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At my house on Thanksgiving, there is always dessert: the standard pumpkin pie and an apple pie. Apple pies are at our Thanksgiving dessert menu because some of my family members are not too keen on pumpkin pie, and that is understandable. The idea of pumpkins in a pie do not sound too appealing for some

74627-0-1459502036You may have heard the old saying, “As American as apple pie”. It turns out that apple pies were actually in the UK before they were in the US. They were only brought to America from Britain where they became very popular and associated with American culture. Many Americans enjoy apple pie a la mode, which is vanilla ice cream on the side while the pie is still warm but it’s an entirely different thing in the UK. Go there and they enjoy their apple pie with a bit of custard, cream, or some cheddar cheese!

The types of apples are also very different. In the US, the most popular type of apple used is Granny Smith, a bright green, very tart apple that is used in nearly anything culinary that requires apples. The same goes for the British Bramley apple, the American counterpart to the Granny Smith. As a born and raised American who has never been to the other side of the Atlantic, I have never tasted a Bramley, but it is on my bucket list. I wish I could describe the taste of a 36452ba2-648c-4c67-90f7-3a1fc36cf6f4Bramley (but someday!). I do know that they are green with just a blush of red and very stout in their appearance. It’s the most popular cooking apple in the UK.

Both kinds of pies are prepared using a flaky pastry crust (or shortcrust) along with the apples and some sugar. The spices make all the difference. In the American apple pie, cinnamon is most commonly used, sometimes a bit of nutmeg or other choice spices. The British apple pie will sometimes use little to no spices. Sometimes mixed spice (more on that later) or a little cinnamon. It depends on the palate of the consumer.

American apple pies are usually plain apple but are sometimes made with cherries or made half and half (apple-cherry) to please the apple pie vs. cherry pie lovers. British apple pies take a walk on the wild side by adding dried fruits like sultanas (a type of raisin), figs, or even cheese!

Thanksgiving is definitely one of my favorite holidays but apple pies are enjoyed year round. They can be enjoyed with a nice cup of tea in the afternoon or in the evening with a cool glass of milk!

-CD

 

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving is here and you probably have a lot on your plate already. Who is coming to dinner? Should I bring out the good china? What kind of snacks should I serve? Fear not, here are just a few ideas on how to spruce up your Thanksgiving!

Snacks: Before the big meal of turkey and stuffing, everyone is always looking for something to nibble on. If you have guests, it’s sometimes best to have a small spread for everyone to munch on,teatssc1000025103_-00_jacobs-mini-twiglets-caddy-7-05oz-200g_1 just to tide them over until dinner. That’s when you break out the cheese and crackers. Most people love cheese and it can go very fast, especially with some Jacob’s Biscuits for cheese. The best cheeses to try these savory biscuits with would be brie, English cheddar, or even your own special cheese dip. These go with just about anything and they’re well worth it! Another savory snack that is a hit among snackers are the Twiglets. These crunchy little sticks are Marmite flavored, so some may love them, and some may not but they do cause some conversation at the snack table.

teatssc1000015134_-00_mcvities-biscuits-victoria-carton-10-58oz-300g_1Cookies: If your guests fancy cookies as much as crackers, then cookie varieties are a must! McVitie’s makes a variety box called Family Circle which features some of their best cookies (like digestives, bourbon creams, and jammy cookies) all in one box so there’s something for everyone! Or more in the mood for chocolate? Try the Victoria selection box. There’s lots of chocolatey cookies in this beautiful box but be careful, this could be gone very quickly!

Tea: If you plan to serve tea at your Thanksgiving feast, it may be a bit hard sometimes as you may not know what type of tea to serve since there are guests who have different preferences. Luckily, there are English Tea Store Samplers, which provide everyone a type and flavor for everyone. Not sure which sampler? There’s the Tea for Any Occasion. Perfect for parties, dinners, or desserts, it’s literally perfect for any time! This loose leaf sampler includes Pumpkin Spice, Godiva Roche, English Breakfast 2, and along with 5 other teas.

What are some of your favorite things to serve at a Thanksgiving dinner? Any ideas of your own? Let us know!

-CD

 

 

There aren’t that many opportunities in the year to have a large meal and just go all out. For Americans, there is Thanksgiving, which is held on the last Thursday of November each year. Relatives from far and wide typically come to visit so they can enjoy the annual dinner with the ones they love. There is also a parade filled with giant balloons of cartoon characters many of us know and love, followed by a football game. Once the dinner concludes, dessert of pumpkin or apple pie is served.

