I love autumn for so many reasons. It’s beautiful and just feels good. There are also little things that I look forward to that make autumn a special such as fireplaces, cashmere, pumpkin flavored anything, colorful leaves, and soup. This autumn I have discovered a few new treasures that I can’t get enough of.
Clockwise from center:
Chrysanthemum Tea: I first tried this in a tea house a couple of weeks ago and fell in love with its light, floral taste. Chrysanthemum tea is a popular drink in China and is said to be cooling to the body and calming while being helpful for fevers and the liver. I had to go on a bit of a treasure hunt through NYC’s Chinatown to find it, but that was part of the fun. It seems the tea mainly comes in whole flowers which I adore. All you have to do is put 5 dried flowers in a 8 oz cup of hot water and the flowers open up as they steep. You can also buy tea bags or the whole flowers online if you are not near a Chinatown.
Hot Baths: OK, this isn’t new but I have been getting back into hot bath mode and am loving it. My current bathing ritual includes Amayori’s Autumn Leaves Bath Salts. So relaxing and a perfect way to end the day and the fragrance captures autumn perfectly.
Satsumaimo (Japanese Sweet Potatoes): These are AMAZING. I promise you, they are like eating cake- very sweet and delicious. To make them is very simple. Heat the oven to 425 degrees, poke a few holes in the Satsumaimo with a fork and roast on a baking sheet lined with tin foil for about an hour. They are delicious enough to be eaten plain. In Japan Satsumaimo are sold on the street during the autumn season. Simply roasted as the recipe above, they are broken in half and served wrapped in paper. They are very easy to find. I have seen them in Dean and Deluca as well as my local Whole Foods.
The Tale of Murasaki by Liza Dalby: If you need a book to escape with, this is for you. The Tale of Murasaki is written in the form of a memoir by Murasaki Shikibu, a member of the Heian court at Miyako (present day Kyoto) and author of the famous Tale Of Genji. This story transports you back to court life in Japan and is filled with beauty, gossip, poetry, endless romances, and art. It also tells the tale of a woman who was clearly ahead of her time and left a lasting impression on Japanese culture as well as the literary world. The author, Liza Dalby, is one of my favorites and was the first and only westerner to become a geisha while she studied anthropology in Japan.
Hinoki Sake Cups: Sake has replaced my occasional glass of wine. At a recent party, sake was served in these simple Hinoki wood cups and I loved them so much I pick up a couple the following weekend. Hinoki wood essential oil is the main ingredient in Amayori’s Onsen Ritual. I am obsessed with its relaxing, captivating smell which reminds of my being in Kyoto. The scent of the wood is a perfect complement to sake and makes for an even more relaxing drink.
Japanese Lanterns: I found these beautiful dried flowers in Whole Foods. What gorgeous color! They don’t need much else in the vase since the color is so strong. Simple beauty at its best.
It is the little things that make life special. I am looking forward to adding all of the above to my autumn rituals for years to come.
Wishing you a happy autumn season.