|When you have a whistling kettle, or your water is at a
rolling boil in your sauce pan, empty the warm water from your tea pot.
Put a tea caddy spoon of loose tea (about a heaping tablespoon full) for each
person youre making tea for into the teapot, and this is important, one for the pot as
the boiling water over the tea, put the lid on your pot, and let it steep, on your warm
stove about five minutes.
Ah, hah - you thought I forgot about the tea
strainer, didn't you? Well, I did. So go get your tea strainer and when you're ready to
pour, strain the tea into the cups and serve with sugar cubes and milk. The lifted pinkie
fingers when you drink, the porcelain cups and saucers, and the hoity toity talk while you
enjoy the tea are all nice, but strictly optional!
Put the cozy over your tea pot to keep the
tea warm until ready to serve again. And, if you're thrifty (a nice way of saying you're
saving more expenses than spending income) like my mother and gran were, you'll save your
tea strainings for another pot later. It's still good tea. (This is when you go from
"brewed" tea to "stewed" tea!)
My Granny had a niece, Jinx Millar. Jinx'
husband, Dave, had a car - which was a rarity when I was growing up in Scotland. Dave
liked to go caravaning (which is trailer camping) and on occasion he would take us for a
little ride on some of Scotland's back roads within a day's drive of Dundee with him. I
always enjoyed when we would stop for a "bilie up." (No, this has nothing at all
to do with throwing up bile and being car sick!). A "bilie up" was the
obligatory stop for tea, brewed on the side of the road in a favorite tin can converted
strictly for the purpose of brewing tea. My mother and Granny were absolutely convinced
there was nothing better on the rare Summer day in Scotland than a good cup of hot tea!
My Granny and her greatniece waiting for the bilie up
Yin twa three
A mother catched a flea
we roasted it
and toasted it
and had it fur wur tea
Charlotte's Party Punch
(I made this up, too! And we always serve it at parties in
the German Castles on the Rhein punch bowl that I wanted so much in Germany and my dear
husband, John, bought for me just before we left in 1971).
2 quarts of lemonade
Add 2 quarts Sprite or 7 up
Include a good sized amount of citrus
sherbet, like orange, lime, lemon, etc. - raspberry and mango are really good, too.
Mix in to taste frozen strawberries,
raspberries, canned mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple, etc. Keep adding to the mix as
the partiers enjoy it. (This is a punch you drink with a spoon!)
If you're Mormon, leave it alone!
If you're not, let the rest of us know it's
Charlotte's Grape Juice
Putting those recipes in this book reminds me that I made
grape juice once when we lived in Paradise, California. I made grape jelly that year, too.
I remember borrowing the funnel, the sieve, buying the cheesecloth, getting the grapes at
a great price and doing just about everything that's in those recipes. That's why my
recommendation to you is if you want really, really great grape juice or grape jelly just
go to the store and buy Welch's.
Charlotte's Granny's Toddy
My Granny really was a tee-totaller, meaning she never drank
anything stronger than tea - except at Hogmanay when she brought in a couple of bottles of
Whitbread beer, maybe some Guinness stout, a bottle of sherry or Sandeman's port, and, of
course, my treat of a miniature bottle, all beautifully displayed on the sideboard with
the sausage rolls, the shortbread, the madeira cake, the black bun, the Strathspey cake,
and the Dundee cake. There was some lemonade and cordial, too, but their inclusion at
Hogmany was minor.
Anyhow, whenever we had colds or flu or respiratory ailmaints
(here I am working up to the medicinal part) there always seems to have been some whisky
available. My Granny's toddy, as I remember it, is a little hot water, a little sugar, and
a good measure of Scotland's finest. Much to my regret, that one dosage always knocked
whatever ailed me right out of my system.
I remember one year in Phoenix I felt really miserable with
flu and was looking for anything to help me feel better. I had some Theraflu (which
I knew was good for flu) and also some whisky (which I remembered as also good for flu) in
the house. Made perfect sense to me that two "goods" just had to make a
"very good." So, I made up my Granny's toddy and added in a little Theraflu. I
think I was out for two days! Don't believe I've had the flu since - but neither do I
believe I'll use this remedy again be it on man, or woman or child or beast!!
New England Rose Hip Syrup
I've never made this, but am putting in our book, anyhow. My
mother and Gran would buy this in the winters in Scotland and give it to me by the
tablespoonful to keep me happy and healthy. I can't imagine me ever making this recipe,
but I'm thinking lots of happy memories by just doing this typing.
2 lbs rose hips (ripe and red)
Water to cover
1lb 2 oz granulated sugar
Wash the hips thoroughly and put into a large
aluminum saucepan. Cover well with cold water (measure the amount necessary). Bring to a
boil. Simmer about 10 minutes, or until tender. Mash well with a wooden masher. Put into a
jelly bag and squeeze out as much juice as possible. Return the pulp to the pan and add as
much cold water as before. Bring to a boil and simmer 5-10 minutes. Put back into the
jelly bag and squeeze again. Discard the pulp. Mix the two lots of juice and pour into a
clean jelly bag. Allow to drip into a clean pan overnight. Boil the juice down until only
3 cups of it remain. Add the sugar. Stir until dissolved. Boil for 5 minutes, skimming if
necessary. Pour into sterilized bottles at once and seal or cork.
By the way, the happy memories I'm having are
also about "itchy coos." In the fall we would go to the country and gather
"conkers" and "itchy coo's." Conkers are horse chestnuts. We would
take them home and string them together on very strong string. Sometimes we would coat
them in varnish to make them hard. Then, armed with a string of conkers we would go off
looking off for other conkers to conquer - pun absolutely intended. Conkers was played by
one person holding up one conker by the string, so that there was about a 6" length
of string between your fingers and your conker. The other person would then aim his or her
conker at yours in an attempt to split it and break it off the string. Every child knew
their conkers just like a golfer knows his clubs and I remember having some really great
strings of up to 20 conkers as a child - plus the half shells of the victims I had destroyed!
I liked that game. But I liked a lot of "boys" games - like conkers, marbles,
playing war, going to the old tenements and jumping along the roofs of the air raid
shelters. What's that, you ask? Well, air raid shelters were long, narrow, cement
buildings about 6 or 7 feet high and about 3-4 feet apart. We would just climb up on those
flat cement roofs and chase one another along them. I remember the Dundee housewives
yelling at us all the time to get off and not hurt ourselves. (None of us ever got hurt,
though, other than when our mothers found out.) These shelters were remnants of WWII and
ended up as either storage places for the sanitarily inclined or as pits of filth and muck
for us kids to explore and hide and have a great time. We could never play at our tenement
because my ever vigilant Granny did such a great job chasing us away.
Anyhow, back to the itchy coos. This was more
of a victim game. Those rose hip seeds are really, really, itchy. Out by my school at the
Ninewells were the very best itchy coo bushes. All you did was gather these berries and
keep them in your possession until some victim happened to pass by. It was quite an easy
thing to split the berry open and drop the seeds down the back of your victim's neck. This
was really fun early in the morning on a school day when your victim couldn't go home to
change. I liked that game, and played it all through my years at the Harris.
About age 15, in front of our air raid shelter
at Hill Street