Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tea Time

"Would you like a cup of tea?" is a phrase heard over and over again in my home. I am part of a long line of tea drinkers and I remember a childhood spent racing home for a 'tea party'. My mother never had to wonder where her children were after school - we were home when it was teatime!

My children came to tea drinking naturally and it's only recently that I've realized how much the ritual has added to our lives. There is a comfortable, relaxed connection made over tea that is stronger than you might expect. It's easy to feel connected to the young child but tea helps maintain that connection when they start to pull away. When we sit down to tea we seem to return to the comfort level of the days when there was nothing hidden, nothing unsayable. Whatever is on our minds actually gets said and the communication is real and non-confrontational.

Tea itself has an understated flavour so small children will easily take to it. You can start out serving them "nanny tea" which is primarily milk with a bit of sugar and perhaps a quarter cup of actual tea. My mother usually had lovely baked treats for us, but on the occasion when she hadn't baked, cinnamon toast triangles were quite acceptable.

I've learned to drop everything when a family member asks "Do you feel like tea?" I've finally learned that teatime is the most important part of my day - the time when I can actually talk with my family. It's a simple pleasure I'd like to recommend to all.


At 4:34 PM, Blogger bluepaul said...

free tunes at my [non-profit] website!

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Sian said...

I come from a family of ex-pats living in South America and I used to spend my summers at the farm in Argentina, stuck in a sort of Victorian time-warp. Tea-time was a daily ritual. 4 o'clock every day all the family would congregate--grown-ups in the dining room, children in the kitchen--to drink a cup of tea, eat a piece of cake and catch-up on what we'd been doing throughout the day.
Sadly, we don't have an official 'tea-time' at home anymore, as my husband and I are always out at work at 4pm. The tea-drinking habit has, however, stayed with me all my life and I drink at least 4 cups a day now! English breakfast tea, with a drop of milk-- can't beat it.

At 2:51 PM, Blogger Maxine said...

My favourite, and essentially only, tea I drink is Darjeeling. My husband/partner drinks very strong PG tips. This is our only (I think?) incompatibility, easily solved by two teapots.
Every morning, one of us gets up and makes the two pots of tea. On weekdays we drink two cups each in a rush, on weekends we drink in bed while reading or doing sudokus. Jenny comes into bed with us and has warm milk on weekends or holidays. Sometimes, on weekends or holidays, Cathy joins us and has tea (Darjeeling) herself.

When I get home from work I always have a pot of Darjeeling, which is two cups of tea, with one cup for Cathy and, if she's in the mood, Jenny too, she has exactly the type of tea you describe, Susan: mainly milk with a dash of tea and a spoon of sugar.

A wonderful ritual!

At 12:28 AM, Anonymous skint writer said...

I made minx's chai last night - modified it a bit to suit my sensibilities and yum - superb.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Susan said...

Skint! I'm glad you came to call! And I KNOW what you added to your chai. Fine fellow - I read your essay in unmadeup and was disappointed to hear that you have a mother-in-law. I was hoping I might fill that role.

At 1:28 PM, Blogger Maxine said...

Come and be mine, Susan!


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