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||Hello Nicey and Wifey,|
I would like to get a message to Adrian Leaman, who wrote in recently to tell of the shocking practice of making tea in the microwave oven - I just want to assure him that not all Americans make tea this way! I have never seen any of my friends make microwave tea, most follow the tradition of using a kettle, a proper mug or cup, or teapot. Maybe it's just Bostonians.... I live in North Carolina. Tearooms have actually become rather popular in our area over the past several years, and they do make tea in the conventional way. So Adrian, I hope you are reassured that if you visit America again, it is possible to find people who know how to do tea without a microwave. At our house, we have a nice Bodum electric kettle that we have enjoyed for some time now.
Nicey and Wifey, I love your website, it is great fun as well as educational to read. My children gave me your book for Christmas and it was an enjoyable read. Thanks for such a great site, keep up the good work!
|Nicey replies: Ellen,
Thanks for setting us all straight on the tea situation in North Carolina, it all sounds very sensible there.
||Dear Nicey, Wifey and the younger members of staff,|
First of all, I love the website- tea and biscuits truly deserve the recognition your site gives them!
I was hoping you (as the guru of all things tea-related) could answer this question for me: is there a right way to stir tea? It hadn't occurred to me that there was a right or a wrong way to stir tea, until I made a cup of tea for my mum the other day. She complained that I'd stirred it the 'wrong way' (anti-clockwise, probably because I'm left handed!) and that tea should always be stirred clockwise. Was she just being mad (likely) or am I indeed going against the laws of tea? I'd hate to be angering the gods of the teapot lest I get a poisoned cup of tea one day as punishment...
Also, on the subject of kettle-fur, our kettle in the office at work (a small office of 6 people and one kettle, meaning we're only inches away from essential tea supplies- which surely makes for more satisfied and therefore productive staff) had until recently rather disgusting flakes of white stuff. Apparently this only started after we changed to 'pow-wow' water- as we rather naughtily use the water from the big tank in the water cooler because we're miles away from a tap. It all came off with some peculiar blue stuff called 'Oust' though, so we have nice tea (without dandruff) again now!
Looking forward to reading the book, and it will make an excellent Christmas present for my tea-loving boyfriend,
|Nicey replies: Yes the answer is all too obvious as it involves the Coriolis Force which causes a change in angular momentum proportional to the distance from the equator. In the northern hemisphere one would expect to stir tea in a clockwise direction however in the southern hemisphere it should be stirred anti-clockwise. These are the same forces that goven the rotation of weather systems, and the water running out of your bath. To stir in the other direction would be flying in the face of the celestial dance itself.|
I was just sitting here in the US as a Scouser in exile, having a nice cup of tea and a sit down at work, when I came across Peter's email regarding Dundee biscuits.
I remember them clearly as well from my childhood days in Liverpool, and they were gorgeous, huge, chocolatey biscuits! I can't remember the last time I had them, but now they've been mentioned, I remember with fondness their taste.
In the US we can get some decent British biscuits (like chocolate McVitie's and Hob Nobs), but most of what is sold is sub-standard cookie-like efforts. It may be worth your while to take a visit to the US to see the state of the biscuit and tea situation; almost inevitably, you get offered "tea" in dodgy cups with the teabag still in it, and the milk (or, horrors, cream) on the side.
The Americans are, by the way, fascinated by my electric kettle (you know, the type every house in the UK has!) ... they still use whistling kettles on top of the oven - how 19th century!
Anyway, your site is great - a nice way to remember England, and I steer both English and non-English friends to it (for educational purposes, of course).
|Nicey replies: Yes we had a big discussion about electric kettles and America back in September. The conclusions were that even those electric kettles that did exist in the States weren't able to boil water as fast as our Brit kettles due to their weedy 120V electricity. Hoorah! for proper dangerous power supplies. This seemed to explain the barbarous practice of making tea in microwave ovens, prevalent in the US.
As for dodgy American biscuits, Biscuit Enthusiast Mandy has just brought me back a packet of something with peanut butter in, from New York. I have to have a sneaking regard for the Americans ingenuity in getting rid of their mountains of surplus peanut butter. Perhaps anybody driving one of those odd looking Chrysler Roadsters around the UK might want to get the door panels off just in case the Yanks have stashed a few gallons of spare crunchy peanut butter in there.
Abbey Crunch Review
|Firstly I would like to say that I love your site and it has reawakened my interest in biscuits (which is not necessarily a good thing).|
Secondly, I am a strong believer in one tea bag per cup however I respect the right for people to drink their tea however they want. My sister merely waves a tea bag at hot water and adds in half a pint of milk so I have learnt to be understanding of other tea drinkers preferences.
Thirdly, I want to share exciting kettle news. I was recently given a new kettle for my birthday and it has changed my tea drinking. Previously I had to swirl the tea bag around non stop and lift it out fairly fast to avoid horrid scum on the top of the tea (I live in a hard water area). However, I now have a filter kettle and it is amazing. I can leave the tea bag for a good 5 mins to brew and no scum at all! The result is much nicer tea as I can properly taste it. I would recommend this kettle to anyone also suffering in a hard water area. I believe it was from John Lewis.
Finally, Abbey Crunch really is the king of biscuits. My boyfriend found a supplier for me last week as I was getting desperate to have an Abbey Crunch (having forgotten how wonderful they were until you reminded me) and I now have 5 packs lined up ready for a nice cup of tea and a sit down!
Just caught you on the latest B3TA. Nice interview, lovely pic. I was sorry to hear about your bad experience in San Jose, though. I can't believe that nobody warned you never, never to order tea in a restaurant in the US! For one thing, they usually don't have any good quality tea; and for another, the public consciousness in this country has not assimilated the idea that in order to make tea, the water has to be boiling -- not just "pretty hot."
The milk, of course, you should have ordered separately, pretending that you were going to drink it. This would still not have saved you from an aggravating experience.
The solution might be to bring along a "travel" tea kettle... if such a thing exists... My friend Rodney and I are looking into getting an electric tea kettle for our office, so maybe I will be able to give you a report on what's available at some later date.
|Nicey replies: Maggie,
Thanks for those words of encouragement.
There probably isn't an office in the UK that doesn't have an electric kettle. I like a nice Tefal or may be Morphy Richards. Woo, rate my kettle.