Well, in honour of the Queen’s jubilee I decided to write a series of posts about what being British means to me. Of course being British is different for everyone, depending on background, culture and whereabouts in the British Isles you live or come from but for me there are some things which go towards ‘Britishness’ and without which I feel our nation wouldn’t be quite the same.
The first of these, without which I don’t think I could survive a day, is tea. Now don’t get me wrong I quite like coffee but it just isn’t the same is it? Even in the hot days of summer, few and far between as they are, a cup of tea is the perfect drink. It refreshes and hydrates you much more than coffee, it contains only half as much caffeine and it tastes so much better! Of course, in winter it warms you up and much comfort is to be found with your hands wrapped round a steaming mug of tea.
I am not a great connoisseur of tea, I enjoy just a plain old tea with a drop of milk but I do think it’s quite healthy, with its antioxidants, flavanols, flavonoids, and polyphenols which will apparently help to protect me from heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. The benefits being even greater if you drink green tea! It even contains fluoride, so it’s good for your teeth!
This isn’t the reason why tea is so popular though, and it has been drunk on an everyday basis in Britain since the 19th Century, it is associated with many rituals and most of us have grown up drinking tea. A cup of sweet tea is a traditional remedy for shock and putting the kettle on when you get up in the morning, get in from work or a visitor calls is still as normal a part of everyday life as it has been for many years.
I love the tradition of afternoon tea and have a collection of well-loved china cups, saucers, plates and cake plates, some of which belonged to my grandmothers. Whether you prefer dainty sandwiches, cupcakes or scones with jam and cream they are all so much better accompanied by a cup of tea.
I seriously think the great British cuppa is one tradition we really couldn’t do without.