By A.C. Cargill
Is your tea time getting a bit bland? Same old teas and tea time treats? Same old mugs, cups, teapots, etc.? Liven up this important break in your day with new teas, new treats, and a “bit of cute” — tea paraphernalia that are a little out of the ordinary. Equipage that, when you see and use them, elicit a smile, a silly grin, or even a giggle. As one who lives the tea life, I have a few such bits collected so far and keep on the lookout for more.
Upgrading your teas and tea time treats is a pretty easy step. A tea with an exciting flavor and bouquet, such as a great Oolong or Ceylon blend, is readily available. Buying a few different ones in a smaller quantity is a fairly low-cost and less risky way to try them while giving your taste buds a little variety. Might as well order some specialty cookies while you’re at it. Or make up some non-traditional treats, such as veggie hors d’oeuvres on whole grain crackers.
Just as you seek more variety in your teas and treats, so you should seek a few fun items to visually spice up your tea time array. A good quality to have in your tea paraphernalia is usefulness, but blandness isn’t. How about a little spreader knife (for your cream cheese, etc.) with a handle that is a stack of tea cups? Or a tea strainer in the shape of a teapot? Maybe a tea bag (or tea strainer) holder made by a real pottery craftsman? Or a cream pitcher in the shape of, appropriately, a cat? Don’t forget decorative tea towels and trivets that are as pretty as they are practical. Teapots and teacups also are available in all sorts of designs, from refined, to traditional, to whimsical, all the way to “Mad Hatter tea party”!
A word of caution: you can go overboard on the “cute.” That’s why I stress having a “bit of cute,” not a bucketful. (Remember the old song from “Mary Poppins” that says, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”? There was a reason why they didn’t say “A cupful of sugar” — chuckle!) Select a couple of items, maybe even three, to lay out on your tea time table. Like that spoonful of sugar, or a sprinkle of cinnamon, they’ll add just the right touch.
Another caution is that you could end up acquiring items that have the cute element but not the useful element. Not a big problem, since the items could still be sort of useful. They could sit around and do their part at livening up the show just by being visually appealing (sort of like actor Hugh Grant in a movie — often, he’s just there for the “cute” element, at least when he was younger like in “Four Weddings and a Funeral”).
Now that you have added that “bit of cute” to your tea time, along with a new tea blend and maybe a more out-of-the-ordinary taste treat such as mini-quiches (Florentine, Lorraine, broccoli cheddar, etc.), you’re all set for a lively experience.
It’s the end of the bland tea time. Enjoy!
Check out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill, for more great advice on living the tea life!