Monday, August 25, 2014
The Temperature of Tea
I realise that on the 200th anniversary of British troops burning the White House in the War of 1812 (sic), this may be a sensitive topic but I was reminded the other day of another of our cultural differences. I happened, in an idle moment, to put on the DVD of "Saving Mr Banks", the film about Walt Disney trying to pressurise Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers into letting him film the story. Despite Emma Thompson hamming it up a bit, I did enjoy it, especially the several scenes where Disney offers Travers coffee and a selection of lurid-looking muffins, jellies, etc. At one point she wearily refuses all of it and asks for a "pot of tea". At which Disney gets on the blower to his secretary and orders "hot tea". I remember the first time someone asked me if I wanted "hot tea". I was flummoxed. What other kind of tea could there be? Not, it appears, in America.
Iced tea. Ugh. It's served wherever you go but I've never met anyone, American or otherwise, who actually likes the stuff.