I happen to be enjoying my afternoon cup of tea as I write this, which inspired me to create an Afternoon Tea Edition of Dishing It Up this month. My afternoon tea ritual involves:
- tea (obviously and always),
- a treat (on occasion, though I seem to be finding more occasions as the pandemic wears on)
- and usually some food porn (either in print or on video) to spark kitchen creativity.
Rarely, it evolves into an afternoon nap. So, with my ritual as my guide, please sip, savour (and hopefully don’t snooze through) this Afternoon Tea Edition of Dishing It Up.
The Afternoon Tea Edition
- Science Reveals Why Tea Is Good for Your Heart
- Bake like it’s 1869 with Grainstorm
- ‘Buttergate’ goes viral
- Cook, Eat, Repeat
- The science of siestas
A bite-sized summary and links for each story …
Science Reveals Why Tea Is Good for Your Heart
“If a nice hot cup of tea sounds good to you, there’s even more reason to enjoy one now. Scientists have gained new insight into how tea helps lower blood pressure …. The researchers found that certain compounds in both black and green tea help relax blood vessels by activating ion channel proteins in the walls of blood vessels.” As you know, Mega Matcha is my morning ritual. But right now I’m enjoying my new fave afternoon cuppa, Coco Rose Earl Grey, which promises to “transform your daily cup of tea into a goddess-worthy ritual.” How can you resist?
Bake like it’s 1869 with Grainstorm
The ritual of Afternoon Tea was introduced in 1840 by The Duchess of Bedford. Typically, scones are on the menu. Today, I’m baking like it’s 1869 with Grainstorm’s Ancient Grain Muffin Mix, made with spelt, kamut and oats. They also have a Rustic Cookie Mix and, for more of a proper afternoon tea, an Old Scottish Oat Scone Mix [UPDATE 03/23: it appears they no longer offer this mix for sale]. Grainstorm hand-makes their mixes in Ontario’s Mennonite farm country using old-fashioned organic Canadian grains milled “the old-fashioned way: slow and cool, coarse and whole, between two slabs of Carolina granite”. These didn’t make it into my Top 10 Timesavers in the Kitchen post since they’re treats but they’re handy when you feel like fresh home baking with minimal fuss. And their Ancient Grain Pancake Mix is the best I have ever come across.
See how easy it is to bake like it’s 1869…
‘Buttergate’ goes viral
Of course you can’t have a freshly baked muffin or scone without a pat of butter melting deliciously atop the split halves. But these days your butter might not be melting so easily. A “Calgary-based food writer [Julie Van Rosendaal] has been in the eye of a media frenzy since she started spreading the news about palm fat supplements creeping into the Canadian butter supply through cow feed.” These palm oil supplements appear to be making butter harder than usual at room temperature. They are also churning up a lot of debate on the purity of Canadian butter and whether it’s fatty acid profile has changed. It’s gone viral. Julie even got a tweet about it from UK Domestic Goddess Nigella Lawson.
Cook, Eat, Repeat
While cook, eat, repeat could be a description of my life these days, I’m actually referring to my current food porn. Circling back to Nigella Lawson, it’s the title of her newest book. It’s due for Canadian release in April but a friend gave me a UK copy at Christmas. Her compilation of “ingredients, recipes and stories” is delectable and as enjoyable to read as to cook from. A photo of her Fish Finger Bhorta graces the Canadian cover. Only Nigella could tempt me to try a recipe with fish fingers as an ingredient. You can view her making the recipe here. She tells us, “I believe that the kitchen can be both a sanctuary and a pleasure palace”. My kitchen is often my sanctuary but it will need a major reno to become my pleasure palace.
Fans of Nigella can pre-order a copy here…
The science of siestas
Do you snooze in the afternoon? New research reveals there is a genetic basis for daytime napping. The team has “identified genes associated with sleep duration, insomnia, and the tendency to be an early riser or ‘night owl’.” They also “uncovered preliminary evidence linking napping habits to cardiometabolic health.”
Read more …
Perhaps, after reading this, you’d like to splash out on your own proper English Afternoon Tea. If so, here are some Toronto takeaway options from:
- the posh Windsor Arms Afternoon Tea at Home
- to the sublime Shangri-La Hotel Afternoon Tea
- to the rather unorthodox AGO Disco Tea Menu.
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