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I have been living on the continent for about ten years now and would like to offer a few tips to any British tea-lovers planning a trip to Germany.
I always buy my tea and Jamaica ginger cake in England. This enables me to avoid some of the foul substances parading as tea in German supermarkets and cafes. I would certainly caution anyone visiting Germany to steer well clear of any well-meant invitations to a cup of tea, as you will almost certainly find yourself balancing precariously in a torturously uncomfortable "anatomically correct" position on an "ergonomically-designed bio-degradable spine-friendly" article of furniture. You will then be presented with a semi-transparent greyish brew giving off an odour faintly reminiscent of a fishmonger's socks and served in some kind of designer receptacle made of an innovative heat-conductive material that will sear your fingers and with the kind of handle you can't imagine anyone (except perhaps a small skeleton) getting even a single finger through. A far cry from the lovely saggy old armchair, nice steaming mug of tea and scrumptious biscuits you will have been looking forward to.
Should you find yourself in this position, don't, whatever you do, try adding milk to your cup. It will undoubtedly be either long-life or condensed milk and will instantly turn the entire liquid into a bright off-white mass from which an unnerving luminous glow will begin to emanate. At this point, your German host or hostess will smile confidently at you, make some kind of comment along the lines of "Oh you Pritish, you really loff your tea, do you not?" and possibly offer you some kind of biscuit. Do not make the mistake of thinking that a biscuit may help you force down the odious brew in front of you. The ones on offer in Germany are usually rather spartan affairs, resembling rectangles of yellow cardboard that disintegrate into a highly dangerous lung-clogging dust in your mouth. Some of the more "fancy" two-layer creations consist of two pieces of this ecologically recycled cardboard material filled with a sweetish chocolate-substitute gunk of a claggy, almost clay-like texture. When mixed with the hot grey liquid, a mouthful of these biscuits congeals into something rather like soggy paper that has been chewed up and spat out by a dog.
So heed my advice: you'd be safer just asking for alcohol. If offered tea, try the following technique, which I have developed over many years and frequently found to be highly effective. Look highly affronted for a few seconds - make sure they see this (you may find it helpful to think of Paddington Bear giving someone a very hard stare) - then start, as if you have just noticed how impolite you are being, and deliberately compose your face into an expression of badly-concealed pity. Hesitate, as if searching for the right words, then say very gently: "I'm afraid I couldn't possibly have a cup of tea at this time of day. It just wouldn't be right". They will not think this rude. If anything, they will be delighted and may even break out into a theatrically hearty laugh (at which you must try not to wince). This is because they only offered you tea in order to enjoy the spectacle of seeing you act the stereotype. This reply will satisfy their need quite adequately and you can then move directly on to the alcohol - which you can, of course, enjoy at any time of the day (or at least this is what you must tell them).
|Nicey replies: Amy,
Sounds like you are having splendid fun living in Germany. Hoorah! for you.
I'm excited to say that there is a parcel of German biscuits winging its way to me at this very moment from Hamburg, so expect a few German biscuit reviews soon.
Last night while driving to work and listening to B.B.C Radio Wales I heard about your wonderful website during a programme about computers called Mouse Mat. So in work this morning I checked it out and was delighted by your reviews. However I notice you haven't reviewed the very best biscuit of all. The Tesco Finest Triple chocolate giant biscuit. It can be found in the bakery department. They are cooked in store every day and if you are lucky you might just catch them while they are warm. V. good.
Keep up the good work, you really are providing a vauable service to the British biscuit munching community. I say go global!
Age 19. Psyshcology Student.
|Nicey replies: Sarah,
Glad to hear you heard me on Welsh radio. I did that interview last week on the great 'perfect cup of tea day'.
As for giant cookies we have skirted that whole area for too long now, at some point soon we will dive in.
Age 39. Biscuit Enthusiast
||I too was told about the 'money' in your tea by my mother, whilst growing up in the 50s. She came from Dublin so maybe it's a celtic thing? She was a vigorous stirrer 'though (as I later came to be in the days when I took sugar with it) so maybe this is how the air became incorporated! I reinvested all the money I made in one of those aerolatte froth whisk things, which, although great for milky coffee, don't work in tea.....|
||Absolutely true.I find that if I collect the bubbles the money does come in. I started doing this way back when I started work. It is a regular occurrence for me, usually the money arrives in my bank account at the end of each month. I have documentary evidence to prove this.|
|Nicey replies: Spooky|
||Well, it's not as interesting, but possibly more useful:|
My gran pointed out to me when I was young that if you had made several cups in one go and have forgotten which ones you put sugar in, they will be the ones with bubbles in the centre. It's been so long since I had sugar in tea, I haven't tested it recently. Maybe this requires further investigation.