Thursday, March 19, 2009
"Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea! How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea." ~Sir Philip Sidney, English statesman (1554-1586)
Me, too! My family and friends know that tea is vitally important to me, especially the first thing in the morning. I'm talking loose English tea brewed in a pot...
with fresh water that's been brought to a boil hard enough to produce a whistle from a proper kettle,...
steeped, then poured into cup or mug (that's a beeker to those of you on the other side of the Atlantic) containing some milk.
I rarely have hot tea in a restaurant because, except for the good people of Boston, it seems no one in America knows how to make tea (or toast, but that's another entire discourse!) A cup of water microwaved with a teabag in it or, worse yet, one of those little metal cream pitcher filled to the top with tepid water with a single teabag in it accompanied by a full cup of tepid water!! Do I ask you to use the coffee grounds again? OK, don't get me started. We tea drinkers can get very passionate about improper tea preparation. George Orwell produced an entire essay on the proper way to make a nice cup of tea.
"Tea is much more than a mere drink in Britain. It is a solace, a mystique, an art, a way of life, almost a religion." ~Cecil Porter of Gemini News Service
I developed a taste for PG Tips tea when I lived in London. Thankfully, it's readily available here in the States now. I do drink herbals and specialty teas from time to time. Dan brought me some wonderful tea from Darjeeling when he was last in India. Caffeine keeps me awake more now that I'm older, so I have to be careful in the late afternoon and evening. One of the sweetest things my husband does for me is to order baskets from The English Tea Store for any occasion requiring a present. In addition to P G Tips regular and decaf, and tea pots, one can also get digestive biscuits and English chocolates. Ordering proper materials is also possible at India Tea Company.
"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea." ~Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
While morning is my primary tea time, I also indulge in afternoon tea from time to time. It's not the "high tea" variation, just tea and maybe toast, or a cucumber sandwich, or a cookie (biscuit to the Brits and Aussies). My family did take me to the O. Henry Hotel for high tea on my birthday last summer and that was lovely.
"Where there's tea, there's hope." ~Arthur W. Pinero
Teaspoons as we know them in America are different from teaspoons in the UK. The last time Jim and I were in London, I bought some to bring home. My favorite teapots come from Whittard of Chelsea and are actually meant for children. My newest one is pictured at the top of the post and was inspired by the nursery rhyme "Polly put the kettle on."
"Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on." ~Billy Connolly
While Billy's not wearing a tea cozy in the picture above, the quote was a good excuse for putting up his picture. Paul McCartney's song "English Tea" brings this little discussion to a lovely close. Make a cuppa and have a listen.