So, today in the UK we are celebrating National Tea Day which is, arguably, the single best celebration for the time we currently find ourselves in. What could be better than staying at home with a cuppa and a nice slice of cake? Very British, of course, but I like to think wherever you are in the world, you can partake of the ritual, and I’m not going to enforce ‘tea’ as the beverage of the day. Coffee, hot chocolate, gin and tonic, anything that you can pair with a slice of cake or a bun or a doughnut… whatever, indeed, takes your fancy.
A cuppa and a slice of cake is a pause. You’re allowed not to be doing anything else. If you’re with people, you can have a nice conversation; if you’re alone, you can just think your thoughts, emulate me and read a highbrow book (Blakes 7 Annual 1980), or write something profound in your journal. You can, of course, take a snapshot of your cuppa and cake and post it on Instagram. The pause is yours to do with whatever you will.
My cuppa is good old Yorkshire Tea* which is fitting since it was an e-mail from Bettys of Harrogate which alerted me last week to the fact that today is National Tea Day and suggested I might like to make a Tea Loaf to celebrate. They even supplied a recipe, but I didn’t need that because I had my family recipe for Tea Loaf and all the required ingredients to hand. I have noticed that the two Tea Loaves I have made since I moved flat have been rather paler than I am used to – I think it might be to do with having a more efficient oven now; either that, or the dark brown sugar I’m using isn’t as dark brown as it could be. It still tastes good, though, which is the important thing. Our family Tea Loaf recipe states that it will improve if kept for a few days before cutting, and this is true. Thus, I made mine last Friday rather than doing a fresh one today.
Although I don’t live in Yorkshire, I do have connections there as my mum was from York and some of my dad’s family also lived there. As children, we used to stay a few days with my maternal grandparents at Easter and I still have lovely memories of their house and of walks along the Bar Walls with the daffodils dancing below. As far as I can recall, we didn’t shop at Bettys, but one of the regular treats we did enjoy were Yorkshire Curd Tarts and Bettys now sell these in their online shop. They still count as an occasional treat, but it’s good to be able to buy them when the craving gets too much.
So, wishing you a very happy National Tea Day, or just Tuesday if you don’t care for tea and cake (although, if that is the case, you have my commisations).
*Yorkshire Tea is part of the umbrella company that includes Bettys’ tearooms and online shop.