of the Lazy Literatus

Steeped Recipes at Smith’s

I can’t cook . . . worth a damn.

The only interest I’ve ever taken in food preparation is, well, how to eat it. That is where my exploration of the culinary arts begins and often ends. Beyond the making of an epic sammich (yes, sammich, not sandwich), my ability to cook, bake, and . . . just generally follow instructions of any kind falters.

What does one expect from a guy who screwed up Easy Mac? Twice. In one session.

I highlight all of this to illustrate that I am the most unqualified candidate for food-related events, such as the one I attended on Saturday.


Smith Teamaker had booked a cook book author for a demonstration at their HQ. The author in question was Annelies Zijderveld, and her new book was Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea. As the title suggests, the focus was on how to use tea in a culinary capacity. (Y’know, besides just sprinkling kitchen-grade matcha on everything and calling it a tea recipe.)

Tea MC Tiff, Smith’s social media guru-ess, sent me an invitation to the demo a couple of months back. Initially, I had to decline because of my dodgy weekend work schedule. However, by some stroke of foodie fate, I ended up with the day off. I planned my day around the event accordingly, “hired” the lovely M. Tepper to photograph the proceedings, and the mission was a “go”.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect, having never attended a cooking demonstration before. A part of my mind was picturing Julia Child caked in green tea powder. That non sequitur image was dispelled upon entering Smith’s boardroom. Tiff expertly corralled us press folk, and took us to the back kitchen.

Annelies and her assistant-du-jour were aproned and bustling.


There were tea and foodstuffs everywhere. My tummy growled in both frustration and delight. I hadn’t eaten lunch, yet. Said stomach reminded me quite loudly. But back to the book . . .

Annelies’s inspiration for writing Steeped came during her time working for a tea company. Yes, she actually had tea industry experience. One day, while working on something menial, she grabbed a gyokuro leaf and started chewing on it. She liked the taste so much, she figured, why not a cook book?! Stranger inspirations have happened. I once plotted an epic space battle in the shower – sound effects and all.

Participants were first asked to indulge in a tea tasting.


Bowls of Long Jing, Roobios, Lord Bergamot, Keemun Hao Ya, Masala Chai, and ceremonial grade matcha lay in front of us. I was surprised at the last one. Usually, in regards to cooking, culinary grade matcha was utilized for recipes – mainly for bulk amount and cost effectiveness. I was a bit elated by this high-brow change.

Palates primed, Annelies then guided us through several ways to use the teas in various recipes. Many called for using a simple coffee grinder to pulverize loose tea leaves into a course (but not matcha fine) powder. Roobios was utilized in a butter recipe that was simply divine – with a capital diva! Long Jing was, quite surprisingly, put to good use as part of a furikake seasoning for popcorn. Keemun was paired with salt for a white bean walnut spread. Masala Chai was used for nifty li’l cupcake thingies. And good ol’ matcha was paired with coconut to form . . . something. (I forgot the name of it. Wasn’t a fan.)

But my favorite . . . oh dear lord . . . my favorite . . .

Earl Grey yogurt parfait

F**king Earl Grey yogurt!!!

Holy bergamot balls this was good. And the best part, the recipe was easy. Put simply, it was dunking Earl Grey (in a filter bag or sachet) in yogurt, repeatedly, for three days, and stirring. Even I couldn’t screw that up. The results were astounding. In plain yogurt, the bergamot notes were subtle and sweet, but still there.

The demo ended with an opportunity to purchase the book and mingle a bit with the authoress. By the end of the two-hour event, I was full and quite caffeinated. Lost track of my appetite. As a parting gift from Smith’s, we were each given a tea “starter kit” to try some of the recipes at home.

starter kit

Now . . . all I need is yogurt. Lots of yogurt.


Regarding Tea Sachets


A Tale of a Nepalese Tea Estate


  1. I hope it’s the start of something wonderful. And I’m not going to google “Easy Mac”. I’m already assuming I won’t like it.

  2. Well done! I will be reviewing tomorrow. Now lets see what direction this takes me.

  3. Holy moly you wrote about cooking and food! But seriously many of those food items using tea sound really fun, especially the yogurt and butter and popcorn topping. The only question is, is it easy to do? You’ll be testing out that yogurt thing right?

    • After grinding tea leaves into a powder, it’s just like any other seasoning. You can do whatever you darn well please with it, then. The biggest issue is getting a tea that has the flavor profile you want.

  4. Ali

    The yogurt sounds wonderful!

  5. That sounds really cool. Never in a million years would have thought to put tea into foods… but it’s really quite brilliant! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I’m so excited to hear the earl grey yogurt was amazing. I currently have it in the fridge and am getting impatient waiting three or four days. Can’t wait to try it even more now! I’d recommend trying her simple lapsang souchong salt recipe in the book too. It’s awesome to have around and add into anything quickly!

  7. Wish I was there. Looks amazing.

  8. Margo Hutchinson

    Several of the items sound really good! The yougart one would be interesting to me also. Sounds like a fun experience!

  9. adore their packaging!

  10. So you are going to invite all of us to your home and cook steeped recipes for us?

  11. We love to see bloggers trying out something new that still fits into their niche. The combo of tea and food is a perfect way for you to step out of your comfort zone and the post that was produced in result was both funny and informational. Congrats! We hope to see more like this! Perhaps a recipe post of your own someday?

  12. What a fun cooking class idea and night! And now you can feel successful at cooking…kinda. 😉 I’m headed to an Indian cooking class this next month and can’t wait!

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