Friday, February 4, 2011

Tea and Finger Sandwiches (Fingers Not Included)

This post is more or less about food. Food blogging is popular, isn't it? It's one of those extremely fruitful blogging trends, much like the ever-popular fashion blogs. At least, that's what my peek at Bloglovin' has revealed. It's disheartening to see that the most blogs under "literature" have an average of three followers. That's where I am - huzzah! Representin' in the lit category, haha.

I can understand why food is so popular. I actually watch way too much of the Food Network. Whenever a competition or some behind-the-scenes food history show comes on, I just can't look away. It's so fascinating. It must be the joyful atmosphere that naturally comes when people flock together to enjoy a good ice cream sundae that is so attractive.

I've been drinking a lot of tea lately. We have way too many in the closet, so my mom's plan is to make giant glasses of them to stick in the fridge. She's even been combining different teas to make some rather pleasant concoctions. The last one was a raspberry and chamomile tea combo. Delicious.

This is very important. My top three favorite flavors of tea:

Cinnamon Plum

My mom and I had some cinnamon plum tea the other day. We sat together, drinking from our very plain blue mugs in silence. Well, she was. I was grading and staring longingly at my steaming cup. She had asked me what I was waiting for, and I merely shrugged and said, "Well, I might as well finish one more paper. It's probably still too hot for me."

"But it's been sitting there for fifteen minutes already."

"I can't drink hot stuff too well. I always burn my tongue," I said. I jabbed my finger in her direction. "It still surprises me that you can just drink it right away. It's way too hot. I bet you could drink fire if you wanted to."

And I strongly believe she could. I can picture her as a female Dustfinger from Funke's Inkheart, playing with fire like no one's business. I comfort myself my knowing that I can down very, very cold drinks with a lot more enthusiasm that she can.

I've been ruminating on tea. It's a beautiful type of drink, for many reasons. It prompts thoughtfulness and relaxation. I found some great quotes I wanted to share that capture that softer spirit:

The mere chink of cups and saucers tunes the mind to happy repose. ~George Gissing, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecrof

We had a kettle; we let it leak: Our not repairing made it worse. We haven't had any tea for a week... The bottom is out of the Universe. ~Rudyard Kipling

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on. ~Billy Connolly

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~C.S. Lewis

And, of course, where would we be without special cups to drink tea out of? There are so many, and it's hard to say which ones are the best. For no reason other than being proud to have the knowledge, I want to be able to memorize popular brands of tea cups like Wedgewood of Ginori (hahaha, not Corelle). I feel like the knowledge might come in handy someday. And how? Well, I don't know. But it's got to be exciting. Here are some cups I wish I had to drink my tea out of (from We Heart It, again):

Pretty, eh? And they have humor to them. I confess I don't have any fancy tea cups. I just have some plain mugs I grab from the cabinets. I just dunk a tea bag in water and heat it up in the microwave. Hardly romantic, but at least I admit it. And have to have sugar. A lot of it, haha.

What teas do you like? How do you enjoy it? I haven't had a tea party in a while, I could go for some chicken salad sandwiches on a croissant, or cucumbers with cream cheese. Yum! Sounds like a plan.


  1. i love love love those tea cups!
    and this whole post.

  2. The only tea I drink: Red Rose English Breakfast, with lots of milk and sugar. I imagine myself to be British. I want to go to a real English tea party, sometime. In a beautiful garden outside of a country home like Howard's End or Penshurst.

    I like this entry. I like the exchange between you and your mom, and the way you both read like characters in a story. Well done. I must admit that I am a fireeater, like your mom. I like my liquids hot: coffee, tea, soup. I also enjoy scalding hot showers. It's because I'm a very cold, cold person.

    The moustache mugs are great. I'd say that I have a very ecclectic mix of tea cups and coffee mugs. My favorite one has Shakespearean insults written all over it.

    You study fiction? That's interesting. I'm an English Literature major, myself. I'm still an undergraduate, though, and I don't really intend to go to graduate school. Yet.

    I've toyed with the idea of becoming a writer, but I think I admire the work of other writers too much to try writing anything of my own. Books, anyway. And I've always sucked at poetry. I'm taking this Native American Literature class, and one of the writers we're reading says that you can only write poetry if you're innocent and non-cynical; cynicism makes good prose, not poetry. I guess that's why I'm not a poet? I'm cynical. And not innocent.

    I will stop by again. I hope you visit my humble abode again, as well.

    The Inn Keeper

  3. I love Food Network! Alton Brown is my favourite but I also like the competitions.

    Oh my gosh, I love the Billy Connolly quote! I read it a while ago but had forgotten it. Too funny! I love all the quotes you included but that one is definitely my favourite. =D

    This is kind of boring but, my favourite kind of tea is just plain black tea with lemon and honey in it. Mmmm. And I like Mint tea and Chai. Oh, and there's this really yummy flavour I haven't had in forever called English Toffee. It's really good. But, basically, I'm up for anything.
    I haven't tried any of the three flavours you mentioned but they all sound really, really good!
    I usually just drink out of a mug but sometimes my mum pulls out one of her teapots (she collects teapots and teacups) and we have tea the proper way and drink out of our teacups!
    For my 12th or 13th birthday we had a tea party! It was quite wonderful. Maybe we need to do that again...
    I find I now have an insane desire to drink tea. Ok, I have to go make myself a cuppa now. (Oh, the power of suggestion!)

