Craving an Addiction


Photo credit: Deep Roots at Home

I know this is going to sound stupid (as it did to John), but sometimes I wish I was addicted to some sort of beverage. It seems that for so many people a beverage is the ultimate day brightener. The British have their endless cups of tea that not only seem to be little mini-celebrations of life, but also make everything, from shrapnel wounds to work stress, all better. Then there is the fact that America wouldn’t function without its morning cup of joe – not to mention the now almost ubiquitous afternoon frappelatteccino.

Do you remember this picture of my library?
Well, I faked it. I would never drink espresso.
The brown liquid in the cup is soy sauce.

And then we move into the world of alcohol. I watch a lot of TV, and boy do people on TV drink a lot of alcohol on a regular basis. Don’t get me wrong I am not looking to become alcoholic, but where would the Real Housewives be without their gigantic glasses of wine? What would those irascible scamps on the Real World do if they weren’t getting shit-faced at every turn? And what about the endless mugs of beer on Cheers?

OC Housewives about to become louder and more obnoxious than usual.

As much as I hate beer, it always looked so good on Cheers.

I don’t even understand soda (pop, soft drinks, etc.). You see, my problem is that I don’t like any beverage just for the sake of the beverage. Apart from slaking thirst (strictly water), for me liquid is only meant to go with something else.

Make mine a Diet Coke.

Tea goes with copious amounts of scones or other baked goods and even then is somewhat superfluous to me.

In my book coffee goes with nothing. I love the smell of it, but you couldn’t pay me to drink a cup.

Soda strictly goes with pizza, burgers, or other similar high-fat, handheld food.

Red wine is amazing with good food – and I do quite enjoy it in that context, but it is rare that I will have a glass just to have a glass. In fact I try and make sure that I finish my wine by the time I finish my last bit of food. White wine pretty much goes with nothing on my palate. I will say I have had some extremely good whites with extremely good food, paired by extremely good sommeliers, but how often does that happen?

Cocktails (and I tend to prefer some sort of giant, girl-cocktail with an umbrella) are sometimes okay on their own, but I still am usually looking for something to munch on. Brown spirits are pretty much just for cooking.

Beer, ale, lager, hard cider, etc. have no place in my life. The smell alone is enough to make me wretch.

Years ago I heard a story on public radio about people whose palates didn’t tolerate grapefruit (I think it tastes like poison) also tend not to like alcohol. I think this may be me with above the exceptions.

In many ways I should be glad that I don’t have any of these cravings. I clearly don’t require caffeine to function. And just think of all the money and calories I save by not craving alcohol. But there is part of me that wishes I had some sort of liquid pacifier that made me happier, or calmer, or more relaxed. I’m not depressed or anything (or am I? maybe that is why I am finding no joy in reading or blogging lately). It just feels like after 42 years of keeping tight control over everything it would be kind of nice to have some magic panacea that just allowed me to turn off or turn on, or whatever it is that beverages do for other people. Maybe I just feel left out…maybe its time for a little tap water…

19 thoughts on “Craving an Addiction

  1. Ti December 16, 2011 / 1:53 pm

    I think it's hilarious that you faked that photo!!

    I am known to drink a cup of coffee in the morning, but usually that's it. I am also a sucker for the holiday versions that Starbucks offers but once the holidays pass, I go back to sparkling water, usually Pellegrino with a slice of lime. Oh, and iced tea is pretty good too.


  2. ArchitectDesign™ December 16, 2011 / 2:25 pm

    We were just talking about that here on vacation as I've been going back and back to Mariage Freres (tea). For me I think the experience is more than the beverage itself -a hot cup in your hands and the delicious scent. As soon as I get home (or the apartment here in Paris) I put the water on to boil and bring out the teapot. The ritual itself is comforting. I bet you have something similar in your life, only it doesn't involve a beverage.


  3. ArchitectDesign™ December 16, 2011 / 2:26 pm

    PS: oddly enough, I sit here typing with a glass of red wine AND a cup of tea. Overdoing it much?


  4. pagesofjulia December 16, 2011 / 3:01 pm

    Gosh, Thomas, I'm still laughing at the fact that you put soy sauce in that cup for a photo shoot!!!

    You're right, you're probably better off without these kinds of addictions. But I DO understand what you say you're missing. (I do not share your problem, as I enjoy coffee, tea, wine and beer – although not all at once.) But I'm with Ti – probably there's something in your life that does serve this purpose, but isn't liquid?


