Monday, November 14, 2011

While there's tea, there's hope

I have, at one or two points in my life, been accused of anglophilia (a particular love for and obsession with British culture).  Now, I don't necessarily think this is accurate.  I mean, do I find Bill Bailey and Eddie Izzard to be completely hilarious?  Yes.  Do I adore Stephen Fry?  Yes.  However, this does not instill in me a great love of all British comedians or actors simply because they are British.  I love these men because they're brilliant.  There's a difference.

And granted, I do have a bit of a thing for British colloquialisms and phrasing because I prefer the sound of it over many American colloquialisms.  However, I don't make a point of studying it, and it doesn't make its way into my every day speech that often, save for a few words and phrases (bloody, brilliant, and spot on mostly).

All this said, there is one area in my life where I may have to bite my tongue and accept my anglophile title.  And that is tea.  Oh, how I love tea.  In high school that was all I had for breakfast for three years - mornings began with either Earl Grey or Yorkshire Gold, and nothing further would be ingested until lunchtime.  There is a cup of Earl Grey sitting next to me as I write this.  More than just the drink by itself, however, I adore the tradition of the afternoon tea.

From Taking Tea With Alice by Dawn Hylton & Diane Sedo
There was a tea room a block from my high school, and one of my dearest friends and I would be there a minimum of once a week and sit for two hours with a pot of tea and a plate of biscuits.  Occasionally, when we had scraped up the money to do so, we would have full tea with scones, jam, clotted cream, Digestives and Jammy Dodgers, cucumber and tomato sandwiches, and it was a proper, dignified moment of ecstasy that I still remember with utter fondness.  So many days were spent in that tea room, dreaming of what would be and planning and scheming for the future over cups of the most lovely house blend.

I will still host teas when I have a receptive audience.  My tea cup collection is impressive, as is my collection of pots, and I try to make it a habit of always having at least two varieties of biscuits on hand.  I have two very large drawers in my kitchen that are devoted entirely to teas and drinking chocolate.  My recipe book is full of different tea sandwich recipes, and I know the best places to pick up loose leaf or bagged varieties not only in my own neighborhood but in many neighborhoods in Seattle.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for another cup.  Do not worry, there will be more on this subject later.