Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tea, Cold.

Tea, in England (and Australia), is hot. Generally speaking. Cold tea means a careless hostess or an absent-minded consumer. Iced tea is available of course, although it generally comes very sweet, commercially made, in bottles, in the drinks cabinet of the store. I remember the first time I asked for tea in the United States. The waitress (noting my accent perhaps) looked at me and asked ‘Hot?’ Remembering my visitor manners I forbore giving her a puzzled-withering look and said ‘Yes, Please.’ I was vastly amused. I knew about the ‘two countries divided by a common language’, but experiencing it in practice was so much more fun than reading about it.

I thought that those of you from all three sides of the two big waters would like this, from the very English Cassell’s New Dictionary of Cookery (1910).

Tea, Cold.
The value of cold tea as a beverage is not sufficiently known. Literary men and others accustomed to a sedentary occupation would find one or two cups of cold tea taken without either milk or sugar to be as stimulating as the same quantity of sherry, whilst there would be no fear of the drowsiness or diminution of the working power which might arise from imbibing either wine or spirit. The taste for cold tea is an easily acquired one, and worth cultivating by those who require an occasional and harmless stimulant.

Two cups of tea as stimulating as two cups of sherry?

To have with your tea, hot or cold, these, from the same source, would be nice.

Tea-Cakes, Royal.
Take the weight of a large egg in fresh butter. Beat it to a cream, and mix with it four ounces of pounded and sifted loaf sugar, four ounces of best flour, a small pinch of salt, and the grated peel of half a lemon. Beat the egg with a little orange-flower or rose-water, and with this knead the mixture to a smooth paste. Roll it out, cut it into small rounds, an bake these upon floured tins in a well-heated oven.Time to bake, fifteen to thirty minutes, according to the size of the cakes. Sufficient for one or two persons.

Sufficient for one or two persons? Not a big batch I know, but still …..

Quotation for the Day …

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me," said C.S. Lewis. whilst at that moment I was pouring his tea into a very large cornish Ware cup and he was reading Bleak House.” Walter Hooper

[He could have been writing about The Old Foodie …. ]


Anonymous said...

or me - I'm american but love tea and long 19th century novels.

Rochelle R. said...

Cold sweet green tea seems to be the thing to drink now, at least here in California. There are so many different brands of it and you see it sold everywhere. I hardly ever see hot tea as a choice on a menu. Lots of hotels offer "teas" though and you have to make reservations and pay an exorbitant price.

Anonymous said...

My father recalled walking around London in the 1970s, and, being hot and parched, going into a pub and ordering his favorite drink back in Michigan, "iced tea." The barkeep assured him they had no such thing on hand. So he asked for a glass of ice, and a cup of tea, and he said all eyes were upon him as he poured the tea over the ice and commenced to quench his thirst.

Up here, it's unsweetened, by the way. Not like in the South. But given time and the high fructose corn syrup marketers, we will soon drink it sweet here, too!