A Nice Cup Of Tea
A few days ago, some rather remarkable material began to fall from the skies over Southern California. We all rushed outside, of course, to discover what this wondrous stuff might be, and we later learned on the news that it is something called “rain.” Marvelous invention, rain! Overnight, those brown hills out there have turned green.
Rain comes from clouds and when I see those dark shapes rolling along up there, I am put in the mood for a nice cup of tea. I am a Bigelow fan – “Constant Comment” and “Lemon Lift.” Aaaaaah. With a dash of milk to be sure (as Donald Pleasence says in The Great Escape: “Tea without milk is uncivilized.”)
I love tea! I even invented a special blend for my book, Green City In the Sun. After all, if Earl Gray can have a blend named for himself, why can’t Lady Rose Treverton? (I often imagined it would be nice to have Star Trek’s Captain Jean Luc Picard order the blend that I invented instead of his usual Earl Gray, but then he couldn’t very well request, “Lady Rose – hot” could he?)
As I was brewing a cup of Tazo “zen” green tea this morning, the phrase “nice cup of tea” came to mind, and it occurred to me that you never hear “cup of tea” without the word “nice” in front of it. Why is that, I wonder? (Humphrey Bogart to Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen: “How about a nice cup of tea, Miss?” and Harrison Ford to Melanie Griffith in Working Girl: “How about a nice cup of herbal tea?”)
And of course tea isn’t just for rainy days in Southern California. We have those long hot summers that call for tall frosty glasses of ice tea – Orange Blossom “China White” from the Republic of Tea with just a hint of spearmint and Sweet n’ Low.
Tea has a fascinating history. Did you know that tea did not reach Europe until the 1600’s? I learned this interesting fact when I wrote The Blessing Stone and had Mother Winifred in the year 1022 make herself a cup of tea. My eagle-eyed editor at St. Martin’s Press pointed out that, in that century, the British were drinking watered ale for breakfast.
And here’s another interesting fact I discovered about tea this morning – oops, I must run. The kettle’s whistling! Again.