A ‘Spot of Tea!’

I’d like to start this blog post with a shout-out to Nada, one of my international subscribers from England!  It was great to see you and I hope that New York was a blast!  One of the things (besides Baby George and the Royal Family) that Nada and I were talking about while she was visiting the U.S. was tea of course!  So straight from the heart of Great Britain, here’s a summary of the British tea tradition, directly from the source:

Interestingly, whenever someone mentions tea in England, it’s assumed that they are referring to English breakfast tea.  Nearly 100% of the tea comes from tea bags, and only a fraction of tea that is consumed is loose tea.  In fact, all of the loose tea, and all bagged tea (except for English breakfast tea) is referred to as herbal tea.  Also, British citizens take their tea with a dash of sugar and milk.  In contrast with America, it is not common for British citizens to take their tea with honey.  One could definitely make the argument that the popularity of tea in England is equivalent to the popularity of coffee in the United States- both countries enjoy their respective beverages all day, every day!

Do you enjoy your tea bagged, or do you prefer loose tea?  Do you have a favorite type of tea?  Let me know!

Thanks Nada!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Bienvenue et Bon Appétit!

I’m back from Quebec, and I had such an awesome time!  It’s such an interesting place, both historically and culturally, and I must say that their approach to food was really something that struck me while I was visiting.  I found Quebec to be a ‘cityless’ city, and I mean that in the most complimentary way.  All of the stereotypes that one may have of a city- aggressive driving, incessant honking of taxis’ horns, sky high buildings, treeless scenery, and industrial complexes did not hold true in Quebec.  While the city was bustling, its constant activity didn’t mean that everybody was rushing around, busily trying to get to the next destination or see the next sight.  In fact, the entire place exuded a relaxed, laid-back type of vibe, that carried through to the dinner table at every restaurant we ate at.  

One of the aspects of the dining experience that stood out most to me was how the locals didn’t treat mealtime like it was something to get through, but rather something to savor.  Therefore, the servers and the guests took their time with one another.  Unlike so many restaurants I’ve been to in America, in Canada the servers wouldn’t immediately clear away dishes or approach a table as soon as guests had finished their meals.  Instead, they’d wait a while, as it was expected that the guests would chat amongst themselves for a while or scan the menu again before moving on to the next course.

Also, the sizes of the restaurants in Quebec were absolutely petite compared to their American counterparts, and on average, could occupy at most 30 to 40 people.  When I think about American restaurant chains, these Canadian eateries were literal holes in the wall.  In staying true with the theme of small spaces, the portion sizes in Quebec were satisfying, but did not leave me with the feeling of being absolutely stuffed.  Interestingly, even soda was provided in a slender glass bottle- no cans, and none of the patrons I saw ever asked for more than one soda throughout the duration of their meal.  As a side note, the glass soda bottles were something else- and I was ‘that tourist’ who asked the waiter if I could take mine home!  

In addition, a lot more time elapsed in Canada from the time food was ordered to the time it was delivered than it does in America.  Everything was made to order, and was super fresh- no processed, microwavable, or frozen foods served in any of the restaurants, it was all homemade.  However, there were plenty of options if you didn’t want to eat out, but none of which included large commercial grocery stores.  The grocery stores didn’t boast dozens of aisles and hundreds of square feet, and also didn’t carry the processed foods that are so prevalent in the USA.  

Quebec itself smelled like a garden… gorgeous flowering trees and bushes, along with exquisite bouquets in full bloom all decorated the city.  A lovely fruit and vegetable garden covered the expanse of the Parliament Building, which I thought was really an awesome use of space.  And I can’t not talk about the desserts, (oh my gosh!) the French Macaroons were so delicious.  At the end of the vacation, I left wishing that there were bakeries in walking distance of my house… sigh.

Have you been to Quebec?  If so, what did you notice about the culture and the food?  Let me know!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