Posts filed under ‘eating’

a nice cup of tea

Christopher Hitchens on making “a decent cup of tea”:

It is already virtually impossible in the United States, unless you undertake the job yourself, to get a cup or pot of tea that tastes remotely as it ought to. It’s quite common to be served a cup or a pot of water, well off the boil, with the tea bags lying on an adjacent cold plate. Then comes the ridiculous business of pouring the tepid water, dunking the bag until some change in color occurs, and eventually finding some way of disposing of the resulting and dispiriting tampon surrogate.

George Orwell on making “a nice cup of tea”:

First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.


Fifthly, the tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea. In some countries teapots are fitted with little dangling baskets under the spout to catch the stray leaves, which are supposed to be harmful. Actually one can swallow tea-leaves in considerable quantities without ill effect, and if the tea is not loose in the pot it never infuses properly.


Lastly, tea — unless one is drinking it in the Russian style — should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.

Yup.  I break most of these rules, but it’s still better than any tea you can get out and about here or in the UK.


3 January 2011 at 14:20 Leave a comment

jam tart thief

“you cannot trust the testimony of a very greedy jam tart thief…”

Alexander Waugh

3 September 2004 at 12:19 Leave a comment

Che Chuoi

Local Vietnamese restaurants have been one of our greatest discoveries since moving to France.  We always have to be sure and let them know at the beginning of the meal if we want some of our favorite desert:

Che Chuoi

2 tablespoons sesame seeds or chopped roasted peanuts
4 bananas
500 ml coconut milk
4 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. Toast sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until golden, 4-5 minutes. Or chop the peanuts.
2. Peel bananas & slice into bite size chunks.
3. Combine bananas, sugar, coconut milk & salt in a saucepan & bring to a boil over medium heat.
4. Simmer for 8 minutes until bananas are soft.
5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds/peanuts & serve hot.

I modified a recipe I found online.   A yummy, easy dessert.

8 July 2004 at 12:58 Leave a comment


Some sweet guy (aka bb) brought me a little sack full of mushrooms. Mmmmmm! I am currently turning some into tempura and plan to add the rest to risotto for dinner.

Went downtown Paris yesterday – we walked to the store at noon and it was glorious we decided we had to go see the sights. We found Les Halles, got lost looking for the Seine, then headed to the Tuileries, where we found a bench (with difficulty…it was very, very full) and sat and enjoyed the breeze and the trees.

I know it must be possible to live in a city and not be reflective, but I don’t really see how.

You spend so much time sitting on the Metro, on buses, in lines, and so many of the people you see doing these things are alone. Frequently reading, but also just sitting silently.

Carefully observing each other by not looking.

Most people have perhaps a half-hour commute every day?

That’s a lot of time to think.

Or to pretend not to.

15 June 2004 at 19:09 Leave a comment

Kumin on mushrooms

Maxine Kumin on mushrooms:

“The mushroom passion freshens with me year by year. Too bad it is such an esoteric subject for Americans — each genus is as distinct as broccoli from cauliflower. A broccoli poem would speak its own universal, but a boletus poem? They are, of course, the toadstools in Alice and all those dreadful fairy books of my childhood, each with an elf underneath. Little children are taught to trample them on sight as something nasty to be eradicated. A pity. Once you have eaten wild mushrooms, the dull store-bought agaricus is a poor substitute. I think of Thoreau’s “a huckleberry never reaches Boston.” I pickle some mushrooms, string others with needle and thread and hang them to dry. Extras I saute and freeze, but they are a pale imitation of the fresh-picked and into the pot ones.”

Maxine Kumin, “Estivating (journal),” Ploughshares, Spring 1974.

I find myself more and more under their spell which is works out well here in France where there are so many varieties available every day.

11 June 2004 at 18:29 Leave a comment

Food in America

Interesting article:

“David Ludwig questions farm subsidies of “billions to the lowest-quality foods”—for example, grains like corn (“for corn sweeteners and animal feed to make Big Macs”) and wheat (“refined carbohydrates.”) Meanwhile, the government does not subsidize far healthier items like fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts. ‘It’s a perverse situation,’ he says. ‘The foods that are the worst for us have an artificially low price, and the best foods cost more. This is worse than a free market: we are creating a mirror-world here.'”

25 May 2004 at 12:28 Leave a comment

The Queen is here

Yes, Queen Elizabeth is in Paris, and I nearly saw her…

Well, bb and I happened to be sauntering around the 6th arrondissement and chanced by Luxembourg Gardens and lo and behold, half the darn thing was roped off.

“Ahhh”, I said knowingly to bb, “the Queen…”

And, yep, as we were leaving we got caught in a crowd looking through an archway into the courtyard of Luxembourg Palace. We could see sharply dressed military men doing their fanciest steps, and photographers running around to get pictures.

I didn’t see her, not being much of one for gawking, but bb thinks he did, “If she was that little woman wearing pink…”

A nice Spring day here, a bit cold, but lots of sun between the showers.

I am sitting down to tea, a nice little tarte aux pommes we picked up and a favorite old book I’m halfway through.

Such a nice day.

6 April 2004 at 21:45 Leave a comment

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T. Anderson Painter

I am a misanthrope. No one ever believes me, but this seems to prove my point.



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