I have been sick. I got a sinus infection. I used to get them all the time. I know, lucky me. I hadn't suffered one in a while, so I forgot how “awesome” they were. Because I've been sick I haven't cooked anything all week. I have spent the last week in bed binge-watching Downton Abbey and eating food other people have been kind enough to make for me. I have to admit… I adore Downton Abbey. Adore. I had a very proper British Granny who lived to be 102. She was one of my favorite people and helped shape me in a number of ways. I didn't realize how much influence she had until I had watched a few episodes. I am an old soul apparently, or I have started my granny days already. The Abbey life would have been the life for me!!
My Granny believed that children, for the most part, should be seen and not heard. She ruled her brood of children with an iron apron, but by the time I came around (one of the dozens of great-grandchildren) she had softened up considerably. She was the reason I get writers cramp writing my full name, why I love to bake, send real mail, garden, and the reason I love brewing tea.
I like English country gardens (not abundant in the show, but they always have these amazing floral displays in the abbey), overflowing with flowers, full blooming roses, lily of the valley, bleeding hearts, mums, asters, lily's, crocuses, irises, and so many more. It was her who had the patience to explain to my 5-year-old self all the flower names. My granny used to point out all the different types of flowers and blooms on our daily stroll, often to the mailbox. That's right, I said “mailbox”, a place we would walk to every day to get real mail; letters, not just flyers and bills. We risked severe paper cuts and stamp poisoning sending news and thoughts written on real paper. My great grandmother was my pen pal for years, sending pretty postcards and letters in crowded loopy cursive that only my dad could read. As long as I wrote her back, the mail would come every few weeks, and it was so darn exciting! I would skip home from the post office, letter in hand and wait for Dad to translate. There was no butler to bring me the post on a silver platter, but I received and sent more mail than most kids my age. After a stroll to the post, it was tea time.
She had tea every afternoon. Black tea so strong you could stand a spoon up in it. I looked forward to adding milk and sugar with fine silver teaspoons out of crystal jars onto the fragrant dark liquid. She would watch closely that you didn't fill your cup with sugar, clearing her throat and raising a brow if your sugar spoon was heaped too high. The entire process was a party for me: china teacups with saucers, hand painted flowers on the china, and cookies… there was always cookies. I love cookies.
She explained the process of brewing tea, and if you missed a step, somehow she knew. She always knew. Even long dead I know she is “tsk, tsk-ing” me when I pour hot water over a teabag in a tumbler.
- Tea Cup
- Tea Pot
- Tea Spoon
- Fresh water
- Tea – in a bag or loose with a strainer
- Tea Cozy- or a thick kitchen towel
- Optional: cream and sugar. Or a more paleo: honey and coconut cream or almond milk.
- Fill your kettle with fresh water and put on high heat until water comes to a full rolling boil.
- Pour 1/2 cup boiling water into your teapot and swirl it around a bit. Place your tea cozy or thick towel around your teapot and let it sit while you return your kettle to high heat. Returning your water once again to a rolling boil (unless you are drinking green tea, then you need to stop just short of a boil to avoid cooking the tea leaves).
- Pour the water out of your teapot and put your teabag/loose tea into your teapot, and gently pour your boiling water into the teapot.
- Cover with tea cozy or thick towel and let steep for 3-5 minutes or to your preference.
- Pour into a tea cup, or through a strainer depending on if you have used bags or loose tea. Add sugar if required and stir with your tea spoon.
- Grasp tea cup handle and raise your pinky finger high into the air as you sip from the cup.
- Optional: If adding cream or milk, put it into the cup before pouring in the tea. Why? I don't know, but that is the rule.