Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Teatime Tuesday - Brewing for the Guests

We never had hot tea in my house growing up. Both my parents were originally from the Midwest so if we had tea at all, it was iced tea or sun tea.  They both loved coffee though, especially my dad.

My dad didn't like to travel or go gallivanting around much.  His home was his castle and there was nothing he enjoyed more than being at home with his family, building us kids a sandbox in the backyard, tending to our citrus trees or our rose bushes, working on cars in the garage, or reading a good book.  What he really enjoyed most of all, was hosting people at our house for an evening for dinner.  My mom enjoyed this too, so they were a good match.  Mom would make a fabulous meal and then, as the dishes were cleared, the spotlight was on my dad, as he pulled out his selection of after-dinner coffees.

My dad researched different coffees and growing regions. When someone was traveling, especially out of the country, he'd give them money to bring back coffee.  He had Kona coffee from Hawaii, Arabic coffee from Morocco, and more.  He preferred to grind his own beans, immediately before brewing, and had both an electric grinder and a hand-crank coffee grinder, with a little drawer you'd pull out to get to the ground coffee. I guess you could say he was a coffee connoisseur.  He enjoyed picking the perfect coffee to compliment dessert, or to cater to the specific tastes of his guests.

He used to tell me that all Swedes put lots of milk in their coffee, to keep their hair blond (since that was the color of the coffee by the time they got done) and lots of sugar too, to keep them sweet.  My dad was fun like that.  I actually believed it, as a kid, and asked him one time if I was going to have to start drinking coffee too, since we were Swedish, and if that was what I was going to have to do to keep my hair blond. We didn't know the "fine art of serving tea" but we knew about coffee.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I was thinking back to all the people my parents would invite into our home for the turkey day meal - all the single people from church, or people who didn't have family in state, or friends and their kids - and how the ritual of coffee after the big meal, with a slice of pie for dessert, was never missed.

I don't know much about coffee and don't drink it, but I hope I can be just as knowledgeable with my tea, and that I can learn to be a better hostess, and maybe even invite people into my house for the occasional meal so I can serve them, and make them feel special, the way my dad did with his coffee.

The only problem is... I have to learn to cook something presentable first.  I can't just offer them tea...
P.S. This post is supposed to have nifty pictures of a coffee grinder and some fall-themed tea pots, but for some reason Blogger isn't letting me upload photos tonight. I'll try again in the morning.

P.P.S. I'm so thankful for happy memories, and for the good example I had in my parents.

***UPDATE 11/24/10 Pictures have been added.***

I'm not typically one who likes to collect decorative tea pots just for the sake of collecting. I have enough nicknacks to dust as it is.  However, it might be nice to have one functional, seasonal teapot to use for the Thanksgiving dinner.  Below are a few examples of fall-themed teapots that I might like to own and use, especially the "Gather Together" one. 

All teapots available at The English Tea Store. Just click on the picture to go to the site.


Laura said...

I love teapots, those are very cute.

I've had people over for afternoon tea. It's a great way to have a small get together without having to prep an entire meal. There's much less pressure as a hostess in serving shortbread and scones with tea instead of a formal dinner. Start with that and have fun!

hyacinthinemoon said...

I loved reading about your memory of your dad serving after dinner coffee. I love that idea it is just a warm, inviting, romantic feeling. I can't even remember drinking an after dinner coffee growing up. I always drank tea if anything, but now I do love drinking coffee, but I still love a good cup of tea.

You know, you could just have people over for tea without a meal to start out with. It would be fun. In America I think we miss out on romantic "traditions" like this sometimes. We are always so busy and rushing here and there. It would be nice if we could stop once in a while and have a cup of afternoon tea with friends.

D.L. White said...

Afternoon tea it is! Thanks for the suggestion ladies! :-)