The morning often sets the tone for the day.

Matcha with Adzuki Bean Cake

I would like to be the kind of person who gets up early on workdays and spends a respectable amount of time with a healthy breakfast and a cup of tea, carefully considering and preparing for the onslaught of the day. The reality of my mornings is nothing like this – I usually throw things and myself together and out the door in the last possible minutes. To counteract this tendency I have developed a morning ritual which works out really well and which I am trying to perform as often as possible. The photograph describes it more accurately than words, but here are the elements: matcha, sweet bean cake, handmade ceramic matcha bowl, marble slab, stainless steel chopsticks. Half of the bean cakes are eaten before the matcha; the remaining after the matcha. The matcha is prepared in the standard manner, whisked into filtered, just-past-boiling water in a pre-warmed bowl until frothy. Other small Japanese sweets could be substituted, but the bean cakes I use, which come in three or four different varieties, are not difficult to find in stores and they keep for a long time if unopened. The whole process – preparation and consumption – does not take terribly long, but it really helps initiate the day. Mornings of such calm and precision are quite beneficial and I intend to create more of them.

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