May22012

Everything Stops for Tea

I admit it, I was raised with tea. I was raised with the symbolism and the ritual, with that sense of peace and calm coziness. Everyday, rain or shine, home from work at around 4 PM the Mum would sit herself down (one of the only times she actually stopped moving) and we would have tea.

When I was little tea came in a sippy cup, mostly milk, just a dash. As I got older the tea to milk ratio began to shift and I began taking my brew stronger and stronger. I still have to remind her, when I’m back home, that now I take my tea much stronger than she does.

But what, pray tell, does tea have to do with life as an author?

This post is more, Gentle Reader, with what tea has to do with life.

I stop for tea.

Every day, rain or shine, deadline or copy edits, cubical or telecommute, convention or seminar ~ sometime between 3 and 4:30 pm I will make time to slip off and poor myself a cuppa. I’m not saying this makes me a better person. I am saying I have no idea how anyone who doesn’t do this makes it through the day. How can anyone work straight from lunch to closing? It seems to me a tea break should be mandatory. Or at least the concept of a late afternoon pause: time to reconnect, to refuel, to remind oneself there is reason to go on.

It’s practically inhumane not to stop for tea.

I mean goodness, no teatime? That’s just uncivilized.

Yet here in this barbaric world of suburban Northern California do you know what most cafes do? Can you even comprehend the sin?

Well, I shall tell you.

They close at 3 PM.

I can hear the European gasps of shock from here.

Seriously. 3 PM.

Not that you can get a decent cup of tea at such establishments (but occasionally when I am fighting jet lag I yen for a nice latte.)

So here’s my cry of pain. Please, institute teatime. For yourself. For your family. For your work colleagues. Do it for your own sanity. For the sake of civilization. For the good of humanity!

It is possible that teatime might solve everything. All our problems gone in one fell swoop, if only we stopped for tea.

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
~ Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

The obligatory follow up questions:

What’s my everyday tea?
Twinnings Black Box imported from England (not the American red version).

For a special occasion?
Pure large leaf Assam. No waffling with the leaf, thank you. I want it strong and dark with no herby frills. And for goodness sake no fruit mixers and no sweetener. Why would you do that to tea?

How do I take it?
Strong enough to build a house on with a nice dollop of whole milk. Not skim. Not cream. Don’t pussy foot around, people.

Do I ever drink coffee?
I’m even more of a snob about it. I never drink drip, what the Europeans often call “watery American coffee.” I like light roast Italian blend lattes, whole milk, no foam (what they call a Flat White Down Under.) And you better believe I will throw away a latte after one sip if it’s burnt, scalded milk, too French, or too grainy. And, oh yes, I will throw it away very ostentatiously. Then I’ll write a nasty Yelp review. I expect the tea to suck here in the States (except in a self-titled tea house) but don’t mess up a $3 latte.

What about Starbucks?
*blank stair*
I like their couscous Mediterranean salads bento box food thingy. Great plane food.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The History of Battenburg cake.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
What Makes a Critic Tick? Connected Authors and the Determinants of Book Reviews

PROJECT ROUND UP
Deportment & Deceit ~ The Finishing School Book the Second: Working first draft.
Etiquette & Espionage ~ The Finishing School Book the First: Release date Feb 2013.
Manga ~ Soulless Vol. 2: (AKA Changeless) First chapter reviewed, drops on YenPlus April 12th. Print release tentatively Dec. 2012.

Book News:

Ivy by Matt Harrison @matchoo28 on Twitter

Quote of the Day:
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
~ C.S. Lewis

 

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Posted by Gail Carriger

 

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  1. LoriR said:

    A girl after my own heart. I, too, love tea. Unfortunately I onpy have the American blends to choose from. I love a good strong cuppa of English or Irish breakfast. Ahhhh heaven!!!

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