The UK is an entirely different story, however. Each Sunday (yes, every Sunday), many Britons make a dinner consisting of meat (usually  beef, pork, chicken, or lamb) that is roasted, potatoes, which are also usually roasted, vegetables, stuffing, Yorkshire puddings, and who can forget, the gravy?

The history of a Sunday Roast (or Sunday Dinner) started very simply: many people did not eat meat on Fridays since they were following their religion so it was usually eaten after church when families would whip up a nice Sunday dinner. This has been a tradition since around the 1700s and is a very hearty one, still going strong today. People always make sure they’re home for Sunday dinner!

If you have never made a Sunday Roast, what goes in one? Of course, the standard roast but it’s your choice of what kind of roast. Fancy beef or chicken? Roast it! And the most popular vegetables used to help make up the Sunday Roast range from carrots, to broccoli, to even parsnips. Potatoes are sometimes boiled but are most commonly roasted to be perfectly crispy. Then there’s the stuffing. Now, this isn’t the Thanksgiving stuffing you’re used to. This is stuffing rolled into balls but sometimes it is also made into a dish like traditional American stuffing. There’s also the Yorkshire puddings, which are baked in a special pan (or in a muffin pan) with hot oil until they just pop up! Don’t forget the gravy!

Just describing this makes me hungry! Now I can see why everyone goes home for Sunday Dinner! Do you have your own Sunday Dinner traditions or ones from Home? Do you plan to start new ones?

Enjoy with a nice hot brew. Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

-CD

 

Come October, most love to say that these last three months of the year are the best. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are some of the best times for celebrating. What better way to celebrate the upcoming holidays than with chocolate and who doesn’t love chocolate? Starting with Halloween, the sweet celebrations begin. As soon as October approaches, stores begin to not only sell Halloween candy but also Christmas decorations and a few sweets. You may say it’s too early but if you live in the UK and are a fan of chocolate, then it is tradition. This is because chocolate boxes and tins go on sale, and they are some of the most anticipated sweets of the holidays.

teatssc1000015120_-00_nestle-quality-street-tin-820-grams-2016Now these are no ordinary chocolates. These beautiful sweets are colorfully wrapped and in random shapes and sizes. Much like a box of standard chocolates, each package will tell you what to expect in each chocolate, except you can pick whichever ones you like!

Quality Street is made by Nestle, identifiable by the purple box or tub. Quality Street was created after a man named Harold Mackintosh inherited his father John’s toffee factory after his death in 1936 and Harold revolutionized Christmas chocolates. In the early days, only the wealthy could originally afford Christmas chocolates since they were made with imported ingredients but with Mackintosh’s plan to use local ingredients, it lowered the prices of his chocolate and made Chhxm_08_c133_-00_cadbury-roses-tub-2016ristmas chocolate affordable to everyone. His invention, Quality Street, is made in the original factory from 1936. In 1988, Nestle purchased the brand and has owned it ever since. In previous holiday seasons, Nestle has released entire single serve chocolate bars devoted to favorite flavors of Quality Street (like honeycomb crunch and even chocolate green triangle). There has even been a giant strawberry! Quality Street was named after a play written by Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie, who was mostly known for writing Peter Pan.

Cadbury Roses are the Cadbury equivalent of Quality Street, launched in 1938 to compete with the main brand of Christmas chocolate. The Roses name apparently comes from “Rose Brothers”. Cadbury Roses have only 10 varieties of chocolates.

teatssc1000020922_-00_cadbury-heroes-11-39oz-323g_1Finally, another hit among chocolate lovers is the Cadbury Heroes. This is a mixture of Cadbury favorites like Dairy Milk, Fudge, Wispa, Dairy Milk Caramel, Twirl, Eclair, and Creme Egg Twisted. The best part of this is that they are all miniatures! These “fun sized” treats come in a range of sizes from small bags, to boxes, to large tubs.

All of these wonderful sweets are delicious and are enjoyed throughout generations. Their popularity is growing throughout the world so it’s no wonder it’s gaining attention here in the States. The tradition of Christmas chocolates have been well-established with British families and now American families can create new traditions with them. Try some today. You will wonder how your holidays ever did without!

-CD

 

Thanksgiving is once again upon us. And tea is an important part of this annual gathering of kith and kin. No matter what you traditionally serve in your house, there is a tea that is perfect to go with it.

