Saturday, January 26, 2008
A Magic Elixir
There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims
I love tea. I love everything about it; the ritual and accoutrements, the tastes available to suit my every mood, the wonderful aroma, the warming, soothing feeling of that first, steaming sip. Truly, I can't think of anything more relaxing than curling up in a comfy chair on a winter's day, feet up, throw over my lap, with a good, long book and a pot of my favorite brew on the table beside me - absolute heaven.
I'm a tea drinker from way back, but it wasn't until I met my husband - and his family - that I was introduced to tea as an afternoon ritual, and I took to it like a duck to water. The British by the way, consider tea to be a panacea for whatever ails you - a fact John shares here in this excerpt from an email he sent to our daughter Courtney, who was spending a semester at Oxford at the time:
"Before I sign off, let me leave you with some tips that might help make your stay in England more enjoyable. Use the word 'brilliant' often. The Brits use it the way you would say 'cool' or 'neat' or 'interesting'. I don't know why. Also, a common British greeting is 'How do you do?' The correct response is not 'How do you do what?', but rather 'very well thank you.'
There is an extensive underground subway system in and around London, but they don't call it the subway, they call it the 'chewb'. I don't know why. Oh, and lastly, the British feel that tea is a cure-all for whatever may ail you, so if you are in need of medical attention, be very forceful about it, or you may have an exchange like this: You: 'Excuse me nice British apartment lady, I have severed my index finger slicing a crumpet.' Nice British apartment lady: 'Cuppa tea then?' You might then bleed to death while she's deciding whether to brew up Earl Grey or Constant Comment.
Well, that's all for now. I love you and miss you.
Yeah, I know, my husband is a smart-a**, lol....But he pretty much nails the importance of tea in British culture. :)
And I must say, I've come to agree with them. Whether taken alone - a solitary tea to relax and unwind, or a social tea, taken with a friend or companion, it's a magical elixir, good for whatever ails you. Our own home reflects this, with a collection of teapots filling the china cabinet and corner mantle over the woodstove hearth, not to mention about half a very large kitchen cupboard filled with assorted bags, boxes and canisters of tea. And my living room chair has a small table at the side and knitted throw over the arm, always at the ready for an afternoon 'cuppa'.....
And one of these days, I'll paint myself a tea chest like the one shown above, offered now on eBay (something I say every time I list one for auction, hehe).
In the meantime, I'm off to the kitchen to brew a pot of lemon-ginger tea and toast a piece of cinnamon bread...Can't think of a better way to face the day. :)
Until next time,