Everything is bigger in Texas – at least that’s the standard saying – and tea time is no exception. So it seems logical that largeness would be one sign that you’ve “gone Texan” at your tea time. But there are other signs, some more subtle and others – well, they’re definitely Texan! However, as a fan of Bob Phillips’ show “Texas Country Reporter,” I know Texas is not just big, but varied, and so, apparently, is their approach to tea. Time to check them out.
1 Vocabulary Morphage
Instead of saying something like “It’s time for tea,” you find yourself saying “I’m fixin’ to steep some tea” or “I’m gonna steep me some tea.” When someone offers to help you or starts giving you advice on how to proceed, you say “This ain’t my first rodeo!” Or you are visiting a friend to have tea and say, “Is that y’all’s teapot? It sure is cute!” Any of these is a sign you’re “going Texan” at tea time.
2 Tea Preference Changes
Like many in the South in the U.S., sweet tea is quite popular in Texas. Green tea with lots of sugar in a bottle seems to be everywhere year round – one brand is simply called “Texas Tea” (naturally). (There is another concoction also called “Texas Tea” that, like “Long Island Iced Tea,” is … well … lacking in that “tea” part.) But Texas has a wide variety of tearooms, such as:
- In San Antonio – stop in at Bawdsey Manor called “a little corner of England” and run by Vicki Seder and Christine Thomas (sisters from the UK) who serve PG tips tea.
- In Austin – you can’t go wrong at The Steeping Room, run by Emily Morrison formerly of Eastside Café and Amy March, who was a tea expert at Central Market.
- In Dallas – there’s The Adolphus with fresh-made cakes and pastries and a pianist playing their antique Steinway piano, and Rosewood Crescent Hotel where you can choose from about 12 different teas and traditional tea time snacks.
- In Houston – check out St. Regis Hotel’s butler service (reservations highly encouraged) serving your tea and treats, the Hotel Granduca (featuring the Royal Albert Old Country Rose teaware pattern), and the less formal Jenni’s Noodle House.
- In Bryan – stop in where the Aggies drink their tea: The T Garden Café.
You can find more on this handy map.
If you find yourself heading to one of these places, you’re “going Texan” at tea time!
3 Preparation and Presentation Alteration
For those of you having your tea at home, you may find yourself heating your water in a big cast iron Dutch oven hung over an open fire outdoors à la those cowboy flicks. Right next to the barbecue pit (see #4 below). In a way, this approach to tea is akin to those “swag men” in Australia using their “billy” to heat their tea water (read all about it here). And the tea you serve will probably be strong enough to take that really hot water! You could find yourself drinking from a rather tall mug like the one shown above. Or your teawares can be more on the dainty side. I’ve even seen some that go for butterflies on their plates, cups, and teapots! Here’s an example:
4 Texas Recipes Dominate
As for that previously mentioned barbecue pit, it will be roasting some very un-vegan things like ribs, steaks, and sausages. Barbecue has been named by many as the top food in Texas. Accompanied by hushpuppies. So when these things pop up on your tea time menu, you are most assuredly “going Texan” at tea time!
5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments
Cowboy hats, cowboy boots (no spurs), a little handkerchief tied around your neck, a plaid shirt, and either blue jeans or a blue denim skirt are your choices for attire at tea time. You can also dress up if you want. One thing about Texas seems to be their spirit of the individual where you can be yourself. Even your favorite team’s sports attire is fine, as long as rivalries don’t break out. Another sign you’re “going Texan” at tea time!
Are you there yet? Have you “gone Texan”? If so, have a great time. And if not, get a move on and make that transformation complete!
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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