Guest Post :: A Cozy Day

A Brief History of A Cozy Day
Spring may be near but there are still plenty of days left in winter to spend curled-up in front of the fire. Everyone has a favorite way to pass the time; maybe it's on your grandfather's leather recliner, in your partner's oversized sweater and with a particularly aromatic blend of tea. Whatever your preferred regime may be it's likely long established.
There are many elements that contribute to a successful day on the sofa, and though each of these elements has a place in your own personal history these items also have an interesting history of their own.       

The Favorite Book
Down and out in Paris and London is a wonderful companion to a blustery day by the fire. Published in 1936, George Orwell's memoir chronicles his experience as destitute young artist living in Paris and London.
Born in India, Orwell moved to Paris in 1928 on his way back to England after having abandoned a career with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. While his family was of modest means and could have helped him, he chose to live life on his own and pursue writing, much to the dismay of his parents.
Writers often cite the first chapter of Down and Out as the chapter that taught them how to write descriptively. In it he gives a nuanced description of his hotel, neighborhood and the eccentric individuals with various storied backgrounds who live and struggle with him.

The Favorite Sweater
The favorite sweater is a staple of any successful cloudy day. An established favorite is the Aran Sweater. The Aran Islands are located off the West coast of Ireland. As fishermen and farmers, Aran islanders made their sweaters to hold up against the harsh maritime climate of the Atlantic. The sweaters are made with heavy wool, and according to the Aran Sweater Market, "can absorb 30% of its weight in water before feeling wet." Wool functions to draw moisture away from the body and out through the fabric so as to keep the wearer warm. Since it’s a natural fiber it doesn't cause the body to overheat while it protects from the elements.
The sweaters also have a special family meaning to them. Each pattern represents a different clan and their identity. Clan patterns are made up of a variety of stitches that represent different elements of Aran life. Some represent ropes, some seaweed and others wealth and success.
Feeling inquisitive? Pull out your own Aran sweater and spend some time trying to figure out what that your pattern means.

The Favorite Tea
The favorite tea is another essential component to a day inside. It warms you up from the inside when it's cold on the outside. Tea was introduced to the US in the 18th century after trade was established between China and the UK. Ever since coming to the US it's been a popular drink. Of course with the exception being the immediate aftermath of the Boston Tea Party.
While there are several different categories of tea, the two categories people are most familiar with are black and green. What most people don't know is that both types of tea come from the same plant, the Camellia sinensis (originally found in China and India), and are only altered during processing. There are many, many varieties of tea all different depending on location, soil quality, climate, altitude and processing. For example, Darjeeling is a black tea harvested in the Himalayas and has a musky quality to it. Earl Grey, on the other hand, is a blend of black tea that is favored with bergamot. But black and green are the two main ones.
Once leaves have been harvested they're taken to a factory to be processed. To make black tea, leaves are then left out so that moisture evaporates. After this stage, they leaves are broken up into different sized particles so that their natural chemicals can be released and mix with air. Particles are then left out for several hours to ferment and are then placed in hot air chambers where the pieces change color. Green tea is processed a little differently, rather than breaking up the withered leaves before they enter the hot air chambers, the leaves are left in tact.
If you're feeling creative try adding a few flavors from around the house. Lavender always makes a nice addition, especially when you mix it in with a bit of sugar. 
So there you have it.  A little bit of history about a few of the items that, when mixed together, make for a perfect winter day, blissfully spent doing as little as possible.

Izzy Woods is a professional writer and researcher.  Thanks for contributing to the Mo Pie, Please team, Izzy!

Happy Tuesday, friends.  Hope you get to have a cozy day soon enough!


Leslie February 7, 2012 at 8:09 AM  

I love your picks for a cozy day! I must say that a cozy sweater is a must. :)

Katie February 7, 2012 at 12:03 PM  

Yes, the cozy sweater is vital. However, I find the tea to be the most important part. It keeps one warm inside, too! That little history of/making of tea bit was really neat to read. I want to go find a book about tea-making now.

SARAH February 7, 2012 at 1:00 PM  

I really like the way you incorporated a sort of "mood board" and history together in this post! Very thoughtful and compelling.

Alexa February 7, 2012 at 5:26 PM  

I feel snuggly just reading this post!

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