Anyone ever walked into a house after a long day and not heard “shall I put the kettle on?” ….no? Me neither. And clearly the Monty Python boys agree. Whether we are in Dickens’ bleak Britain or the more recent war-torn 1940s, a cup of tea always seems like a good solution. As part of his All The Year Round periodical, Dickens writes comically about the comfort of tea “So I says ‘My dear if you could give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head I should better understand your affairs.’ And we had the tea and the affairs too….” This illustrates that no matter the era, tea is always used to soothe; after lengthy lectures or long stints at the library, I know that tea is always the first thing on the agenda for my housemates and I. Of course along with its popularity comes controversy; black tea, milky tea, strong tea, Earl Grey tea, ‘Builder’s tea’ or sugary tea? It seems the list is endless but clearly important, as George Orwell discusses in an article from 1946;
“I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea-lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water”
The sacredness of tea is clearly not something Orwell is willing to compromise and I for one am not going to argue with him. Earl Grey tea with milk and no sugar if you’re offering!
Perhaps to avoid a caffeine overdose on a daily basis however, it is important to make sure as students we eat foods that are going to keep us full of beans (no pun intended). Here is an abridged list I’ve put together of energising food that will appeal more to the average student:
- Dark Chocolate
- Fresh Fruits e.g. blueberries, bananas...
Dickens, Charles. ‘Mrs Lirriper’s Legacy’ Extra Christmas Number, All The Year Round. 1 December 1864.
Orwell, George. ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’, Evening Standard, 12 January 1946.