Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Drink Warm Thoughts

Freezing. Cold. Really, really cold.

On the plus side, I'm spending more time indoors so I have time to blog. On the minus side, I have to go outside to haul water to the buffalo thrice daily. Back on the plus side, being out in the dry, frigid air inspires me to drink lots of hot tea with milk from my Frigidaire. OK, it's a Whirlpool, but I couldn't resist the rhyme.

Ever since I first went to England as a junior in college, I have loved strong black tea with milk. Hot tea managed to cut through the cold and damp in a way nothing else could while the milk added a soothing element. Even now that Jim has hooked me on coffee, my first and last cup of the day still has to be tea. But it was the memory of many a petit déjeuner in France that left me longing for something better than a cup or mug from which to slurp the steamy goodness.

Thanks to winning a giveaway on the blog A Spicy Perspective, I was finally able to acquire the necessary vessel. A Pillivyut drinking bowl. OK, the CSN store whose gift certificate I won calls it a coffee bowl but I consider it an all-purpose drinking bowl. 

I have such fond memories of dunking my toasted bread into my bowl of Thé Éléphant. Although it took a little adjustment, it wasn't long before I was buttering my toast and dunking it like the locals even if it meant a weird oil slick would develop on the top. Nowadays, I'm content to deal with the soggy crumbs in the bottom of the bowl but don't really see the need for butter.

And then there's the matter of dunking into hot chocolate.

Sheer heaven. Makes for a great late afternoon snack.

Actually, I have been preparing for this moment for a long time. Years ago, I went on a hunt for a toaster that could accommodate a sufficiently long piece of bread (preferably a big hunk of baguette sliced in half). It took quite awhile, but eventually Jim found a Cuisinart that was perfect: just one very long slot that can handle wide slices. Ours is too well-loved at this stage to be photographed nicely and I can't seem to find a picture online, so use your imagination.

I'm not sure why I'm so enamored of drinking tea and cocoa this way. Maybe it's just nostalgia for France or that little thrill that comes from drinking out of a bowl when you were raised to believe that it's not proper to do so. And for you cafe au lait drinkers, this is the best. Not into hot beverages? Then put your cereal in and slurp up the extra milk when you're done.

Now for my next quest: authentic French cider bowls. Sure, I could use the same bowls (it's basically the same shape) but I have my heart set on a very rustic-looking cider bowl (preferably one that says "cidre") from Normandy or Bretagne. I can see the Platonic ideal of cider bowl in my mind but have yet to find one that I can order online. Perhaps we'll have to take a trip to France so that we can learn to make their distinctive style of cider and pick up the necessary accoutrements in person.

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