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Sydney, Australia
My musings and meanderings on childhood - mine juxtaposed with that of my kids'. Everyday incidents and images from our life in Sydney turn my thoughts towards my own wonder years growing up in Bandra, Bombay, India.

03 June 2013

To a T(ea)

Pic courtesy: Amanda M.
Recently, Caitlyn's school was auctioning off a pretty tea cosy to raise funds for breast cancer.
"What's a tea cosy, mum?" asked Caitlyn.
"A tea cosy is a cover for a teapot. It keeps the tea inside from getting cold," I answered, showing her pictures of them on (where else?) Google Images.
"Ohhhh, it's like a blankie or jacket for the teapot!" she exclaimed.
It then struck me that Caitlyn - like most kids of her generation - has never seen people around her use a teapot, let alone a tea cosy.

After all, her mum is one of those strange people who doesn't drink tea or coffee. And when B wants his morning cuppa, he just boils water in the electric kettle, scoops some loose-leaf tea into a tea ball (none of that teabag nonsense for this Indian!) and lets it steep in a cup. A splash of milk later, and it's tea-time...

B's tea this morning

But in the olden days, tea was brewed the old-fashioned way.
Since my dad always woke up at cock crow, his job was to make the tea before the rest of the household arose. There was a separate 'tea chatty' (vessel) in which he would bring the water to a vigourous boil. Then he would add the tea leaves (Orange Pekoe from 'Coin Tea') and sugar. Once it had steeped for a few minutes, the milk was added. (Milk came in glass bottles with silver and blue striped aluminium foil covers - but that's another story.)
Dad then poured this tea into a teapot which was covered with a blue tea cosy - one that had been hand-embroidered by my Nana.

I like to think the aroma of freshly brewed tea wafting through the house woke up my Nana, mum and the rest of the Pereira household. Well, except for my cousin, Wen - nothing, not even his incessantly ringing alarm clock, could rouse him out of his slumber.

We would all sit around the old wooden table in the 'back room', eating gutlis or chappatis slathered with jam and Amul butter - and the teapot with its tea cosy would take pride of place at the centre of it all.

Are you a tea- or coffee-drinker? What's your favourite brew - chai? mocha? latte? herbal tea? Did your family ever use a teapot or tea cosy?


  1. I love my tea pot and tea cosy and use them all the time. Even bought old tea cups and saucers the other day - so much more delicate than a mug! I grew up having a cup of tea with my Mum and now my 7 year old loves a cup too, so lets pass the love on. Also have 3 varieties of coffee at home - a caffeine addiction!

    1. Joc, whatever you do, you do it in style and with gusto! Big thanks for posting on my blog.

  2. Thanks Al for bringing back lovely memories through your blog. Those were good uncomplicated days for sure.

    1. Thanks Noeline! The past always looks so good in hindsight...

  3. I love the whole ritual of tea and making a cup of tea and I drink a lot of it. I also love tea cosies and have a very small collection of them :)

    1. Hi Lorraine,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to post a comment on my blog. Coming from you, it means a lot! (In case you're wondering, you made my day. OK, OK, I'll stop gushing.)
      I've been following NQN for a while now but hardly ever comment - I never have anything wise or witty to say. But I do try out your recipes (Pulled Pork and poached pears only last week)and live vicariously through all the little cafes you review.
      I've just put up a post on Guava Jelly. Have you ever tried it??
      Thanks again!

  4. Nice one Ally, I miss the old days! I must admit I do have a cute Chinese tea set which I use for my herbal teas (though it makes a good display item for the most part):D

    1. I know what you mean, Mona. I love to buy all these "olden day" items but have to stop myself - when will we ever use them? But they look so pretty and bring back so many memories...
      Alison x

  5. i still have my tea the old fashioned way, but i have not bought a teapot or tea cozzies, have to buy that soon


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