Practice Makes Perfect.
P.S.: I got this mini t-shirt printed when my website was still mylifeintranslation.net.
I really enjoyed reading (and translating) this article for the English Language and Translation course I’m attending. It was first published on the Evening Standard on January 12, 1946.
George Orwell – A Nice Cup of Tea
If you look up “tea” in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points.
This is curious, not only because tea is one of the mainstays of civilisation in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.
When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer than eleven outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden:
First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays—it is economical, and one can drink it without milk—but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who uses that comforting phrase “a nice cup of tea” invariably means Indian tea. Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities—that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britannia-ware pots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse: though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad. Thirdly, the pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water. Fourthly, the tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right. In a time of rationing this is not an idea that can be realised on every day of the week, but I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than 20 weak ones. All true tea-lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes—a fact which is recognised in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners. Fifthly, the tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea. In some countries teapots are fitted with little dangling baskets under the spout to catch the stray leaves, which are supposed to be harmful. Actually one can swallow tea-leaves in considerable quantities without ill effect, and if the tea is not loose in the pot it never infuses properly. Sixthly, one should take the teapot to the kettle and not the other way about.
The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours. Some people add that one should only use water that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that this makes any difference. Seventhly, after making the tea, one should stir it, or better, give the pot a good shake, afterwards allowing the leaves to settle. Eighthly, one should drink out of a breakfast cup—that is the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one’s tea is always half cold before one has well started on it. Ninthly, one should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste. Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.
Lastly, tea—unless one is drinking it in the Russian style—should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea-lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.
Some people would answer that they don’t like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need sugar to take the taste away. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.
These are not the only controversial points that arise in connection with tea-drinking, but they are sufficient to show how subtilised the whole business has become. There is also the mysterious social etiquette surrounding the teapot (why is it considered vulgar to drink out of your saucer, for instance?) and much might be written about the subsidiary uses of tea-leaves, such as telling fortunes, predicting the arrival of visitors, feeding rabbits, healing burns and sweeping the carpet. It is worth paying attention to such details as warming the pot and using water that is really boiling, so as to make quite sure of wringing out of one’s ration the twenty good, strong cups that two ounces, properly handled, ought to represent.
Yes, experimenting. I always watched my parents cooking and it was thanks to them that I learned some recipes. I’d like to improve my cooking skills more and more. I like watching TV shows like “La Prova del Cuoco” (basically, the Italian version of the BBC show “Ready Steady Cook”) in which they show you how to make some recipes, even if some of them are too difficult for me now (you know, they’re presented by pro cooks/chefs!).
I read this recipe (Yogurt cake with chocolate chips) for the first time a year or two ago, and I immediately thought “I’d like to make it someday.” I made it on the 30th, last Wednesday and, trust me, it came out really good! I baked another yogurt cake before this one, but I didn’t like the recipe at all. It was a chocolate yogurt cake, and there wasn’t enough chocolate, in my opinion. The quantity of cocoa reported in the recipe was enough to give the cake a brownish colour, but the cake didn’t taste like chocolate at all.
I decided to share the translated recipe of the first cake I talked about with you…
Yogurt Cake with Chocolate Chips
Grease a cake pan with butter, add some flour and then (when ready) pour the mixture into it and bake at 180° C (355 F) for 35-40 minutes.
Just to stay on topic, have you noticed today’s Google logo? It celebrates the 119th anniversary of the sundae (and today’s even a Sunday LOL).
I wasn’t tagged by anyone, but I’m doing this anyway. Down below this sentence you’ll find the rules for this meme followed up by my answers!
What you cannot choose. The Rules are Simple
We all know that blogging/facebook/twitter is in our arena of what we like to do, so I am going to rule them out as one of the 5 that you can post about. They really are not very girly. Likewise, phones, computers, ipads are all out of the running. I am challenging myself to this, as I am really not a girly girly type of person, and I want to find that within myself. It’s not all about power suits, filofaxes, ipads and designer phones.
If you want to pass this along, pick bloggers that you want to find out more about, and challenge them to write up their 5 secret passions that make them feel good. The idea is to lift our spirits this week. The fact that there is a linky added, just makes it all the more worthwhile in doing.
OK, here we go…
1) Polymer clay. I love making jewelry and tiny objects with polymer clay. I mostly use Fimo and Cernit. After giving polymer clay the shape you want, you cook it in the oven, and then your creations are ready. My creations include charms, earrings, decorations, etc. I’ve had this hobby since April 2010, and I got into it thanks to a university friend of mine.
2) English Language and Translation. If you know me well, you wouldn’t be surprised after reading this. I’ve been studying English since I was 11, even if I started listening to songs in English when I was 8. This language, the same language I’m writing this blog post in, isn’t only my second language, but also a love, a passion, an obsession of mine. I use English every day, even in my spare time. As far as translation is concerned, the way something can be said in another language fascinates me. I studied Translation & Interpreting when I was an undergraduate student, and I definitely don’t regret this choice!
3) Music. I listen to almost all kinds of music. I like pop, hip-hop, techno, rock, 80s/90s music and dance. Music is part of my everyday life.
4) Cosmetics. I don’t wear too much make-up, but I’m into eye shadows. I like gray, pink, green and blue shades the most. Sometimes I even use mascara and kajal. On my lips I like pink lipstick, lip balm or lipgloss. I also love nail polish! The brands I use the most are Kiko, Pupa, Essence, Deborah and Debby.
5) Glee. I’ve been a fan of this TV show from the very first episode. I watch it in both English and Italian, and I’m looking forward to watching tomorrow’s episode, because I’ve waited two weeks for it! My favourite characters are Will, Emma, Mercedes and Kurt. I listen to Glee Cast versions of famous songs, and sometimes they’re even better than the originals!
(I found this meme on Caity.nu)