morning ritual is almost meditative, I count my blessings, enjoy the moment and then I’m off for the day.
Every good day starts with a cup of tea! What are the top 3 teas we would find in your collection today?
I’ve been reading about puerh tea and I finally located a tea shop that sells it. It’s a complex tea that you can drink black and its lovely.
I always have Irish Breakfast or English breakfast in my cupboard, I love that strong flavour, it must be a throw back to my Gran and Great Aunt. Great way to wake up my brain on a cold morning. A strong pot of tea with milk.
I also love Buckingham Garden Party – use it for tea parties or when I’m feeling celebrative.
Black, Green, Yellow, White, Oolong or Puerh?
Hot, Iced or Cold?
Teapot, Infuser or Gaiwan?
Straight, Sweetened or Latte?
Straight or with milk
Cheese or Chocolate pairing?
Not even a contest, chocolate
Choose one person, living or passed, celebrity or family, that you would like to have tea with.
Adele, she’s smart, funny, speaks her mind and I think we’d be fabulous friends!
Find Mairlyn Smith:
ABOUT THIS SERIES: Tea tells stories and when connected with humans, more are created. That’s where the idea for this blog series, At the Tea Table, originated. With this series, The Cup of Life asks tea lovers around the world to take us inside their tea lives to share their favourite steeps, spaces, routines and more. Meet some of your fellow tea drinkers here.