I love very few things about the house I’ve lived in for 12 years. The front hallway lacks any feng shui, there’s no storage, we are plagued by a weird smell whose source I have never been able to locate, the dining room is in truth an indentation in one wall of the great room, and don’t even get me started on the kitchen. But I realized the other day how much I love one teeny thing in this house: I have a coffee and tea cupboard.
While putting away clean dishes, I opened the door to stack some coffee mugs and realized how zen that one little space is, and how happy it makes me just to open the cabinet door. First of all, it smells wonderful: coffee mixed with cocoa mixed with tea. It’s a treat for the nose. And it’s pretty as well: all my coffee mugs are squeezed onto one shelf, from my two large, mega-early morning cups to many mugs my kids made in elementary school with their own artwork on them to the set of four (remarkably, still unbroken!) brightly colored cups they gave me one Mother’s Day, they shine out at me.
I have coffee filters in there, and tea strainers, and several forgotten French coffee presses and those silver stovetop percolators from France that I haven’t actually used since I was in France. I have the obligatory Starbuck’s Komodo Dragon dark blend, hot chocolate mix, and a million kinds of teabags, useful for a million different needs. There is green tea for relaxing, Tazo black tea for making iced tea, Earl Grey for when we’re watching an English show and feel the need, and PG Tips for a simple, delicious cuppa.
But I think the reason I love it so is that it is all mine. Nobody goes into that cabinet but me, so its quirky neatness and good smell are kind of a reflection on me: quirky, crowded, perfumed. And what can go wrong when you’ve got that?