How do you combine your love of sports and tailgating with living the tea life? This is a good question to ask during football (U.S. Style) season. Tailgate parties abound. But how do you fit in tea?
Many people, when they think of tea, envision Victorian-style parlors with horsehair-stuffed chairs in which everyone would sit straight upright (especially the women in their overly tight whale-bone corsets) and lace doilies, dainty teacups and saucers, tiny sandwiches made with cucumber and cream cheese, and miniature cakes. While I have been known to enjoy such a setting for having tea, my view is a little broader, seeing tea as a universal beverage, enjoyed in almost every country of the world and in just about any setting you can imagine. So why not make it part of your “tailgate experience”?
Let’s take a look at a typical tailgate party and see how to adapt it to include tea:
- Take the essentials with you — a grill for cooking those burgers, hotdogs, corn on the cob, etc.; one or more of those nifty folding tables; tablewares including plates, cups, fork, knives, spoons, and lots of napkins; grill tools; a cooler or two; a portable radio or TV; and trash bags to collect your debris. Tea adaptation: Include a kettle that can sit over an open flame, a teapot for steeping the tea, and some dry loose leaf teas or even bagged teas. You might also want a low table and a nice tablecloth for your tea things.
- Get ready to sit — you’re gonna need to sit down sooner or later, and sitting inside your vehicle may not be the best option, since you’ll need to watch the foods cooking on the grill. So include in your supplies some portable seating options such as inflatable couches and chairs, folding camp chairs, etc. Tea adaptation: Include a little chair-side table where you can set your tea cup or mug while you eat.
- Menu-planning time — for you omnivores out there, the traditional foods are hotdogs and burgers, but there are also hot wings, submarine sandwiches and chili; for vegans, some veggie kabobs are good; don’t forget corn on the cob, a seasonal favorite; some baker potatoes, scrubbed and wrapped in aluminum foil, will be great on that grill, too; chips, mustard, ketchup, pickles, etc., are needed; apples, oranges, pears, bananas, and other fruits are good. Tea adaptation: Include some tea cookies, tea cakes, and similar goodies.
- Now for the beverages — Standards are sodas/colas and things like beer and wine. Some fruit juices are also good choices, especially if you have children at your tailgate event. Tea adaptation: Including tea is always welcome, all hot and tasty, and while some stadiums limit the type of alcohol you can have (no kegs or bottles for example), they welcome tea with open arms; you can include some herbals, too, for those sensitive to caffeine.
- Wardrobe makes the difference — first, consider the weather and dress accordingly (lots of layers if it’s going to be cool, since it could get warmer later and you could need to take off a layer or two); show your team spirit through the colors you wear and even going so far as to paint your face. Tea adaptation: Wear an “I © tea” shirt and paint your face in tea colors.
- Timing is everything — get to the stadium early for a good spot in the parking lot. This will also give you time to decorate your area with streamers, balloons, signs, and other fan paraphernalia. Tea adaptation: Include some traditional tea time decorations such as nice cloth napkins and some flowers in vases (you might want the artificial kind so you don’t have to worry about spilling water out of those vases).
Any time, any where, you can bring your love of tea along. So, get going, have a great time, and here’s hoping your team wins!
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