My husband and I recently returned from a trip to the US, and as usual, the first thing I wanted on return was a cup of tea. It is the one thing – next to my own bed- that I miss the most when I am away.
What is it about a cup of tea?
Raised by a Brit, tea is part of my heritage. Growing up, we started every day with a cup of tea, and quite often ended each day with one also. I especially remember that as teenagers, my siblings and I would convene at the end of a night out and share stories over a late night cup of tea. Every dinner would end with someone putting the kettle on.
My children’s father was also a Brit, and he introduced me to tea time – a ritual cup every day at four o’clock, always accompanied by a sweet or biscuit.
The secret, not practiced in many restaurants, is in the preparation: the pot must be warmed first, and the boiling water added to the tea and not the other way around. In our family, the milk went in the cup first, with just the right amount of sweetener to offset any bitterness.
Special tea, a concoction of mostly warm milk and honey, with a splash of tea, is a family recipe for curing childhood ailments.
I don’t drink tea in the afternoon anymore as the caffeine keeps me up at night, and I have replaced the milk with non-dairy alternatives, but I still have a sense that all is not well unless I’ve started the day with that one lingering cup of tea, prepared just the way I like it.
Ahhh, the simple luxuries of home.