Just imagine…by some miracle, you have been invited to afternoon tea with the Queen. You have donned your best dress, coiffed your hair, and applied your “paint” (aka make-up). You are breath-taking! After accepting your dainty tea cup and finding a comfortable place to retire, it’s time for your first sip. Pinky in or out?
Have you ever wondered from where this affectation came, and is it really the “queenly” thing to do?
I’ll give you a hint…
Harley Quinn, the Queen of bat-crap crazy and girlfriend to Joker in the Batman franchise, (also a member of Suicide Squad), lifts her pinky!
So does this handsome fellow, Mako Rutledge, aka Roadhog!
American author, novelist, and socialite, Emily Post, who was famous for writing about etiquette, was adamant that pinkies out was ill-mannered.
American columnist and etiquette expert, Judith Martin or Miss Manners, thinks it began around the 17th Century, when tea was first introduced in Europe. The hot beverage was sipped from cups without handles and naturally, fewer fingers were used to prevent burns. How does one balance a hot cup with one handle? Since tea was an imported luxury, the gesture was adopted by the elite and remained even after handles were added to tea cups.
A less popular theory is that finger sandwiches and dainties served with Afternoon Tea would be eaten with 3 fingers, not 4 or 5 fingers, like a common person. In order to distinguish themselves from the riff-raff, socialites adopted the pinky affectation. This might account for the attitude that this is a posh statement by the “elite”, and why it is often used as a parody for social climbers.
The proper way to hold a tea cup is with your thumb and index finger meeting in the handle. Your pinky may be used to balance the cup on the underside of the tea cup. If seated at a table, the saucer should remain on the table. If you are standing, hold the saucer with your left hand at chest level. Finally, if you are not seated at a table, hold the saucer in your left hand, balanced on your knee. Raise the saucer to chest level, holding the handle of the cup with the opposite hand to prevent spills, before lifting the cup to drink. Your tea cup should always be on the saucer when you are not drinking.
Always Pinky IN.
A cup of tea would restore my normality.
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
A friend shared just enough for one cup and I’ve saved this jewel to add colour on a rainy day.
Hibiscus Splash is a fruit infusion from David’s tea with a glorious ruby colour. It contains apple, pineapple, hibiscus, fig, rose pepper, cranberries, cornflowers and stevia extract. Their website accurately describes it as a sweet, tart cherry popsicle. This caffeine-free infusion was ok but it was a bit artificial and reminded me of hot fruit punch. I think it would be lovely as an iced tea or an iced tea popsicle/ice-cube on a hot summer day.
It’s still raining outside, and I think that’s my cue to curl up in bed with a good book, and when I get sleepy, to dream of warmer, sunnier days. Maybe in Paris…
A rainy day is a good day to be in bed with a good book — or with someone who has read one.
It’s only 12 days until the first day of Spring and we are quite ready for it!
We are sick of bulky winter clothing that smells damp and mouldy. We are sick of clomping along in heavy boots with curled toes to keep our feet from sliding. We’re sick of tripping over snow shovels on the front porch, and tip-toeing across icy patches on the walkways.
But winter struggles to maintain its hold. The sun wrestles with cloud cover, and from time to time, we wake to frosty fence posts or powdered rooftops. Icy winds whip from the north, tossing debris and scattering leaves. March feels like a month of brown and beige, and blah. Gray skies and matted brown earth.
The days of March creeping gustily on like something that man couldn’t hinder and God wouldn’t hurry.
Already, I have heard little birds talking about it. I know that soon, soon my friends, little green things will start to peek from the frozen ground.The ice will melt and the wind will lap it up and whisk it away. And we will emerge from our slumber into the warmth of the sun, and let all nature embrace our weary souls.
Well, that may be a little melodramatic, but did you feel hope stirring? Spring is coming… and until it arrives, grab hold of 3 things.
And hope. Never let go of hope!
Hop ise the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words and never stops – at all –
I have found that when it comes to Earl Grey tea, there are 2 camps: those who love it and those who do not.
I am in the camp who does not.
However, any tea connoisseur will tell you that not all teas are equal since quality and blends can vary between producers. It never hurts to experiment.