Pumpkin Spice Flavored Black Tea (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Pumpkin Spice Flavored Black Tea (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Flavored teas are especially welcome at such times, and not just any flavors but typical flavors for this time of year. Pumpkin, cranberry, cinnamon, apple, oranges, and various spices. These carry through when the Thanksgiving feast is done and into the Christmas season.

A few options:

Stash Tea has a number of Fall and Winter flavors that will go great with whatever your feast consists of (note that Stash – and some other tea vendors – mislabels their spiced teas as “chais”):

  • Stash Chai Spice Black Tea — Very aromatic, slightly sweet, strong, and penetrating flavor, with lingering notes of almond. Excellent plain or with milk (regular or evaporated) and sweetener.
  • Stash Christmas Morning Black Tea — Black teas and jasmine green tea in this breakfast blend makes a rich, multi-layered drink. Brisk and sweet. Full-bodied. Lovely aroma. Enjoy it hot or iced, with milk and sugar or plain.
  • Stash White Christmas Tea — A unique blend of white tea, cool peppermint, and a hint of ginger. Add a touch of sugar or honey to bring out distinct flavor notes.
  • Stash Orange Spice Tea — Full-bodied black teas from India, Sri Lanka and China, with cinnamon from Sri Lanka and sweet California orange peel and orange oil. Aromatic with flavors of zesty orange and spicy cinnamon.
  • Stash Chai Green Tea — Lung Ching (Dragonwell) Chinese green tea and cinnamon, whole cloves, cardamom, ginger root, and sarsaparilla. Flavorful and spicy, great with milk and sugar any time of the day.
Blue Q Pleasant Holidays with Family Tea  (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Blue Q Pleasant Holidays with Family Tea (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Other brands have some wonderful flavors, too:

  • Blue Q Pleasant Holidays with Family Tea — A black tea spiced with ginger, cardamom and cinnamon.
  • Harney & Sons Holiday and Spiced Teas — Available in festive blends like Hot Cinnamon and White Christmas, these teas are sure to please. Don’t miss Hot Cinnamon Spice and Indian Spice.
  • Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea — A sweet and spicy tea with a blend of cinnamon, orange, and sweet cloves. Very seasonal aroma and taste!
  • Revolution Orange Chocolate Green Tea — An amazing combination of flavors: chocolate, oranges, and green tea. The aroma will make your mouth water!
  • Taylors of Harrogate Spiced Christmas Tea — Created by master tea blenders especially for the Yuletide season, but popular year round. Black China teas, tangy lemon peels, fruity orange peels, cinnamon and safflower petals. Enjoyed with a bit of honey.
  • Twinings Christmas Tea — Expertly blended black tea with traditional spice flavors of cinnamon and cloves. The aroma will get you into that special holiday mood. Enjoy plain or with milk and sweetener.
  • Twinings Cranberry Green Tea — Green tea with the essence of fresh cranberries for a great fruit flavor that pleases all the senses.
  • Twinings Orange Bliss Black Tea — A fresh citrus tasting tea combining the awesome flavor of freshly squeezed oranges with an exquisite black tea for delightfully sweet tea you will love.

As you’re getting that Thanksgiving menu all set up, be sure to include teas. They will enhance that festive mood and please your guests’ tastebuds!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Spring Pouchong is a great tea for Thanksgiving! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Spring Pouchong is a great tea for Thanksgiving! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Whether you have a more traditional, Norman Rockwell-esque Thanksgiving dinner or something very untraditional and unique, tea is an important part of that feast. And serving the right tea can make the difference to you and your guests between success or “so long, folks.” Not that anyone would walk away from a great meal just because you served the wrong tea with it. But they will walk away from the tea. So, let’s see how to have a bit more assurance that this won’t happen. Here are 5 tasty teas that are great with traditional Thanksgiving dishes and even non-traditional ones.

1 Assam Black Tea (CTC style)

The sky is the limit here, as far as food pairings are concerned. So, no matter what your feast menu consists of, this tea should be a big hit! Great hot or iced, straight (steep only 2-3 minutes instead of 3-5 minutes) or with milk and sweetener.

  • Meats: Hamburgers, Bacon, Fried or Roasted Chicken, Baked Ham, Eggs, Mexican Foods, Lasagna
  • Cheeses: Goat Cheese
  • Grains: Corn Bread, Couscous
  • Vegetables: Chiles, Baked Beans, Mushrooms (Chanterelle, Common, Morel, Porcini)
  • Desserts/Sweets: Dark Chocolate, Carrot Cake, Crème Brûlée, Caramel, Pecan Pie, Ones with Coffee or Mocha Flavors, Cinnamon, Nutmeg

2 Spring Pouchong Tea

You’re probably thinking I’ve flipped my lid, but quite the contrary. This is a rather surprising tea, pairing with more foods than you might think. Plus, although many classify this as an oolong, it is so lightly oxidized that it is more like a green tea.

