It's A Wonderful Life: 5 Magic Keys from the Japanese Tea Ceremony...#BetterWithMissJones Matcha Frosted Lavender Cupcakes
Matcha mania is sweeping the US at the moment. Bon Appetit has recipes for everything from matcha donuts to matcha smoothies and spa day masks! Starbucks has “shaken, not stirred” 007 sexy iced green tea and sensuous matcha lattes. It makes me giggle to see this matcha storm brewing in America.
In Japan, matcha mania is also alive and well. (And has been around for as long as I can remember.) Myriads of yummy cakes, ice creams feature matcha. Treats from the USA including Kit Kats and Oreos also do exquisite tangos with matcha.
However, unlike the en vogue matcha fad in the US, in Japan there is a sedate side of matcha. The Japanese tea ceremony is a sacred and ancient ritual. A tea master inspired and infused the ceremony with dignity during the Edo Period: A time when samurai didn’t have to fend off enemies every other minute. It was kind of a Camelot. Japan closed their country to foreigners and took pleasure in all things Japanese. Including the Japanese tea ceremony.
As I made my Matcha Frosted Lavender Cupcake for the organic non-GMO #BetterWithMissJones contest, I thought about my friends who have studied the Japanese tea ceremony for over a decade. All of them still consider themselves novices. It’s a meditative art. Perfection is rarely achieved. Yet the practice of the Japanese tea ceremony seems to bring (the Christmas spirit of) peace and joy to my friends.
As I pondered the magic of the tea ceremony, I came up with 5 keys, which do indeed make for a wonderful life… Think I’ll do my best to use the magic keys…starting now! Want to join me?
It's A Wonderful Life: 5 Magic Keys from the Japanese Tea Ceremony
1. Drop Your Sword!
Samurai were required to relinquish their swords before entering the
tearoom. Instead of the golf course, sometimes samurai from opposing camps met in the tearoom to negotiate deals.
I bet more peace would appear if we set aside our fighting words. Even if we are seated next to someone we perceive to be an enemy.
2. Let It Go!
Hear the Frozen theme song playing? Me too. There is magic in letting go of worldly attachments. Not saying it’s easy. But surrendering on my knees in prayer helps.
To enter the tearoom, traditionally, samurai had to literally crawl through a small entrance called the nijiriguchi. The act symbolized a surrendering of the ego to something greater.
3. Curious George
If invited to a Japanese tea ceremony, please ask lots of questions. It’s expected. Questions about the origins of the teacup, the tools, the tokonoma alcove seasonal scroll are marks of a polite guest.
Life is challenging. There are challenges and concerns that need to be resolved. However, getting curious and paying attention to others does take away the pain of continuous orbit around planet m-e.
4. Do the Hokey Pokey
“Do the Hokey Pokey and put your whole self in!” It’s always “funnest” when I’m present and participate wholeheartedly in the song-and-dance. I think my great-nephew thinks so too!
Every movement has meaning and is cherished in the Japanese tea ceremony. Staying present to the gifts of beauty Life brings right now sure does make life wonderful.
5. “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.” (Erma Bombeck, American newspaper columnist)
Harmony is at the heart of the Japanese tea ceremony. To balance bitter matcha green tea, a sweet is served…. Small acts of kindness; gentle words assist to mitigate tough times. And help us remember it’s a wonderful life!
In Japanese cuisine, the look of a dish or dessert is tantamount to taste. The lavender hued cupcakes are indeed a lovely sight. The perfume of the cupcake also informs the palate in a very pleasant way! Bold matcha frosting compliments the light lavender cake.
P.s. If you prefer subtler scents and tastes, reduce the matcha and lavender by a tablespoon.
1 package Organic Miss Jones Vanilla Cake Mix
½ cup milk
3½ tablespoons lavender
½ cup butter, melted
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Drops of lavender food coloring
1 tub Organic Miss Jones Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
3 tablespoons matcha powder
Gently heat the milk with the lavender with drops of food coloring. Pour the lavender milk through a strainer into a large bowl. Bring to room temperature. (Unless you want scrambled lavender eggs.)
Whisk in the cake mix, butter and eggs.
Divide the batter into cupcake cases. Bake at 350° for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the cupcakes.
Combine the frosting with the matcha with an electric mixer.