You’ve probably heard Mom talk about “tea time.” There’s a chapter devoted to it in one of her books—she blogged about it a while back. It’s all about ritual, taking time in the late afternoon to sit for a few minutes. But, as she noted, she often finds herself having tea on the fly. Grabbing a cup at a coffee shop, or brewing a cup at home and then sipping it . . . while continuing to work. It’s easy to go through the motions and miss the point of the experience.
All my years in England taught me to like tea time, but I love another ritual. An evening drink. For me this signifies the end of the working day, the proper transition from a busy and productive day into a relaxing and enjoyable evening.
Often times, as with tea, the evening drink is something we do while we’re cooking, or finishing up a few last-minute tasks on the computer. And there’s really nothing wrong with that, but when you take the time do it fully, you realize what you’re missing when you blow through it.
Last week I was working with Mom at their vacation home in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania. We’d had a long and grueling day of recipe testing. By the time we had finished packing up the food, cleaned the kitchen and banged out the last of the recipes, it was 5:30 or 6:00. We were ready to flop. We needed to start dinner, but we also knew a break was in order.
We could easily have justified segueing into dinner prep, but instead we made three beautiful Gin and Tonics—Dad joined us—a few pot stickers and our favorite smoked salmon tartar and headed down to the table and chairs set up by the stream on Mom and Dad’s property.
It was a beautiful day, in the low 70s. The setting sun filtered through the trees and the sound of a lazy stream carried me into a different headspace. We didn’t talk about work or the laundry list of things that needed to get done; we simply enjoyed each other’s company.
An evening drink may not be in your tradition, and of course it can perfectly be sans alcohol. Perhaps it’s sitting with a good book or magazine for 30 minutes or taking a walk. Everybody needs a transitional movement from work to relaxation. On most nights—that’s an evening drink for me.