Talking of teas that take after traybakes, today’s is called Caramel Shortbread. This comes on the heels of yesterday’s Mulled Wine, and achieves a slightly better result. The tea is herbal, and the overwhelming taste is of caramel. For those keeping track at home, nuts, raisins, and sultanas don’t diffuse well in tea. One thing this does do, though is establish very well the biscuity taste that a good caramel shortbread has.
The best caramel shortbread, by the by, doesn’t have a shortbread base. It’s much better with a biscuit base; it crumbles less and balances the sweetness better. The tea tastes of this sort of biscuit. It’s not rich and buttery like a shortbread. We’re experts on this, you understand, since Millionaire’s Shortbread, which was the posh name for this traybake over in Britain, was our traybake of choice. We used to order it from the cafe we frequented in the years before peppermint squares. About this time of year we’d go in and order a slice, and a pot of tea. The tea would arrive in a teapot that defied the laws of physics and distributed the tea anywhere but in the cup, and was accompanied by a pot of hot water. That one had a workable spout.
In light of all that, here’s Andrew Lang on St. Andrews Bay. It’s not the obvious poem of his, or even one we know terribly well. But for an accurate description of a wintry sea, look no further.
St Andrews Bay
Ah, listen through the music, from the shore,
The ‘melancholy long-withdrawing roar’;
Beneath the Minster, and the windy caves,
The wide North Ocean, marshalling his waves
Even so forlorn–in worlds beyond our ken –
May sigh the seas that are not heard of men;
Even so forlorn, prophetic of man’s fate,
Sounded the cold sea-wave disconsolate,
When none but God might hear the boding tone,
As God shall hear the long lament alone,
When all is done, when all the tale is told,
And the gray sea-wave echoes as of old!
This was the burden of the Night,
The saying of the sea,
But lo! the hours have brought the light,
The laughter of the waves, the flight
Of dipping sea-birds, foamy white,
That are so glad to be!
‘Forget!’ the happy creatures cry,
‘Forget Night’s monotone,
With us be glad in sea and sky,
The days are thine, the days that fly,
The days God gives to know him by,
And not the Night alone!’