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||Thanks to this site, I now have a place to tell my frightful French story.|
It was 1989 and I was a little nervous, being 24-ish and on a solo business trip to France, and then a bit rattled from the drive through the "Etoile Charles de Gaulle" on the way into the office in Paris. But I was still pretty confident in my competence, my professionalism, and my masculinity. Until someone offered me coffee....
I politely asked if they had any tea. In Canada where I hail from, this is a fairly usual question after coffee is offered. In France, it produced horror and shock, followed by a round of sneers and supercilious little laughs.
After a suitably intimidating silence, my host replied "No, we don't have any, but perhaps you wish to ask one of the *women*. " This last word contained unspoken volumes regarding my evident lack of masculinity, naivete, and general unsuitability for the rigors of a serious business meeting in France between men. The women, it need hardly be said, were all clerical staff, in a separate room from the real men.
Bloodied but unbowed, I actually did beg a teabag from a friendly female clerk before proceeding to the meeting, where nobody took me at all seriously thereafter and mostly they all spoke french over my head.
From this humiliation I concluded that only women (and perhaps foreign poofters) drink tea in France. Or at least that this was the case in 1989. I think that this deserves further study, perhaps on this very Webzine...
Having recently discovered your page the office I work in has become one of complete serenity. If things ever get tough, the tough have a nice cup of tea and a sit down. We've even started calling it "a nice cup of tea" rather than simply tea and we all take it in turns to make nice cups of tea (bad ones go straight back).
We've also started a pink wafer fan club. I'm sure we can get some lovely pics soon
P.S. Our biscuit recommendation of the week is Clotted Cream Shortbread from Devon.
|Nicey replies: Lovely|
On the subject of fruit and herb 'teas'. The French have a separate words for them - they are "tisane"s - pronounced "tizan".
Why don't we adopt this? It'll save all the argy bargey from us real tea drinkers.
Now, decaff. is quite another problem.
|Nicey replies: Morning Sue,
Yes I've seen that written on French Herbal teas but due to lack of interest, hadn't taken it onboard. It sounds like an excellent plan, not only does it give them their own rather daft name but it associates them with the French which historically has is always handy if you are looking to blame somebody for something.
Reading some of Wifey's thoughts (in the book) regarding her attempts to drink some weird fruity stuff when she was pregnant it reminded me of something I get really wound up about. "Fruit tea drinkers". Calling something that does not contain any actual tea leaves, tea. It's been covered before I know (handy search feature), but it's gotten worse. The other day a work colleague brought in some root ginger. You may not want to read on at this point. He then crushed the ginger added hot water and called it Ginger Tea. You know me, I didn't duck the issue and confronted him head on. It turns out that these "Fruit Tea" people are not so passionate in their defence of tea slander as I am in trying to eliminate it. I let it lie after we'd agreed on the term "Hot Drink Infusion". A very wishy washy generic term but importantly for me lacking in the word tea. So i'd just like to make a plea to anyone who encounters this issue. Don't ignore the problem, it is already way out of hand. Confront and educate.
|Nicey replies: Jim,
Very timely, as I suspect I might get asked about that on the Paul O'Grady show this afternoon. I'm with you, if it hasn't got tea in it then what's it doing calling its self tea. I'm a reasonable man if there is some tea in there then thats OK, otherwise 'hot drink infusion' as you suggest would seem fine.
As a recent discoverer of your excellent site, I am now often to be found browsing in that 10 minutes of 'no mans time' between the end of my lunchtime cup of tea and the beginning of that nagging feeling that I ought to get on with some work.
Here's a thing - I read lots of correspondence on Earl Grey, including of course the 'is milk so wrong debate' - but at home when a teapot's worth of team is made, we often enjoy a combination of Earl Grey and another tea. It's usually three teabags, comprising Typhoo (or another fruity strong kind of tea, Tescos premium is quite nice) and Earl Grey, in a two to one ratio. Works great for us - not overpowered by the bergamot smell, but just a hint of it, and carried by a strong enough tea 'taste platform' that drinking it with milk isn't a terrible sin.
I know all those 'loose tea or death' afficionados will be grinding their teeth at this, but I wondered if any other readers had favourite blends or combinations.
By the way, we have one of those teapots with an in-built plastic strainer, so you can lift the teabags out once the right strength of brew has been reached - very handy. And we've also started drinking green Chinese tea (it comes in a green cardboard cylinder, 'Clipper' is the brand I think) as a pre-bedtime brew, seems to have a nice soothing effect, albeit not very compatible with biscuits - any others share that experience?
Sorry for combining so many topics in one posting, I don't know what that does to the icon count.
|Nicey replies: Not a problem that simply registers a cup of tea icon.|