Sunday, August 17, 2014

Morning Tea & Reading: a Sunday Ritual

Sunday morning has always been a special time carved out for reading. Anytime before noon it is acceptable to be curled up, doing no work, simply reading and indulging in my best cup of tea. Sunday mornings are sacred in our own way, we read the New York Times and the Boston Globe all morning, passing sections back and forth, pointing out articles. We read out loud the best parts and discuss.

As children we started with the (oh so special!) comics. We slowly graduated to the entire breadth of the paper, which is a great excuse for lounging and reading until noon. Now living three blocks away from my parents I begin my Sunday morning reading at my own house and inevitably travel over there before the morning is over for more reading, especially when my sister is in town. 

Sunday is also the best day of the week for really taking time to enjoy the best cup of tea. For me it is Earl Grey from Upton Tea Imports, made in a glass tea pot, served in a china tea cup with my favorite miniature creamer (unsweetened hemp milk) next to it. It is nice to take time to enjoy special something special and thoughtful for oneself.
I was especially excited today to dive into my haul of new and used cookbooks I acquired over the last two days on a visit to Maine. I will write about the phenomenol cookbook store very soon. But, see all the books, a dozen of them! All full of promise...

 (the blender cookbook from 1961 and ABC of Casseroles is sort of a joke.) But look at it, each letter of the alphabet has a poem about casseroles. Im not kidding.

The beautiful gray book in the top photo, Good Things in England by Florence White has a cheerful end paper. 

This is a new reprint of her 1933 compendium of British cookery. Between the wars she was urging her countryfolk to stop trying to cook like French people, as it does not suit the British taste at all. ... "Anyhow, we must not become a weak inferior imitation of any other country, however great or friendly, or however much we may admire its people and their ways."  

I love the book, the soft gray cover and the early typeset. Like reading an antique book but the binding is oh so solid! Without any delay she tells how to make a correct cup of tea. I checked, my cup of tea was well made according to Ms. White. Although I steep mine for 4 minutes before removing the leaves.

There are 370 pages full of historical recipes, 1399 to 1932. Documented from houses of Queens, lords, normal folk and down to odd specialties from the Isle of Mann like Limpets and this "Dumb Cake" which reads: 
" 'This cake,' says Mrs. Cashen, or Peel Castle, 'must be made of flour and water without any leaven, and is mixed and maked in the hot turf ashes. A piece which must be eaten walking backwards to bed. A number may join in the performance and they will dream of their future husbands.' "
I will skip the doubtful Dumb cake as it seems I already have a suitable husband. However, this book has me all excited to make english muffins and try a few other things also. I will post them here! 

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