  5. Susan in TX December 16, 2011 / 3:07 pm

    LOL at the soy sauce! That would never have crossed my mind. For me it's morning coffee, but I'm down to half caffeinated, so I think it is the warm cup, and the habit of doing it for 40 years (yes, I did indeed start drinking black coffee at the age of 5 – I have my granddaddy to thank for it). I do tea in the afternoons, but the lazy American way with a teabag simply for the convenience. “Real” tea is a habit that I think I would enjoy. Other than that, I never go anywhere without my Ozarka bottle.
    I will concur with the others – I'm guessing you have some sort of daily habit that takes the place of the beverage.


  6. Donna December 16, 2011 / 3:34 pm

    This is very sweet, and I can definitely sympathise! I do understand what you mean. I almost think it's the duty of a parent to ensure some sort of hot drink reflex (you can tell I live in a place with seasons and plenty of rain lol!) in their child. It's so important socially I think. To put the kettle/coffee maker is a hospitable gesture here in the UK – not only the action itself, but also in being the recipient of such attentions. I love the setting out of the best cups/mugs, popping some biscuits on a plate etc. LOL, just the act of flicking a switch on my kettle makes me happy as it just feels so companionable even if I'm alone. Of course I'm of the “a cup of tea solves everything school of thought,” but spent 10 years in the States developping a coffee addition as well. You, however, are such a charming person to meet that I didn't even notice you didn't relish that cuppa in the British Museum so don't worry Thomas!


  7. Relish December 16, 2011 / 3:40 pm

    Wow! There are a lot of rules going on here! – Urm..what's a cup of 'joe'?

    Tea goes with everything trust me. Particularly the sausage buttie I had for breakfast this morning. Great big honking buckets of it.


  8. everybookandcranny December 16, 2011 / 3:42 pm

    For the last decade I've started every morning with a cup of coffee and though I'm sure if I were to stop I'd get a serious caffeine withdrawal headache, it isn't and never has been about the caffeine for me. I love waking up to the aroma, I love the warm milky taste (for me, 1/3 milk and 2 tsp. sugar). Maybe there's also something about the ritual. Sometimes I even think about it at night, looking forward to the next morning's cup of coffee. Even though it's not about the caffeine, it probably is starting to sound a little like an addiction, isn't it?
    I feel the same way about iced tea but if I have that every day, I go into some kind of sugar trance, so that little pleasure is reserved for special occasions.


  9. Overdue December 16, 2011 / 6:51 pm

    I HATE coffee! And I really really wanted to like it, for most of the reasons you just said, and also because coffee drinkers are undeniably cool, so I tried really hard to push through it…only to discover caffeine gives me heart palpitations. Typical. So I'm on peppermint tea now. A lot healthier but definitely not as cool. And going to Starbucks is like being a vegetarian at a BBQ (and I know, because I'm vegetarian and I go to BBQs. They're not fun).
    I do like a nice mug of tea, but it's more about the warmth of the mug probably.


  10. music-books-steve December 17, 2011 / 12:40 am

    How sad that “brown spirits are pretty much just for cooking.” There is nothing like a nice Scotch before dinner or as a nightcap. Though lately, largely for budgetary reasons I've switch to American bourbons (also very nice). As for clear spirits, there is nothing like a really well made martini.

    On the caffeine side, I am fortunate to have a wonderful tea store (Tea Source) around the corner from my work (


  11. Darlene December 17, 2011 / 12:41 pm

    Burst out laughing at your use of soy sauce and the image of you then trying to carefully get it back into the bottle. You are delightful, Thomas.

    Sparkling water with a splash of any juice you care for is perfect for when you feel like something with a bit more style than plain water. I never crave alcohol or coffee either but tea…that's another story.


  12. Heather Bond December 17, 2011 / 1:51 pm

    When I first moved to Seattle I didn't drink coffee – well maybe one cup of watery diner coffee when I had breakfast out. Once I got here I started to feel left out because all of the cool kids were carrying cups of hot liquid so I started with steamed milk with almond then pretty quickly progressed through mochas and lattes to americanos. While I do enjoy the taste, it really is about the ritual for me. I like going to the same coffee shop, saying hi to the girls behind the counter, chatting with the other patrons while I wait for my coffee. It's the same with tea – just putting the kettle on makes me happy. But I'm a creature of habit (or a rule-bound crank if you ask my sister).

    Soy sauce, hilarious!


