Tuesday, April 14, 2009

chocolate and tea: An offensive diatribe

My In-Laws are coming to stay next week. This will provide enough fodder for several blogs ... but that is for the future. For now, I am thinking about what I can ask them to bring me from The Old Country.
Of course there are the staples. Chocolate and tea-bags. I have lived here for nearly 10 years, and I have yet to develop a taste for Hershey's. I admire the way Americans can eat it with a straight face ... (ie, no visible grimacing or obvious retching) and they even have a whole theme park dedicated to it. And the famous Hershey's kiss. Why is it called a kiss? I think it may have something to do with distraction. We are lulled into thinking it must be a harmless, sweet goblet of yumminess, all wrapped up in a cute little package. I'd rather have a Glasgow kiss than one of these excuses for chocolate. Do they wrap them individually in silver paper so you can discreetly spit out the offending stuff once you realize it tastes like rancid milk?
Now Cadbury's ... a flake, or a twirl, or even just a bar of the unadulterated stuff ... so smooth and yummy, it just melts in your mouth.
And tea bags. We Brits like strong, flavourful tea. None of your Lipton's rubbish. American tea is rendered almost drinkable by the addition of several tonnes of ice and sugar per jug. We English make a civilized pot of tea and keep it warm by the addition of a fashionable tea cosy. In England, the kettle goes on when we get up in the morning. When one or more are gathered together. When we get back from a trip to the store. In times of crisis. As an antidote to shock. During commercial breaks, (power surges during the intermission of popular TV shows are not uncommon) George Orwell wrote an essay about tea in 1946. Sir Winston Churchill talked of tea with the American ex-pat Lady Nancy Astor in a famous exchange of wit:
Lady Nancy Astor: "Winston, if you were my husband I'd poison your tea"
Winston Churchill: "Nancy, if I were your husband I'd gladly drink it"
So Tea bags and chocolate are definitely on the list.
Along with washing up cloths, oxo cubes, HP sauce, shredded suet, blu-tac, custard powder, custard cremes, and ... I am sure there is more, but can't think what at the moment. Also, if I carry on like this, the in-laws luggage allowance will be used up and they'll only be able to bring enough clothes for one week. Now there's a thought ...

1 comment:

Kerensa said...

Ahh the joys of living in England, where on every street corner (within WALKING distance) there is a little shop filled to the brim with Cadbury's chocolate and teabags.

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I have been married to Andy since 1991, we have 4 daughters, 2 dogs, 2 cat, 4 rabbits (and various baby rabbits) and a hamster (not dead). We have lived in the U.S.A since 2000, and are citizens of the U.K. I miss many things about the U.K.(pubs, old buildings, red post boxes, church bells,narrow roads, a good joint of roast lamb with mint sauce, to name but a few) but I have grown to love the U.S.