At the back of the hill

Warning: May contain traces of soy, wheat, lecithin and tree nuts. That you are here
strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton.
And that you might like cheese-doodles.
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Friday, July 13, 2018


Having napped nearly till the closing time of bars in San Francisco, there was no opportunity to go hang out in front of the neighborhood pub I favour with my pipe and some fine Virginia tobacco. So I made do with a Sumatra Panalito from Hajenius and low-grade Scotch whisky in the kitchen, before heading to the teevee room and switching on my computer.

On the CNBC website I read: "The significance of a meeting with the British monarch at Windsor Castle is that Trump follows in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan in 1982, Geroge W. Bush in 2008 and Barack Obama in 2016."

Geroge? Geroge? Oh well, Misspellings are common nowadays, ever since Doland Prumt made them acceptable again. And CNBC will have probably corrected their article by the time you read this.

The true significance of tea with the queen is that she has a long history of putting up with cretins in the interests of diplomacy. Mobutu (1973), Bob Mugabe (1994), and Basher Al Assad (2002), among others.
Some real right bastards.

But the key thing is the tea. For the benefit of those readers who are slope-browed illiterates in the red states, I should explain that tea has acquired mythic stature since an anarchist mob dumped it into the harbour.


English style: Rinse the pot with boiling water, then add a copious amount of Ceylon, Darjeeling, Assam, Kenya, or a blend of black teas to the pot. Pour in boiling or nearly boiling water, of which you should keep an equal measure hot and handy in a separate vessel. Steep for five minutes.
Pour, and dilute as required. Add milk OR sugar.
Both, if you rebel against convention.
Perhaps eat a slice of cake.
Cucumber sandwich.

Indian Style: Boil mediocre tea leaves with cardamom and one or two other spices. In parts of Gujarat, that might be peppercorns. Ginger is universally loved, a stick of cinnamon is common, northerners add fennel. Add milk and sugar, decant to a cup and saucer, OR a stainless steel beaker.

Hong Kong Style: Fill a handled cloth sleeve with a blend of rose black, Ceylon, and perhaps Keemun or Yunnan Gold Tips. Simmer for twenty minutes. Pull the sleeve out and lower it back in to the liquid several times during this process to release the very fine particles into the brew that contribute so much to mouth-feel. Keep on low heat throughout the day (four hours, then you'll probably have to make another pot). Add a measure of sweetened condensed milk when pouring into a cup.
Have with an egg-tart, charsiu turnover.
Or porkchop on spaghetti.

American Style. Dump a bag into lukewarm water.
Eat a gluten-free blueberry kale muffin.

I-Hsing pot/ Kung Fu tea: Take a red or purple stoneware pot smaller than your hand, fill three quarters full with semi-fermented tea leaves. Pour water which is just barely not boiling into the pot, drain after roughly a minute. This washes and expands the leaves, and warms the pot. Then add more water of same temperature definition to the pot, steep for a minute, pour into small bowls, and sip. Four to eight steepings are possible, each one longer than the previous. All of you will be wired afterwards.

Because the pot is unglazed it will acquire both colour and a contributive flavour over years of use.

Southern Style. Steep one teabag in several gallons of water. Remove the bag and pour in pounds of sugar. Serve over ice.

Starbucks/Chain Coffee Bar style. Chant mantras, add unicorn powder.

Personally, I prefer Hong Kong milk-tea, although both the English and Indian brews make me quite happy. And regarding I-Hsing teapots, my modest collection (around thirty exemplars) reflects good taste, generally speaking. Some of them are antiques, a few are modern, mostly with a bamboo motif in the decoration or shaping. One or two are vulgar and pretentious.

On a daily basis I dump Pu Er Chrysanthemum teabags from Foo Joy into a mug of boiling water five or six times a day. It keeps me wired and hydrated while dealing with people.
I need that.

Second Dutch cigar, at 4:21 AM: Sumatra Tuitknakje from Oud Kampen.

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