Tea rationing is not practiced here. So, there’s plenty to go around and thus no need to hog the teapot.
My father grew up on a farm. During what is now called the Great Depression era (1929 to 1939). With lots of brothers and sisters. This type of setup tends to instill in one the habit of grabbing at whatever food comes one’s way. Biscuits — grab! — sausage patties — grab! — peach cobbler — grab! — chicken fried steak — grab! Well, you get the idea. (The official term for this behavior is “farm house reach.”) He had also told us stories of more than once a whole pie being carried off by one of his siblings from its perch on the window sill where it was cooling, and the empty pie pan mysteriously appearing in the kitchen sink later, waiting to be washed.
Lest you think that my dad and his kin were a bunch of food grabbing maniacs, I will add that they were the most sharing, loving bunch I’ve ever met (of course, they were a lot older when I met them, so they had probably mellowed over the years). In fact, I gained five pounds in one week while staying at the farm since my aunts and uncles plied me with food in a seemingly constant manner. Probably due to growing up with never enough to eat and lots of chores to do.
We live in different times now. Many families have one, two, or maybe three children — not the nine children in dad’s family. Despite claims of there being “food deserts,” food is readily available in more than ample quantities. And tea time is usually overflowing with gallons of tea and a table groaning under the weight of cakes, pies, fruit tarts, scones, finger-sized sandwiches, and a host of other goodies.
Yet, there are still people who hog the teapot. Now, I admit that sometimes it’s one of those tiny Yixing teapots that barely hold 8 ounces of liquid (but since the tea is usually steeped 4 to 7 times, that’s a lot of tea to hog). Often, though, it’s a bigger potful (4- or 6-cupper size). There’s just no excuse beyond bad manners. Have teapot, will share!
Some teas, though, are so fragrant, so tasty, so absolutely delightful that hogging them is totally excusable. Janis Badarau recently touted a wonderful oolong with a naturally occurring floral quality: a Wen Shan Bao Zhang Oolong. Just the sort of tea you will want to hog to yourself. Other people have mentioned they have a favorite flavored tea that they fix for a special solo tea time, hogging the teapot and the tea to themselves. It’s okay. We understand. Go ahead and hog that teapot. We’ll be fine. Thirsty, but fine. Sniff!
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