  • Meats: Chicken Curry
  • Fish/Seafood: Anchovies
  • Cheeses: Gorgonzola, Muenster
  • Vegetables: Potato Salad, Antipasto (even ones with meats in them)
  • Desserts/Sweets: Baklava, Ones with Bananas, Avocados, Ones with Vanilla, Ones with Mint, Fresh Fruit

3 Darjeeling Tea

Another tea style that goes with a wide range of foods. And it can be served hot or iced (I’m keeping all you folks in warmer climates, like the Southwest U.S., in mind here).

  • Meats: Turkey, Hamburgers, Chicken (Buffalo Wings, Curry, Lemon), Lamb, Smoked Ham, Eggs, Quiche, Pork, other meat curries, Carpaccio (an appetizer made of raw meat or fish, thinly sliced or pounded thin)
  • Fish/Seafood: Blinis with Salmon, Smoked or Grilled Fish/Seafood, Anchovies
  • Cheeses: Brie, Cheddar, Cream Cheese, Edam (best with Autumn Flush Darjeeling), Camembert (best with First Flush Darjeeling)
  • Vegetables: Eggplant, Potato Salad, Morel Mushrooms (best with Second-Flush or Autumn Flush Darjeeling), Polenta (cornmeal boiled into a porridge – can be eaten as is or baked, fried, grilled)
  • Herbs/Spices: Cinnamon (best with Autumn Flush Darjeeling), Basil, Ginger, Mint, Nutmeg
  • Desserts/Sweets: Chocolate (Dark, Milk, or White), Baklava, Carrot Cake, Cheesecake, Crème Brûlée, Crêpes, Fruit Compote/Tart (Ones with Apples, Blackcurrants, Raspberries, Strawberries), Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Fresh Fruit, Avocados

4 Ceylon Green Tea

An all-round good green tea that will be strong enough in flavor yet light enough in its general impression on your palate to suit your guests after that big meal. Consider this your dessert tea, although it can go with a few other foods well, too.

  • Fish/Seafood: Anchovies, Clam Chowder, Prawns
  • Other: Capers, Salsa
  • Desserts/Sweets: Pumpkin Pie, Baklava, Carrot Cake, Cheesecake, Crème Brûlée, Ones with Raspberries, Ones with Caramel

5 Ceylon Black Tea

Another tea that is pretty general when it comes to pairing with foods. So let your inner chef take over when planning the menu and have free rein.

  • Meats: Turkey, Pork, Beef (Hamburgers, Stews, Roasts, Briskets, Steaks), Bacon, Eggs, Quiche, Chicken (Buffalo Wings, Fried, Lemon, Roasted), Baked Ham, Lamb, BBQ Meat, Salami, Lasagna, Antipasto (even ones with meats in them), Carpaccio
  • Fish/Seafood: Ones that are Smoked
  • Cheeses: Cream Cheese, Edam, Gorgonzola, Provolone
  • Vegetables: Any Raw Veggies, Mushrooms (Chanterelles, Common, Porcini), Eggplant, Potato Salad, Baked Beans
  • Grains/Pastas: Corn Bread, Couscous, Macaroni & Cheese
  • Other: Nutmeg, Spicy Foods, Mexican Dishes, Pizza
  • Desserts/Sweets: Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Baklava, Carrot Cake, Cheesecake, Crème Brûlée, Fruit Compote/Tart, Ones with Caramel, Ones with Bananas, Ones with Raspberries, Ones with Vanilla

Wishing you a great dinner and some lovely tea experiences. Enjoy!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Last year I listed teas for your Thanksgiving holiday tea time and the year before that I wrote about starting your Thanksgiving plans with tea. So you’re probably wondering what three teas did I miss or are there new teas out there? Read on to find out!

