|Pic courtesy: Amanda M.|
"What's a tea cosy, mum?" asked Caitlyn.
"A tea cosy is a cover for a teapot. It keeps the tea inside from getting cold," I answered, showing her pictures of them on (where else?) Google Images.
"Ohhhh, it's like a blankie or jacket for the teapot!" she exclaimed.
It then struck me that Caitlyn - like most kids of her generation - has never seen people around her use a teapot, let alone a tea cosy.
After all, her mum is one of those strange people who doesn't drink tea or coffee. And when B wants his morning cuppa, he just boils water in the electric kettle, scoops some loose-leaf tea into a tea ball (none of that teabag nonsense for this Indian!) and lets it steep in a cup. A splash of milk later, and it's tea-time...
|B's tea this morning|
But in the olden days, tea was brewed the old-fashioned way.
Since my dad always woke up at cock crow, his job was to make the tea before the rest of the household arose. There was a separate 'tea chatty' (vessel) in which he would bring the water to a vigourous boil. Then he would add the tea leaves (Orange Pekoe from 'Coin Tea') and sugar. Once it had steeped for a few minutes, the milk was added. (Milk came in glass bottles with silver and blue striped aluminium foil covers - but that's another story.)
Dad then poured this tea into a teapot which was covered with a blue tea cosy - one that had been hand-embroidered by my Nana.
I like to think the aroma of freshly brewed tea wafting through the house woke up my Nana, mum and the rest of the Pereira household. Well, except for my cousin, Wen - nothing, not even his incessantly ringing alarm clock, could rouse him out of his slumber.
We would all sit around the old wooden table in the 'back room', eating gutlis or chappatis slathered with jam and Amul butter - and the teapot with its tea cosy would take pride of place at the centre of it all.
Are you a tea- or coffee-drinker? What's your favourite brew - chai? mocha? latte? herbal tea? Did your family ever use a teapot or tea cosy?