Kitchen Catastrophe 32 – SWEET TEA

  You know, life as a globe-trotting billionaire can be tiring, or so I’ve heard. I wouldn’t know, since the only phrase that could describe me proceeding “aire” is “laissez-F”. However, I know that I’ve had a bustling shindig of a summer. With trips across the Cascades, runs to Olympia, and if I’m not going somewhere, I’m meeting someone, or someone called me a week ago to set up a hang out today. It’s weird, because, objectively, I know I’m not super busy. Heck, I’m a lot less busy than usual. But it FEELs like I’m constantly running around. And stress doesn’t care about the truth, just how you feel. So I thought it was time to sit back, relax, and enjoy Jurassic Park with Iced Tea and Popcorn.  Why Jurassic Park? Because I was momentarily bored and thought “Why isn’t there a Jurassic Park boardgame? I bet I could make that.” And spur-of-the-moment ideas are what power my spite-engine.

Ice Ice Baby

Now, dear readers, you may not know this about me, but I am a tea fiend.

Of all the addictions involving heat and spoons, I think it’s like, the 4th worst.

I’ve never been fond of coffee, so when I need a caffeine pick-me-up, I drink Mountain Dew. But when I need a relaxing warm beverage, I drink hot chocolate. Yeah, that’s the other weird thing: despite being quite into tea, I don’t typically drink it hot. Like, don’t get me wrong, I will drink the ENTIRE kettle of hot green tea they bring me at Chinese restaurants, but primarily, tea is my summer-time drink. Iced Tea, and especially Sweet Tea, are my go-to drinks to ward off the heat. Why? Well, because you can dump a whole cup of sugar into a half-gallon of Sweet Tea, and still have less sugar per serving than a can of Sprite. Also, and this was a big one for me: It can be REAL cheap. Like, 50 bags of Lipton Coldbrew runs $8, and a 10 pound bag of sugar is less than $6. Even dumping a full cup per half gallon, with 2 tea bags, costs a total of $0.62 per HALF GALLON (64 ounces.) So it’s healthier than soda, and cheaper. (It’s a lot more of both if you drop the sugar content to half that and just have iced tea, too.

As such, the astute readers noticed that my earlier pictured teas were predominantly fruit, mint, or otherwise “cold” flavored. Because I expect most of them to become iced teas. (The Evening Comfort and Bourbon Rooiboos are just for warm drinking.) And that’s what I did today, using my newest tea, Strawberry Snow!

Snow’s a lot greener than I remember it.

Strawberry Snow is a “white tea”, the lightest of the four teas. (Oh yeah, Tea trivia, baby. This is what I live for.) This means a lot for its composition, harvest, and medicinal effects that while I could explain right now, I would much rather save for a later Quick Tip, since A) there’s a lot of cool info, B) We’re already halfway into this post, and C) I mean, c’mon, I’m a lazy jack-ass. Why make one post when I can make 2? In any case, the relevant points are: White teas are the gentlest of teas, having the least potent tea flavors, and using the coolest waters.

Oh, yeah, that’s a thing, if you didn’t know: technically, you shouldn’t boil EITHER green teas or white teas, but rather pour just-under-boiling water over both of them. The reasons why are complex and multifaceted- nah, it’s pretty simple: the heat can damage some of the volatile oils involved, making the tea more bitter and harsh than it should be. You may recognize this effect as “what happens to any food if you cook it too hot” aka “burning”. Now, since it’s clear I’m the most woke muthafucka in cháguăn (Of course I looked up how to write “tea house” in Romanized Chinese. And know what the term for “Rendering other languages phenomically or phonetically into the Roman alphabet” is, because I’m the biggest nerd in the goddamn world.)

“Have biodegradeable self-fill tea-bags” levels of nerd-dom.

IN any case, making iced tea is real simple: You make extra-strong normal tea, and then water it down. Okay, technically, there are three major ways to make iced tea, and this is just the fastest, but WHO’S THE ONE WRITING TEA HOUSE IN CHINESE AROUND HERE? Seriously, though, the other two methods take like, 6 hours minimum, and I actually re-brewed the tea I made using one of them, so we’ll get feedback about it later.   But for the quick method, you get a quart of water, and boil it. Then, because you LISTEN to what Jon says, you take it off the heat, and wait till it reaches the proper temp for White Tea, because boiling water would ruin it.

That’s not a filter on that image: I am literally holding a thermometer, and my camera, in a cloud of steam from near-boiling water, just to show you the right temp. Maybe I underrated the dangers of tea addiction.

So, I was brewing for 2 quarts of water, meaning I used 20 tbsps of Strawberry Snow. You pour the not-quite-boiling water over the bag, and let it brew for 3ish minutes. (This may seem fast, but this is a white tea.) Then take it out, squeeze out the last of the liquor (meaning “flavor juice” here, and not ‘alcohol’), and add another quart of cool water. Let chill, and you have Iced Tea. My family uses Simple Syrup to sweeten Iced Tea, because of course we do, have you met me? (Normal sugar can have dissolution issues, leaving you with a tbsp. of pure sugar at the bottom.) I went with about half a cup, and the tea was great. My mother said it had an “understated elegance” and later “Is actually quite good.” Which makes me wonder what she meant by the first statement.


Now, for all that I’m a pretentious twat about tea, I am also just a pretentious twat.

There’s no twist there, it’s just a fact.

SO I prefer to use unbagged popcorn when it comes time to watch movies. Sometimes. Look, I’ll be honest, if I’m tired, screw it, in the microwave it goes. But there’s a bunch of great things that happen when you pop your own corn rather than using that bagged stuff. It’s healthier, for one, as long as you don’t drown in it butter or butter substitute. You get to control the flavors, so if you want Cajun popcorn, throw those spices on. It’s just cool to watch, too. And you get almost no left-over unpopped kernels. I popped 3 tbsps into 6+ cups of popcorn.

Have you or your loved ones never seen 3 tbsps of popcorn kernels in one place? Well, that’s pretty damn normal.

IN the entire bowl? 12 unpopped kernels. One Dozen. That’s all.

So I threw a tablespoon of Amish Butter Topping (thus doubling the calories of my bowl, in a terrifying show of fat’s caloric density.) sprinkled some powdered garlic, parmesan, and italian herb mix on the corns, and got ready for some Cretaceous-style Catastrophes.

Images of movie not shown to avoid copyright infringement. I hear Jurassic Park’s lawyers are...killer.

I’ll see myself out.



Sweet tea


20 tbsp loose leaf tea placed in strainer or other brewing apparatus, or appropriate number of tea bags.  (If you only have normal size bags, roughly 10)

2 quarts water, separated.


  1. Heat 1 quart water to boiling, let cool if necessary. Place tea into pitcher.
  2. Pour hot water over tea, and brew normal length of time. (1-3 for white, 5-7 for black)
  3. Pour remaining quart of water into tea. Place in refrigerator to cool

Stove Top Popcorn


1 part oil

3 parts dry popcorn kernels

(so if you use 6 tbsps kernels, use 2 tbsp oil)

3 tbsp of kernels will produce between 4-6 cups of popped corn.

Desired toppings.


  1. Heat a medium pot or Dutch oven over medium heat for 7-9 minutes.
  2. Add oil to pot, and let heat briefly (15-30 seconds)
  3. Add kernels, and close lid. Shake, on heat, frequently. Popcorn should start popping within 3 minutes.
  4. Once popping slows, remove from heat, and shake into bowl.
  5. Top as desired, and serve warm.