Your feast is not complete without the proper tea! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Your feast is not complete without the proper tea! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

The key to serving teas with your Thanksgiving feast is the food line-up. Best to start there, then. Here are traditional Thanksgiving menu items:

With such a variety of foods, what tea or teas do you choose? My pick of three that should go with such a menu:

  1. Ceylon Black Tea — A classic Ceylon tea, with a light colored liquor and hints of delicate floral notes. The cup is bright, tending yellow, delivering a superb classic tea. For the best brew, steep for 2-5 minutes in water that has been brought to a rolling boil.
  2. Assam — This second flush Organic Assam Tea is grown 1500 feet above sea level, and delivers a full bodied and brisk brew with great flavor. Great when paired with a little milk, as the milk tones down the strength and adds smoothness, while highlighting the malty notes. For the best brew, Organic Assam should steep in water that has been brought to a rolling boil for 2-5 minutes.
  3. Darjeeling blend — Only the finest Darjeeling tea in selected for this product. This tea is light yet has a distinctive fragrant taste. Darjeeling is regarded by many as the “Champagne of Teas”. We recommend this tea be served hot without milk or sugar. This blend of Darjeeling has a smaller leaf size for a faster infusion. We also offer other Darjeelings with larger leaf sizes and slower infusions. Brew in a tea pot and use a tea strainer like the one shown.

These teas seem to go with the most foods listed above, so you can pick one, two, or even all three to serve with the meal and be assured of a great pairing. You will notice that none of these is a flavored tea, that is, a tea with various items added, such as fruit bits, spices, flower petals, flavoring oils, and even bits of chocolate, peppermint, or other candies. There is a good reason for this: such teas could very well clash with the foods you’re having or dominate the palate. Save them for separate tea moments or even as a substitute for those high-calorie desserts.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Lapsang Souchong for me, coffee for my sibling. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Lapsang Souchong for me, coffee for my sibling. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

The kettle is on (a recent survey showed that about 30% of regular tea drinkers use a kettle on the stove to heat water), the teapot is prepped, and my mind has some time once again to drift into reverie, tending toward the philosophic variety. The idea of sibling rivalry comes to mind, especially with another holiday season approaching.

As Thanksgiving grows closer, some folks break out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of spending another holiday with relatives. Sibling rivalry is one of the main reasons (probably second only to parental issues). It can be so severe that the siblings cannot even tolerate being in the same state, let alone the same city, house, or room. For me, there were years when I had to be ready to face such questions as, “Got a steady boyfriend yet?” and “That job of yours — do you take it seriously?” I know, pretty cliché. And pretty tiresome year after year. There was also the constant one-upmanship, the sideways barbs, the pettiness, and the outright snideness. We usually avoided coming to blows, though. Small wonder even so that the approach of the holiday season sets the stomach to flip-flopping.

Sibling rivalry can be launched when children are young. Sometimes it’s by innocent statements like “Why can’t you be as smart/neat/organized/whatever as your sister/brother?” Other times it is by directly pitting one against another or favoring one over another. Having a “favorite” child can be irresistible but it is a good idea to avoid the impulse. It saves creating that feeling of rivalry between siblings.

I had hoped on one or two of these occasions that tea could be the cure, could bridge the gap and end the rivalry. Even if one of you likes a strong black tea like Lapsang Souchong and the other of you likes a premium green tea like gyokuro, there is a common ground. It’s all Camellia Sinensis. Alas, for me, this tactic never worked. It turns out my sibling prefers coffee, which upsets my tummy. Best for us both to just stay in our separate corners when it comes to those holiday gatherings. If only I could just once get the drumstick!

Well, the kettle whistle’s shrill call brings me back to the here and now. Time to steep the tea and then enjoy it. As for that other matter, may your sibling relations all be pleasant ones, and put aside any acrimony as the holidays approach.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Whether you love ’em or hate ’em, those visiting relatives can certainly make for some interesting tea moments. Or make you slip away to a quiet corner to have a private, nerve-calming tea moment. Either way, choose the right tea and possibly the perfect munchie, and your tea moment will be divine!

When relatives visit I find that sneaking off to a quiet corner and solving a few crossword puzzles is quite soothing, especially with a cuppa tea. (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

When relatives visit I find that sneaking off to a quiet corner and solving a few crossword puzzles is quite soothing, especially with a cuppa tea. (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

In my younger days (much younger), we would have an annual visit on Thanksgiving Day from our favorite uncle, his wife (our aunt), and their only child (our cousin). This was a time that was highly anticipated but also fraught with anxiety as our mother rushed around cleaning and decorating (she had just about every turkey and Pilgrim knickknack every made) and preparing some of her signature dishes ahead of time. We helped where we could — vacuuming, making sure our rooms were clean and our clothes hung up neatly, and helping with things like cracking walnuts for that very special cranberry jell-o dish.

