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||Nicey, just thought you might like this little tea tidbit fromThe Antarctic Dictionary: A Complete Guide to Antarctic English by Bernadette Hince. Under the entry for tea bag she writes:|
"Remarkably, tea bag is an antarctic word. the technique of immersing a permeable bag containing tea in boiling water was recorded decades earlier on Australian antarctic expeditions than in American or British kitchens. On early antarctic journeys the bags were cloth, possibly the inspiration of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson."
Hince goes on to say "Sometimes these bags were re-used several times, even after being scavenged from old supply dumps. In desperation in Antarctica, used tea leaves were also eaten or smoked."
But from one who has been there, the best thing to ward off the cold in Antarctica is not, I'm afraid, tea but a mug of steaming hot raro. (Raro is a brand of powdered cordial, its name evoking the South Pacific island of Rarotonga.) In minus 27 degrees Celcius, it takes a while to rip open a packet of Raro and add boiling water, but it's worth it from the first sip.
I need help...well not me specifically, but my wife. This is how she likes her tea: Water in cup, then tea bag dipped in for no more than three dunks and then removed. Then add milk. It looks like a cup of hot watered down skimmed milk. Admittedly it's cheap 'cos I can use the same tea bag, seeing as it's barely even seen boiling water, to make a proper cup of tea. Her father calls it
'peeley-walley tea'. She also refuses to drink the last few sips of tea insisting she's finished when there is still some left in the bottom of the cup. I have seen this behaviour before with real tea but for goodness sake not with a teabag! Have you ever heard of such tea-nonsense before and how could I cure her of such insanity? She does like a nice sit down and a biscuit though so not
all is bad.
|Nicey replies: Well if she likes her tea that way then you are probably stuffed as far as getting her to drink sensible tea. However leaving perfectly good tea (excepting the above) at the bottom of the cup is quite annoying. Perhaps you'll have to up her biscuit to tea ratio this should make her drink the last valuable little bit. You could also try a smaller cup/mug again making the bit at the bottom a more attractive prospect.
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.
||Esteemed Mr Nicey,|
This is a serious message about a serious question.
We enjoy English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast and Scottish Breakfast tea, here in the Antipodes. However, a Welsh friend has asked me where we can buy Welsh Breakfast and, indeed, is there such a thing as Welsh Breakfast Tea.
Who makes Welsh Breakfast Tea, and can another Australian reader let us know where we can buy it?
|Nicey replies: 'The' Welsh tea is called Glengetty, I could only find one reference to it in Google and that was in the middle of a large piece of Welsh text. Don't know about a breakfast type of tea however.|
Re: cupholders in cars. Please tell Sheridan Williams that FORD cars (I only have experience of Fiestas) have cupholders on the inside of the glove compartment. Just pull down the door like an airline laptray, and Bob's your uncle. (This is only a problem (a) if you have a passenger and (b) the airbag deploys, sending hot tea all over said passenger.) Alternatively, you can buy natty plastic cupholders which slide into the driver's door, between the window and the rubber trim. The best mug for in-car Nice Cups of Tea is the clever sort available from places like Costa Coffee which are insulated, and have a secure lid through which you can suck your tea. I live in an area with lots of traffic-calming bumps, and tea-drinking can be quite hazardous without a lid!
Do thank The Wife for the "Hell's Grannies Estate Agents" tip-off! MAKE TEA - NOT LOVE!
All best wishes,