I don't know when the love affair first began. It was so long ago that I actually can't remember the moment I tasted that first cup of tea.
It could have been at a very young age when I detested milk. My mother would let me have, what she said, was a cup of tea. But she didn't fool me; it was mostly warm milk colored with possibly a couple tea leaves.
As a child, when I spent nights with my grandmother -- who was much more lenient as grandmothers tend to be -- for breakfast she let me have a hot, steaming cup of tea that was the rich color of golden caramel.
I can still see the eastern sun dancing off the kitchen table where she had set a beautiful china cup and saucer alongside my breakfast plate.
As love affairs do, it continually blossomed and grew stronger with the passing years. It was iced in the summer months and hot during the winter season.
Even my Italian in-laws, who I'm sure had never drunk a cup of tea in their lives or much less knew how to brew a pot, added a box of tea bags to their repertoire of pantry groceries when this WASP with a strange food pallet invaded their family.
A friend of mine calls the drink a miracle cure. I'm not sure I would go to that extreme, but I would definitely call it a panacea for emotional turbulence.
When feelings are in the doldrums, there is nothing like bringing a brisk, hot cup of steaming tea to your lips and feeling the hot liquid slowly embrace and warm your body.
And I'm not talking about flavors that many hosts -- mostly coffee drinkers -- offer guests.
I'm never sure if they are trying to clean their pantry shelves or want to be gracious by offering those long lists of teas with exotic flavors.
Sounding much like a server racing through the day's special menu, they rattle off flavors such as Plantation Mint, Cinnamon Stick, Peach Passion, or Luscious Lemon.
Please, just throw me a Lipton tea bag and a cup of hot water.
However it's not best to make tea with tea bags although when in a hurry it is certainly convenient.
Passionate tea drinkers add boiling water to a warmed china or ceramic teapot in which a heaping teaspoon of loose tea has been added to each cup of water in an infuser. Then let the tea steep to the strength you prefer or as my brother would say when we were kids, "Has the tea pulled enough?"
As visitors to my house can vouch, sometimes they have to suffer through a cup of my coffee.
However, the ambiance may not be as appealing as High Tea at the Royal Ascot, but I am always ready to extend to my friends a welcome with una tazza di te. I may even throw in a low sugar scone.