Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Collection: Tea is Tea (Without Ice)

Apparently January is Hot Tea Month. I'm assuming this means American Hot Tea Month. No other nation would feel the need to differentiate between Hot Tea and Iced Tea. On some of my earlier visits to the US, I often made the mistake of asking for tea in breakfast diners, only to be bemused when it arrived at the table in a tall glass with chlorine tinged ice cubes and lemon wedges. No wonder they asked if I wanted it sweetened or unsweetened when there were sugar dispensers on the table. There is tea and there is iced tea. Didn't the kindly, aproned waitresses know this? I soon learnt that in America I needed to be specific and ask for hot tea. By the way, being specific does not mean it was good hot tea. America doesn't do tea. I think I had a good pot in a Madison, Wisconsin IHOP once, but that's about it.  Sorry, America. If it's any consolation you make excellent coffee.

Still, never one to miss an opportunity, I took this Transatlantic celebration of tea as a sign that I should add to my teacup and saucer collection. This would make my fourth. That's a collection, right? I started trawling the internet, not finding much to catch my eye. I'm very picky. I agonised over a single pearlware teacup just because it was blue & white and from the 1700s, but the lack of saucer put me off. Then I spotted something I'd always wanted. Crockery decorated with the Enid Seeney Homemaker design. It's a 20th Century design classic and has been copied and adapted time and time again. 

There's a lot of it about. It was originally manufactured to be sold in branches of Woolworths, so it certainly wasn't high-end, but some designs define a decade and the Homemaker pattern certainly did that for the 1950s.  Here is my little piece of design history:

As per my tradition of using each teacup for the reason it was intended (well, at least once) I took a break from some writing on Sunday afternoon to drink tea from my Homemaker cup and eat a fancy cake. OK, so it wasn't that fancy; just a fruit tart with the kiwi fruit left off (I'm allergic). It was no delicate Parisian patisserie. But hey, it was a quiet 20 minutes to myself to enjoy my latest acquisition. 

I'll do a whole series of tea related posts when it's British Tea Drinking Week/Month.....whenever that might be. 

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