I was watching an old episode of QI today, where they were discussing the proper order of tea and milk. It seems a controversial topic in England, but my only thought was… this is a disgusting combination. I would never in a million years put these two substances together and drink them.
Which led me to think about cultural differences between the US and the UK. We’re so alike in many ways, and yet, something so simple as tea is a stark contrast. In West Texas, we drink iced tea, and hot tea is extremely rare. I will occasionally have hot green tea with Chinese food, but that’s about it. No, tea is intended to be poured in a glass chocked full of ice! And if you are a traditionalist, the tea should be sweet. The mother of my best friend in high school would make us sweet tea when we went to his house to play games, and if you left the glass undisturbed for a few minutes, I swear, sugar would begin to crystallize on the sides of the glass. Any newcomer who took a big swig unsuspectingly would have their eyes bulging out, unable to speak or breathe for a moment from the sugar shock.
I drink tea virtually every day, but in another contrast, I don’t have an electric kettle, not like the folks in the UK or Ireland. I make do with a stainless steel kettle that sits on the burner of the stove. And if I’m in a rush, I heat the water in the microwave! (yes, I can hear the gasps and the muttered word—Heathen!)
I will concede that we in the US tend to have inferior tea. Lipton dominates the market and one can only make bilge water with it. I have long switched to Tetley’s British Blend. It is inexpensive and both stronger and less bitter than Lipton. I don’t think Tetley’s is well regarded in the UK, but you guys have probably never compared it to Lipton. Sigh.