  13. Daniel-Halifax December 17, 2011 / 2:33 pm

    I have to say, I'm just the opposite…Drinks fill a void for me which food cannot (to some extent). Coffee (many) in the morning and PG Tips in the afternoon. I'm not much on drinking but I prefer a Barbera in the winter and fall or whisky, and gin when it's hot and humid. I want to help you during this cunundrum, but I think when you find your drinking niche you're doors in your life will open (I think that's being a bit dramatic)…


  14. StuckInABook December 17, 2011 / 7:15 pm

    People tell me that my addiction to tea would end if I gave it up for a week – but, as you correctly imagine, I like being addicted to tea. It can make me so happy – my addiction is cheap and legal, so I'm all set!

    Coffee – bleurgh.

    And I hate grapefruit and like alcohol, but I only have it about once a fortnight or so. I could give it up incredibly easily – I can't leave the house unless I've had tea.


  15. Desperate Reader December 17, 2011 / 7:25 pm

    Water has become my drink of choice recently. I've spent the last week meaning to make a hot chocolate and never quite getting round to it. A nice whisky is a wonderful thing but not perhaps the best habit to form. Something will turn up for you though I'm sure.


  16. Thomas at My Porch December 18, 2011 / 11:02 am

    Ti: A lot of book bloggers seem to be very excited when the pumpkin spiced lattes arrive.

    Stefan: Do you ever watch “As Time Goes By” with Judi Dench on PBS? The thing I like most about that show is when they make tea, put the kettle on, put the cups on the tray, etc. I find that very comforting, so I understand what you mean. Red wine and tea? Do they work together?

    Julia: It's probably carbs, but that is alot worse than a cup of tea. And I feel bad afterwards. So maybe I do need to develop a beverage addicition. Keep me away from the sugar.

    Susan: I think the teabag is a great invention, no need to feel lazy.

    Donna: Similar to my response to Stefan above referencing As Time Goes By – your description of getting the tea ready I find really comforting and I can see it and smell it, and even hear the china rattling as you set it out.

    Relish: It is nice that in our day of global information exchange there are still things like “cup of joe” to confuse people. (cup of coffee)

    Every b and c: I swoon when I walk down the coffee aisle at the supermarket. I love the smell of all the fresh beans.

    Overdue: I can imagine the frustration of being a vegetarian at a BBQ.

    Steve: I know I am missing out on a lot. I particularly like the thought of it when I see it on TV or in films. Ice clanking in the glass, stopper being replaced on the decanter. Hudson asking if there is anything else…oh wait now I've strayed into Upstairs Downstairs.

    Darlene: It was a really big bottle, so it was easy to get it back in there. I do like a sparkling water with a nice wedge of lime.

    Heather: Steamed milk with almond sounds pretty good. I might have to try that. Normally if looking for a cozy drink at Starbucks or similar I would get a hot cocoa.

    Daniel: Food tends to fill my voids.

    Simon: As with many of my blogger friends, tea drinking is part of your persona to me so I wouldn't know what to do if you stopped. A year later I am still trying to grasp your vegetarianism–which until I met you had not been a part of who I thought you were. Which of course begs the question as to whether or not one's persona is defined by their eating habits. I think for me it is because I love food so much.

    Hayley: I do tend to drink hot chocolate around the holidays. I always make sure we have it in the house when we trim the tree.


  17. Kerry M December 19, 2011 / 3:36 pm

    I never thought of a beverage as a ritual like you've presented here – at least never entirely consciously – but I like where you're going with this. I'm not a big caffeine person (the stuff makes me jittery), but I love me a good cup of black tea in the afternoon, iced in the summer.

    And if you're looking for something more fun than water, but not pricey and/or full of calories, do you like seltzer water (or club soda, I can never tell the difference)? I've been on a kick with that lately – more interesting than tap water, but just as “good” for you. As in, the kind of good that is not bad.


  18. Sarah Faragher December 22, 2011 / 9:50 am

    I sympathize. Stopped drinking coffee years ago, don't drink alcohol anymore either, tea is nice but not a regular indulgence by any means, soda and fruit juice have too much sugar. What's a girl to do. Special water? To wit, Pellegrino is nice, and Gerolsteiner, too, which comes in big glass bottles that look good lined up on the kitchen counter.


  19. Thomas at My Porch December 27, 2011 / 12:51 pm

    Kerry: I do like a selzer with lime. Very refreshing.

    Sarah: I got a case of San Pellegrino for holiday entertaining and they do look nice.


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