Friday, September 29, 2006

For the Love of Tea and Oatcakes

**Disclaimer: If you do not want to hear me natter on about tea and oatcakes and Europe, this post is not for you. (But then again, if you don't like nattering, this whole blog is probably not for you.)**

Recently, a project manager at the center here returned from Uganda, bringing a box of Freshpak rooibos tea with her as a treat for staff. She and I spoke about our common love of rooibos. And, yesterday afternoon, I broke open the box and steeped a cup.


I had forgotten what plain old rooibos tastes like with a bit of sugar and cream. I have to step back for a moment to explain this.

My First Taste of Rooibos, or One of the Most Important Nights of my Life
I spent the summer of 1998 in Europe, hanging out with my sister in Switzerland (where she was wrapping up a year abroad) and studying forensic anthropology in London. I will never forget the night that I was introduced to the wonder that is rooibos tea. We were having dinner at the apartment of one of my sister's Swiss friends, who served us rooibos after the meal. [In another post, perhaps I will tell you about taking a cable car to visit the same friend at her home in the Alps and having tomato-cheese fondue and sleeping in her basement, which doubled as a nuclear bomb shelter.]

So good! In love! With rooibos!

In Cambridge (where I spent a week living and studying at King's College and playing in private gardens), I stocked up on rooibos tea bags at a teahouse. In London, I bought a big bag of loose rooibos. I thought I was set.

An Empty Cup, or Mid-Missouri Sucked in the 1990s for Tea Drinkers
After coming back to the States and drinking the rest of my beloved tea, I was so sad. I could not find rooibos anywhere!! Ack! Mind you, I was in central Missouri and it was just the late 1990s.

A Better Day, or Celestial Seasonings Finally Test Markets Rooibos
Now, you can find rooibos in many places. However, it's usually flavored with something else.

So, you see, I had forgotten the simple joy that is plain rooibos.

Another Flashback, or Where are the Oatcakes?!
While I was enjoying my cup of rooibos yesterday, I suddenly had a flashback to my tiny dorm room at Nutford Hall in London..... Waking up slightly hungover, boiling up water in the electric boiler, making a cup of tea (with cream and sugar, natch), and eating an oatcake.


Another thing I couldn't find when I returned to the States. Not for lack of trying, mind you. I exhausted all of my resources back then.

I had kind of given up on this love. I mean, I always keep a partial eye out for them. I've looked at the international grocery in our neighborhood, and I asked Porkchop to look at the British kiosk the last time she went to Epcot. But I haven't been in super-seeker mode lately.

But yesterday was different. Drinking my cup of tea, I wondered, why haven't I looked online lately.

Lo and behold, here they are: Walker's Highland Oatcakes!

Porkchop has encouraged me to order 4 boxes. I will at least order 2.

The End, or Thank you for Caring and Reading to the End of this Post
So, that's that.

I will be ordering my case box of oatcakes soon. And enjoying them with rooibos tea.


Also, have a great Friday afternoon!

My favorite recent search-term hit..."hated grad school." Yes!


getinmymouthstuff said...

Sometimes I play a game in my head: how could I search for your blog in a way that would make you happy. I usually don't remember that I like this game when I'm trying to find your blog at a computer lab, but unsuccessful search techniques in the past have included "porkchop carrie st. louis," "knitting porkchop," "soozie porkchop kidney knitting," and "food knitting burlesque st. louis." :)

Anonymous said...

Natters? Sounds soooo close to nanners and that makes me feel dirty.
-Dr. Cox