There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. ~Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
Nothing is quite as relaxing as a cup of tea and a good book. It is one of my absolute favorite past times, especially on a rainy Saturday afternoon. I love getting lost in the pages of a book, immersing myself in a story. For me this is pure bliss. History or biography, fiction or non-fiction, sci-fi or romance, classic or contemporary – it doesn’t really matter, I’ll read them all. Call me crazy but I love a long British novel and a cup of tea (tea, Earl Grey, hot, if you’re a sci-fi geek like me you’ll get that reference) on a rainy day. Add a few cookies or some homemade shortbread and let it rain, let it rain.
Orange-Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Grated zest of one orange
- 1 teaspoon Earl Grey tea (approx. one tea bag)
- 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Heat oven to 325° F. Combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Blend in the orange zest, tea, and flour until smooth. Press into an 8-inch square baking pan, prick with a fork. Bake 30 minutes or just until the shortbread begins to turn golden. Cut into 9 squares, then cut each square into 2 triangles. Cool completely on a wire rack. Remove the shortbread cookies from the pan.
(I use a shortbread pan because I have one and I like the pretty pattern it makes)
Some of the most dear and most influential people in my life have been there because of literature. For that I will be eternally grateful. Excuse me for a moment while I thank them.
My Mom, who read me bedtime stories starting at a very early age and who took me to the library for arm loads of books. Thank you for introducing me to Beatrix Potter, Shel Silverstein, Judy Blume, the list could go on and on. Thank you for continuing to indulge me and challenge me in my literary journey.
My Dad, who drove me all around Richmond, Virginia showing me sites and buildings that Patricia Cornwell wrote about in her Scarpetta series. Thank you for helping me appreciate the scientific process. Since I’m an “artsy fartsy” person I’m sure that was quite a challenge! Love you and miss you Dad, Happy Father’s Day.
Mr. Brown, my 8th grade English teacher who introduced me to a world of poetry. Without you I wouldn’t have Whitman, Emerson and my favorite, Poe. It was many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea…
Mr. Gumerlock, my freshman English teacher who brought an entire class together with the world of John Steinbeck yet wasn’t afraid to challenge us with Julius Caesar. We shared a love of classic movies. You are missed sir. Love, your Mooresy Bug
Next to my Mom, my 11th and 12th grade English teacher, Mrs. Summers, had the most influence on my literary path. She opened up the world of Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Dickens and the whole British library. I will never be the same…
And lastly, but certainly not least, Dr. Murray my fellow Janeite. No one else I know gets as giddy about Jane Austen. If I had taken his novel class earlier in my college career I probably would have changed paths. I’ve still got that research paper in my back pocket, maybe one day you’ll read it as my thesis! Thank you for listening to my unconventional view of Mr. Darcy.
So true Mr. Lewis, so true…