Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Me Cuppa

Ever since I married an Irish man, I discovered the joy of drinking tea. One of my favorite things to do is have tea & a biscuit. Normally, under working conditions, I wouldn’t have caffeine after 2:00 pm because it would sometimes effect my sleeping and when you get up at 5:30 am, you want to have a good night sleep. Since I have been laid off, I’ve been enjoying this mundane activity not just on weekends.

After being introduced to a good cup of tea with milk (and my preference sugar) the next step was for me to learn the proper way to make a good cup of Irish tea. My first lesson was that tea is a serious event and not to be taken lightly. I would be judged by Irish friends and relatives by my cup of tea. Gee, I thought it was easy- boil water and drop a tea bag in each mug. Some might frown upon that approach.

My tea-making lesson was like the movie Tampopo with the drill sergeant-like udon master chef calling out orders and making the noodle-student do pushups and such for her training.
“Boil the water! No a hard boil!” No gentle rolling of the water will do... “Fill the base of the pot with hot water and immediately dump it out. Now make sure the water is still boiling- are you sure it is boiling? and quickly add the tea- and don’t forget one (spoonful) for the pot. Now, cover the pot (with a tea-cosy) and wait. (After a few moments) stir the pot. Then when the tea has steeped (which you learn over a period of time) you are ready to serve.“

A couple of weeks ago, we had some Irish friends over for dinner and of course the eventual after dinner cup of tea. I started to get nervous, I haven’t really ever been tested- immediate family didn’t count (although they would give a hard slaggin’ if it was poor). I think our guests were beginning to question my methods when I covered the teapot with a big kitchen towel since I never found a tea-cosy that I liked enough to buy. Did they notice? And surely if they did- they would never be so bold as to comment. However, to my surprise, the conversation quickly turned to me acquiring a tea-cosy. I think I began to sweat then and I spoke of my fear hoping they would take pity…We all had a good laugh and they told me afterwards not to worry- I had passed the test.

(At some point I will have to talk about Japanese and green tea.)

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