Friday, 17 March 2017

Storm in a teacup

The OB always likes to watch the cookery programmes of that National treasure, Aunty Mary. Mary Berry, that is. Only her cookery programmes, not the GBBO.  Anyway, all hell broke loose in social media (and then into the national press) after her programme last week.  She was making her version of spag bol, only she doesn't use spaghetti, preferring instead pappardelle, which she claims goes much better than the boot laces. But it wasn't her change of pasta that infuriated people; it was the use of two unexpected ingredients - white wine and double cream. Some viewers were so incensed that they had to change channels or switch off!

Well, really! What is it with some people that they get so upset about such little things? Mind you, there were some Italians who responded that in their home areas it was normal to add wine or cream, so there!!

Although I am no cook and have no aspiration to improve my ability to any great extent, I usually watch those programmes - and salivate over the results MB achieves! And that spag bol - all right, pappardelle bolognese - looked really delicious. the OB cooked spag bol the other evening - and she did use spaghetti and she didn't use wine or cream. But it was still pretty good.

I seem to remember that the National Treasure did something unorthodox again this week, but I'm blowed if I can remember what it was. Perhaps it's because we watched Broadchurch afterwards - and blow me down if there wasn't a cookery hiatus (or something) in that. The leading actor made a cup of tea in a microwave. And if there is one thing guaranteed to stir up the English, it is the age-old argument about how to make the best cup of tea.

For a start, there is the little matter of where the tea comes from. In the 'good old days'. society hostesses would always have two pots of tea on the table and guests would be asked, "China or Indian?" (Note: China, not Chinese.) i don't suppose for one moment that such a question would be asked these days as tea is pretty much a mixture of various varieties. Except that some people prefer Earl Grey with its hint of bergamot.

But discussions (perhaps I should say 'arguments') continue whether tea bags are as good as loose tea, whether or not the tea bags are placed in a teapot or just dropped into the cups. And if one uses a teapot, is it really necessary to warm the pot with hot water before putting the tea leaves in?

Some people claim that they can taste a difference depending on whether the milk was put in the cup before or after the tea. I'm not sure I can believe that - but some people...

The temperature of the water is another moot point. Some say it should be just off the boil, although I have not heard it specified whether just before the boil or a little after. others swear that the water should be just boiling as the bubbles in boiling water enhance the aroma (or the flavour) of the tea.

But whatever our different views on how to make a cup of tea, most English people are united in one thing: you can't get a nice cup of tea in any other country. oh, and the American iced tea just doesn't count as tea!

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