Tea as they say isn’t just a beverage. It’s the stuff that sets the ball rolling for celebrations across the world. It’s a morning habit of countless people to kick start their day. It’s an excuse to get out of the Office, hang around with friends and let go for a while. It’s an after-dinner warm succor to help unwind after a long day. It’s the brew that blends companionship, calmness and ceremony, all in equal measures.
Depending on what kind of tea you drink, when and with whom, there are very few things in this World to beat the comfort of a piping hot cup of tea, especially when the freshly brewed, hot, mildly sweet cuppa chai accompanies a plateful of freshly baked toasts slathered with peanut butter and honey or come with delectable toast toppings!
I adore toast. I love it hot and brown and crisp with butter or topped with a slice of cheese melted to perfection. My knees weaken at the thought of a toast spattered with peanut butter and honey and if it’s doable …brown sugar!
Toast and tea at five-o’clock teatime has an old hand tradition and dates back to as early as 1840s. Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, and her coterie of ladies of the court would sit together for an afternoon treat of tea, sandwiches, scones, and cakes. What began as a preferred pick-me-up tea time by the duchess then, was fated to set the stage for a ‘big time –great guns’ experience for every tea enthusiast in years to come.
It’s hard to tell whether it’s a fascination for things that carried a hint of nobility or people looking for an out-of-the-ordinary-way to entertain or just an undying love for dainty sandwiches and scrumptious muffins. But one thing is unmistakably true. There is something very homey about the smell of freshly brewed tea and bread baking. The faint whiff is so inviting and equally hard to ignore!
As always, a perfect toast made from whole grain bread is a big time temptation and tastes delish with tea…pub tea or your grand hotel tea, it doesn’t matter.
All the while, the skill of preparing a perfect toast was developing greatly and had been quickly changing hands till today it is a commonplace item of interest in every kitchen. Maybe the ease of preparing this simple treat for tea time is another reason why it has gathered so much favor. Bread on the other hand, contains carbohydrates and gives you a quick energy shot without too much of a rush. A little butter or margarine on crispy brown toast is a visual delight that supplies you with some fat content in moderation and leaves you feeling satisfied. Some jams, preserves or marmalades on that toast perhaps! … and you could add a fruity touch to your tea time. Kitchen geeks could get creative with the toast by using different types of breads. Rye, whole-wheat, sourdough…sliced and toasted are great alternatives to plain while one. Diverse tastes abound. You can even try those really long french loaves that when sliced thin, yield enough for tea belters to munch on with their cuppa.
Speaking of tea, there are few kinds of this magical leaf that could bless you with a heavenly flavor reminiscent of a toast!
“This story is one of empires and espionage, smuggling and addiction, rampage and passion and the protagonist of this remarkable tryst with history is none other than the humble leaf of tea”; Actor Virginia Wood was perhaps reminiscing her little dalliance with tea time frolics when she had remarked this. With origin shrouded in mystery it is said that the tea leaves made their way into the boiling water by sheer accident. What followed next may not interest many but to me it’s hearty befitting in one way; so long as the sight of a buttery, sweet piece of cinnamon toast paired with a steaming mug of freshly brewed tea could make my heart jump a beat and bring smile to my face, I’m fine with it!
Still not thrilled or tickled? Honestly!…a cup of tea holds a million possibilities. It calms your nerves. It invigorates and perhaps is the best recipe for instant comfort. The reassuring sound of a kettle coming to a boil and hot water being poured onto the tea is no less exciting than a freaking dream job landing at your door step unannounced! The aroma escaping the pot is simply distinctive, tempting and nostalgic. When it’s winter, calls for a hot cup of tea any time anywhere would sound gratifying ; lazy monsoon evenings beckon a celebratory cup and a cuppa tea in hot summer days earnestly cool you down. Come brief autumn spell, a steaming cup provides you with few quiet wistful moments.
So, next time when you sip or slurp your favorite brew, think of all that has gone into its making…countless moments of history, untold efforts spent on coming up with some divine flavors, meticulous blending… just about everything that somehow blooms life on your tongue every time you savor it. Besides everything seems easy and doable once you pick up your cuppa chai. The miracle of the tea is that it knows how to create a storm in your cup every time you reach out for one!
And don’t forget that all pervasive warm whiff drifting down the hallway from the bread basket full of crispy brown toasts all hot and fresh and splattered to edges with butter and jam.
Could there be a better trimming to accompany your nice yellow pot of freshly steeped tea?