Saturday, May 9, 2009


I got up relatively early this morning and immediately had a bunch of tasks that had to be done and errands to run, and didn’t get to have my usual cup of coffee.

My whole day has been thrown off.  

I didn’t enjoy running around the Phoenix metro area in the heat (103 today) and the pollution (ozone warning), and when I finally got home around 2:30, I was hot, tired, grumpy, and had a splitting headache.  I could blame it on the ozone, which I’m sure didn’t help, but I have to say that even as overheated as I was, I was desperate for a cup of coffee.

So, after changing into something more comfortable, I sat down at the kitchen table with my newspaper, which I also missed, and a nice cup of coffee, and within twenty minutes I knew that I was going to live to see another day.

The effects of coffee have been debated.  A few years ago, coffee was anathema, according to the health experts, and I gave it up.  I got used to living without it, so my addiction was broken.  But I still missed it.  I missed that hot, fragrant, bitter taste, and the ritual of making it, waiting for the smell to permeate the house, the anticipation of that first cup.

Now, those same experts are saying that coffee may actually be good for you, so my favorite morning ritual has been restored.  And when it comes to what’s good for me, I’ve decided to pay less attention to the “experts” and more attention to my own instincts.

I use a French press to make coffee, but the protagonist of my series, Alafair Tucker, early 20th Century farm wife and mother of 10, makes coffee the same way my grandmother did.  She put 1/2 cup of coffee in the bottom of a tin coffee pot, filled the pot with water, and boiled it furiously for ten or fifteen minutes.  She settled the grounds with eggshells and/or a little cold water. She knew the coffee was ready when a spoon stood up in the cup.  My old farm relatives usually drank their coffee with two or three spoonfuls of sugar.  After drinking a cup of my grandmother’s coffee, you could go out and happily plow the south forty, with or without a mule.  


Gayle said...

Love the story about your grandmother's coffee. What a hoot!

Dana Fredsti said...

I've read reports that people who drink a reasonable amount of coffee are less likely to commit suicide. I have my preventative cup every morning!

Donis Casey said...

Excellent, Dana! I shall take that bit of wisdom to heart.

Marian Allen said...

LOL! You whippersnappers probably aren't old enough to remember the tv show GUNSMOKE, but there was a running gag about Dep'ty Chester Goode's coffee. It was so thick and strong, people would come in and say, "Cut me off a cup of that coffee" and such-like. heee!