  4. @helen Thanks! I wish I knew where to get them. I'm sure I'll be browsing Etsy one day and stumble upon them. I'll probably point at my screen wildly and then fish out my wallet.

    @Tin Kettle Inn Wow, the Red Rose tea sounds amazing! I don't think I've ever tried it. I usually have to pour tons of sugar in my tea. And milk makes tea even better - but we often don't have it lying about the house (or, realistically, in the fridge). Milk in my tea, then, is a special treat :)

    Fireeaters amaze me, haha. Still, I do love extremely hot showers. It's not hot enough unless my skin turns red :D Ah! I know that Shakespeare cup! I had to decide between getting one or buying a minibook containing As You Like It. Dang, I couldn't refuse the grand idea of having Rosalind's speeches in my pocket.

    My goodness, that Native American class seems a little misleading (the advice, at least, haha). I don't think I've ever read a poem that seemed purely innocent like that. There are many humorous poets (like Billy Collins) and wayyy too many poets that write the dark stuff. I actually struggle to find poets who have a more delicate, nostalgic voice (my fav). It's funny though - I can't write poetry to save my life. I love writing prose. It's like breathing. I don't know what I'd do if someone tied my hands behind my back and forced me not to write, haha.

    That's great that you're still in undergrad school - at least you get the cool job. Can't say the same happened here. And grad school does seem daunting at many angles, but I'm so glad I'm doing it now that I'm here :)

    Yes! I'll be back to read more of your blog :D

  5. @Melee Yay! You get your own response! (The other one got too long, haha. Gotta break it up).

    Yes, Brown is pretty cool! I don't think I have a favorite chef, but I have fond memories of watching Bobby Flay "raise the roof" back when he competed in Iron Chef (like, the legit Japanese one. He was my hero :D).

    I want to test that tea cozy theory now. I'll have to plant them (and super sneaky cameras) all over campus. It really must be a great way to judge character, haha!

    Nah - sometimes simple is the best. Can you taste the honey? I can't usually, even if I put globs in, and it bums me out :( If you ever see the almond kind especially, you should try it. I think it's harder to find than cinnamon plum. In Lakeland, FL, there's a small tea shop that had a lot of stellar flavors - the almond one tasted like... the inside of a sweet shop (if, of course, I ever licked the walls and knew it. Ah, Willy Wonka and the lickable wallpaper).

    My mom collects tea sets too! I guess that's why she usually encourages the fancy tea times. I don't have a tea pot to call my own :) Yeah! Tea parties are so fun. You should definitely plan one out :D

  6. Hands down the best part of living in England is all the tea I am expected to drink. Come home from grocery shopping? Have a cup of tea. Just finished dinner? Have a cup of tea. Awakened from a nap? Cup of tea, definitely.

    I am glad to know that you are a tea lover as well. And those tea cups are adorable, especially in the second picture. <3

  7. he, that Billy Connolly quote cracked me up :)

    I'm not a tea-drinker, more of a coffee addict.

  8. Ok, I could have sworn I replied to your comment yesterday. Something must have gone wrong when I published it. >_< Okay, take two!

    w00t! My own response! I feel so special! ;)

    Hahaha! Do it. That would be awesome. (It would also be a great way to find prospective husbands. I can hear it now: "Oh, I can't marry him. Sure, he's nice but he hardly even looked at the tea cozy..." =D)

    I think I can taste the honey a bit. I'm having trouble remembering because when I made it the other day I put in way too much lemon so it kind of overpowered everything. But the honey works well as a sweetner, if nothing else, and balances the lemon out very nicely.
    I will have to see if I can find some almond tea! Your description amused me greatly. (I always thought it would be great to have the lickable wallpaper!)

  9. @Ashley Yes, you're very lucky! Tea is such a normal thing to drink for you, that people would be looking at you strangely if you didn't drink it. Wow!

    @hila Ah, I see :) I wish I liked coffee - it seems like a cool thing (haha). I love the smell, but I never got used to how it tastes. So instead, I rub my eyes wearily as my coffee-drinking writer friends are buzzing with energy. Ah well.

    @Melee Haha, it's okay. I'm sure blogger has its bugs, like everything else :)You're so on the right track with the tea cozy! I guess we've all been underestimating it, but it's entirely possible that a tea cozy could be the measuring stick for any worthy man. *puts on science goggles*

    Ha, yes, I'm sure that the lemon would suck out the delicate lemon taste. I think that maybe I'll be able to taste it if I stray from food store honey. I'll have to go to a farmer's market or something for the good stuff :P Yay! I'm glad - you'll love the almond tea. And, heck yes, lickable wallpaper. We must have some in the future :D

  10. I've never tried any of the flavours of tea you mention, but they all sound delightful! And I have the same issue with my boyfriend- sometimes he's finished his cup when I've yet to start mine! I do love Lady Grey, Keemun, Mint and then just plain normal tea :) xx

  11. @Rachelous Hello and welcome! I'm to hear I'm not the only one with that problem. I usually get so excited about the tea, but then I have to wait impatiently for it to cool enough for me.

    I haven't had Lady Grey or Keemun yet (I think my mom has had Keemun), but I'll definitely look out for them :D