Thursday, November 24, 2016

Virginia Heath: Lost in Translation?

This week I am heading back to the USA. A country I love and have visited many times. And will continue to. Top of my bucket list is to visit every single one of the 50 states. As a Brit, American culture is so interchangeable with ours that in many ways it is a home from home.


There are certain things about the Land of the Free that baffle me and only one which truly makes me mad. The tea.

Proper tea- made with tea leaves. The words on the mug are true!
Tea is our national drink. It is the perfect accompaniment to gossip, happiness, sadness and fatigue. It gives us Brits something to cling to if people insist on discussing uncomfortable topics like feelings. We start and end our day with the stuff. If a typical human is 65% water, then your average Brit would be at least 50% tea. There is nothing worse than a bad cuppa. A brit will tolerate poor service stoically, choke down a plate of bad food in a restaurant without complaint- but serve us a weak, lukewarm brew and expect terse words.
American tea is alien. Everything about it is wrong. If you ask for tea in a restaurant you get given a cup of tepid water with a teabag on the side.

When it should be immersed in that water.
If you dunk said bag of dust, masquerading as tea, into the water, at best you get a beige drink when every Brit knows tea is a beautiful, steaming, golden brown! Hotels are worse. They expect you to make tea in a c-c-coffee machine. Just typing those words makes my blood boil. And seriously, do not get me started on the practice of providing coffee creamer when you ask for milk… it is a Traves-tea. No wonder everyone in the states drinks coffee.

But fear not, I would ever allow something as petty as a simple hot drink to put me off my American adventures. I am prepared. Proper English teabags and my trusty travel kettle are already packed in my suitcase- once I get stateside, the very first thing I am buying is milk! And I still love the USA...

Happy Thanksgiving!
Virginia Heath writes witty, fast-paced Regency romantic comedies with a modern twist for Harlequin Historical and Mills & Boon.
Her latest novel, The Discerning Gentleman's Guide, out now.
You can find her on Facebook and Twitter or in a tea shop somewhere.

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