Occasionally, our aunt would try to help out with this feast by supplying a snack for us all to enjoy while the turkey was roasting, the potatoes were boiling, and the green bean casserole was waiting to go in the oven beside that turkey. One year really sticks out in my memory. I call it “the year of the oysters”!

If you have children, young or grown, you have experienced trying to get them to eat something unusual. In fact, some kids stick with hotdogs, peanut butter and jelly on white bread, and macaroni and cheese. So imagine trying to get them to eat something tough, chewy, slimy, and distinctly funny smelling. But aunty had a trick. She served them on Ritz crackers and with a 6-ounce glass of tomato juice. It made them almost palatable — almost.

Dealing with relatives during these holidays can be trying for many reasons, and strange foods are just some of the reasons. Arrange to have some normal stuff on hand for those who don’t want to take a walk on the odd side. Cheese and crackers and some carrot and celery sticks, for example. It might lessen those arguments over politics, long-standing sibling feuds, and that prank you played on your cousin a couple of years back wherein he got stuck in the tree house for several hours and you got the turkey leg.

A nice tea moment with the relatives:

Lots of ways to go here, but there will be so much going on that you’ll want to keep things simple. Steep up the tea in a teapot large enough to serve everyone a cupful at minimum. I’d go for a mild black tea such as Kenyan or maybe Nilgiri. Steep it up fairly light (2 or 3 minutes) unless you know if your guests will want it with milk. Lay out some tidbits but nothing too heavy. Whether you’re serving this before or after the main event on Turkey Day (Thanksgiving), you will want to keep the snacks confined to things that won’t spoil appetites or be too much for overly full tummies to take. Cheese and crackers with some grapes and apple slices would be ideal.

A nice tea moment away from the relatives:

While Aunt Susie, Grandpa Jake, and the rest of the clan are rooting for opposite football teams and about to come to blows in the living room, slip off to the den or your bedroom where you have laid out ahead of time a setup for your personal tea moment. This would be things like an electric kettle filled with water, a teapot, the tea of your choice, any additives (lemon, honey, sweeteners, milk, etc.), a cup or mug, a spoon, and some nibbles. Which tea and which nibbles are entirely your choice.

Don’t worry. The holiday season won’t last long, and they will all be headed home, returning your house and your tea moments back to normal!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

When it comes to great American holidays in which we all gather to watch football on TV and eat ourselves into a coma, it’s hard to beat Thanksgiving. But how does tea figure into this, you might be asking yourself.

Video: History of Thanksgiving (click on image to go to site and view this) (Photo source: screen capture from site)

Video: History of Thanksgiving (click on image to go to site and view this) (Photo source: screen capture from site)

To be quite honest, it’s probably not likely that tea figured into the first Thanksgiving celebration. As any first-grader worth their salt can probably tell you, the Thanksgiving holiday that we celebrate today can be traced back to that fabled first gathering of Pilgrims and American Indians, who got together for a three-day harvest celebration in November, 1621.

The myths and legends about Thanksgiving are many and varied, and you can read about a few of them here. While it may be hard to sort out the exact truth about this first feast, it’s safe to say that there was probably no “real” tea (from the plant Camellia Sinensis) consumed. Though it’s not one hundred percent out of the realm of possibility.

According to one reliable source, the first European reference to tea came in 1545 in an introduction to the works of Marco Polo. The Dutch are thought to have been the first to bring tea to Europe, probably in 1610. They sponsored a voyage of exploration to eastern North America the year before that and began settling in the mid-Atlantic region as early as 1613.

So, while the British may not have been introduced to tea for another several decades after 1610 and ditto for the formerly British Pilgrims, it’s at least conceivable that the Dutch had begun to bring tea to the New World by 1621. Although the aforementioned reliable source vaguely dates this event to “the middle of the 17th century.”

Which makes for interesting speculation but let’s put that aside for the moment and talk turkey (and tea). One of the truisms about turkey that’s actually true is that it contains tryptophan, a chemical which helps contribute to that overwhelming drowsy feeling one gets after eating it. Which is a perfect excuse to call upon the pick-me-up qualities of as much tea as you can consume.

As for turkey recipes, if Grilled Tea-Brined Turkey with Tea-and-Lemon Gravy sounds like it might float your boat, then look no further than this recipe from Epicurious, which uses Earl Grey tea. If you’ve always wondered what tea goes best with turkey, the good people at The Nibble are ahead of you. They recommend oolong or any of a number of black teas, including Darjeeling, Ceylon, and Yunnan.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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