This weekend, I tried two types of Earl Grey Cream tea, which is not quite the same as Earl Grey. To understand one, you must first understand the other.
Earl Grey tea is a blend of tea with the addition of oil of bergamot, which is extracted from the rind of the citrus fruit grown on bergamot orange trees. It is an unmistakable, highly floral aromatic that is also used in perfumed products. Originally, this tea wasn’t meant to be consumed with milk, but tea companies have modified the blend to include stronger black teas, such as ceylon, which lend themselves better to being consumed with milk. Tea companies have also been experimenting using unconventional tea bases, like green tea. Earl Grey Fog lattes have become very popular.
It’s assumed to have been named after Earl Charles Grey, the British prime minister in the 1830’s. Lady Jane was his wife. Charles Grey reputedly received this special blend of tea with the oil of bergamot after ending a tea monopoly by the East India Tea Company. The floral flavour was specially blended to help compensate for the lime levels in Earl Grey’s local water. The first advertisement on record for Earl Grey tea was in the 1880’s.
Earl Grey Cream teas differ in that they do not contain the oil of bergamot (so you don’t have that nasty oily film on the top of your tea cup) but they do mimic the floral flavour (or citrusy flavour, depending on your tastebuds).
Pluck’s tea contains black tea, corn flowers and natural flavours, where as David’s tea of the same name, contains organic black tea, natural earl gray cream flavor, blueberry centaury, and organic marigolds. Please don’t ask me what “natural flavours” mean… I found Pluck’s tea was more like an astringent black tea with a light traditional earl grey flavour. It was a moderate amber colour. David’s tea had the much stronger, heady smell and flavour of earl grey, but with a silky, creamy texture. It was less astringent than Pluck’s tea, and also a much darker colour.
While both teas surprised me, I still have to be “in the mood” for something floral. I still really like that Pluck’s tea is blended in smaller batcher in Canada for quality control, and their tea is sourced from an Ethical Tea Partnership supporting local growers and workers. Both teas are kosher; they are also caffeinated. For a decaf version, try a Lady Jane Grey blend.
Well, I’ll hazard I can do more damage on my laptop sitting in my pajamas before my first cup of Earl Grey than you can do in a year in the field.
English, Irish, Scottish, or Canadian. Regardless of which country has it’s name in the title, “Breakfast teas” are a robust blend of tea with a higher caffeine level meant to help you kick-start your day. Breakfast teas are usually a blend made with Assam tea, which is from where the high caffeine content comes.
Canadian Breakfast tea is made by Nourish Tea Co., a company that believes in providing organic (as much as possible) and supports estates that are sustainable, ethical and abide by fair labour practices. In this case, it is an orange pekoe Canadian Breakfast tea is more like an orange pekoe tea but it’s Kosher, Organic, and Fair Trade Certified. The tea leaves come from a single estate in from Sri Lanka. I couldn’t find it on their website, oddly enough, but it is available on Well.ca.
It had the robustness expected of a “breakfast” tea, with it’s own unique warming, malty flavour. Plus the caffeine kick I need on a Monday morning.
Warning: Going to sleep on Sunday night will cause Monday morning. Please note that staying awake all night Sunday night does not prevent Monday. There is no cure!
Now there is more to a bluejay than any other animal. He has got more different kinds of feeling. Whatever a bluejay feels he can put into language, and not mere commonplace language…You never saw a bluejay get stuck for a word. He is a vocabularized geyser…
-Mark Twain, “Morals Lecture,” 7/15/1895
This fine bone china tea cup is part of the Birds of America, Series I set made by Queen’s Rosina China Co. Ltd. The Rosina China Co. was established in 1875 iin Staffordshire, England, but this particular set came out in the 1970’s, which means the value of my grandmother’s cup and saucer, is only sentimental. 🙂
Sammy Jay thinks he’s a very fine gentleman and is proud of his handsome blue coat and high cap. But Sammy often does things he shouldn’t do — like stealing. Nobody likes to be told he’s a thief — especially Sammy Jay!
Thornton W. Burgess
Time to put the kettle on and listen to sassy Sammy Jay. Happy Monday!