Monday, 30 March 2009

In the moonlight, the color and scent of the wisteria, seems so far away
'tsuki ni tooku oboyuru fuji no iroka kana'
-Yosa Buson (1716-1784)

I learned of this purple beauty after watching the English film Enchanted April. Wisteria and England are intertwined in my mind. When I see this woody vine, I want to brew a pot of tea.

My mother is half-English. There was no prescribed teatime at our house, but once she surprised us with a traditional afternoon tea. My first real one was in Peterborough, England. My cousins marveled at how many sugar cubes I dropped into my cup. Then they laughed as I drowned a scone in Devonshire cream and strawberry jam. I left not a crumb.

The tradition of teatime is no longer in vogue (unless you are like Moby and open a tea shop in Manhattan.) In fact, one English citizen was so concerned that the tradition would be forgotten that he sponsored an "afternoon tea" legacy for the National Trust, England's version of their preservation society. I worked there for a few months after college. Every day at 4 o'clock we sipped tea and nibbled on one of the many gourmet treats from the resident pastry chef.

Aside from the crumb cake, the thing I remember most was the conversation.

You can make tea time even sweeter by making a treat to go along with it. For my solo tea last weekend, I whipped up some date almond biscotti with ingredients I had on hand. You can modify this simple recipe to whatever ingredients are in your pantry.

Image source: Domino Magazine

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