|Chinese teapot. |
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
|Ingredients for Tea with Eggs. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach|
In these parts he saith, we let the hot water remain too long soaking upon the tea, which makes it extract into it self the earthy parts of the herb. The water is to remain upon it no longer then whiles you can say the Miserere Psalm very leisurely. Then pour upon it the Sugar, or Sugar and Eggs. Thus you have only the spiritual parts of the Tea, which is more active, penetrative, and friendly to nature. You may for this regard take a little more of the herb; about one dram of Tea will serve for a pint of water; which makes three ordinary draughts. – from The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digby, Kt., Opened, 1677.
England, 17th century.
I purchased some Congou tea from Deborah Peterson's Pantry, now Dobbins & Martin, an 18th century reenactor's supplier. The recipe calls for about 1 dram of Tea per pint of water. A pint is 2 cups, and a dram is 60 grains in weight, or 1/8 oz., or about ¾ tsp. This is weaker than I tend to make my tea (about 1 tsp. per cup of water). I also tend to drink my tea unsweetened, or very lightly sweetened; however, looking at lots of 17th and 18th century recipes showed that people liked their food (and drink) very highly sweetened, so I used 4 teaspoons of sugar to sweeten the pint of tea, which is more than I would add, in general, but probably much less than would have been usual in the period. With those conversions made, I made the tea, boiling the water, then measuring the tea into the teapot and pouring 2 cups of boiling water on it. I timed myself reading the Miserere (Psalm 51) from the Book of Common Prayer, 1666:
According to the multitude of Thy mercies do away mine offences.
Wash me throughly from my wickedness: and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my faults: and my sin is ever before me.
Against Thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified in Thy saying, and clear when Thou art judged.
Behold, I was shapen in wickedness: and in sin hath my mother conceived me.
But lo, Thou requirest truth in the inward parts: and shalt make me to understand wisdom secretly.
Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness: that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice.
Turn Thy face from my sins: and put out all my misdeeds.
Make me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence: and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
O give me the comfort of Thy help again: and stablish me with Thy free Spirit.
Then shall I teach Thy ways unto the wicked: and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.
Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, Thou that art the God of my health: and my tongue shall sing of Thy righteousness.
Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord: and my mouth shall shew Thy praise.
For Thou desirest no sacrifice, else would I give it Thee: but Thou delightest not in burnt-offerings.
The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt Thou not despise.
O be favourable and gracious unto Sion: build Thou the walls of Jerusalem.
Then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifice of righteousness, with the burnt-offerings and oblations: then shall they offer young bullocks upon Thine altar."
Less than 5 minutes (not including time for the water to boil).
|Tea with Eggs. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach|
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