Tea timeEvery once in a while, I feel sorry for myself because I don't drink plain ol' black coffee. Oh, I enjoy coffee, all right--the kind that comes candy-coated, beaten to an icy pulp and frosted with cream. But the stuff that comes straight from the pot and doesn't hold up the buffet line? Never developed a taste for it, and now I'm too old to make the effort. So I'm stuck with a caffeine delivery system that sometimes causes problems: tea.
Unlike my mocha'd, frappy coffee treats, I like my tea plain and black, whether it's iced or hot. None of those herbal or flavored versions, no thank you. English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, or Orange Pekoe for me--and please skip the lemon. And that's where the trouble starts.
My husband groans and slumps in his chair when I order tea at restaurants. First I have to explain that I want plain black tea--is this available? Of course it is--what kind of establishment do I think I'm patronizing?! If I've ordered hot tea, the assortment arrives for my inspection, usually delivered in an attractive basket. I thumb through, looking for a packet with plain black tea inside. Chamomile, apple, ginger, licorice...no good. I have to ask the folks in the kitchen to try again. If I've ordered ice tea, "no lemon, please," it invariably arrives with a lemon wedge shoved on the rim of the glass and that citrus tang oozing into my drink--ugh.
Once I asked for plain black tea, and the helpful young waiter disappeared for nearly a quarter of an hour. When he returned, he apologized and told me there had never been any black tea on the premises--the kitchen staff wanted me to know that all their tea was a kind of reddish-brown color. Sigh.
When my granddaughter is old enough to sample some tea, I'll pour her a cup from her great-great-grandmother's Spode Buttercup teapot, and we'll have a little party. Maybe she'll learn to love tea as much as I do--enough to put up with a bit of trouble every once in a while to get some of that plain ol' reddish-brown stuff.