Oggi, se fosse vissuto così a lungo, George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair all’anagrafe), nato in India il 25 giugno 1903, compirebbe 111 anni: non una cifra tonda, d’accordo, ma comunque una cifra triangolare.
Facciamo così: prima ve ne faccio un riassunto/traduzione in italiano, poi ve le andate a leggere in inglese (se vi va):
- Tè indiano, o di Ceylon , non cinese
- In piccole quantità (in una teiera, non in un’urna)
- Scaldate la teiera, prima
- Il tè deve essere forte (5-6 cucchiaini per un litro d’acqua)
- Il tè va messo direttamente nella teiera: niente filtri metallici o di mussola
- Portate la teiera vicina al bollitore, e non viceversa: altrimenti l’acqua si raffredda, di poco ma non impercettibilmente
- A questo punto, mescolate una sola volta, o meglio date una bella scossa alla teiera, poi lasciate che le foglie si posino
- Bevetelo da una tazza cilindrica
- Latte sì, ma senza la nauseante panna
- Prima il tè, dopo il latte
- Lo zucchero mai: non siete russi.
Ed ecco l’originale:
First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.
Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities — that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britannia ware teapots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse; though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad.
Thirdly, the pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water.
Fourthly, the tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right. In a time of rationing, this is not an idea that can be realized on every day of the week, but I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones. All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes — a fact which is recognized in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners.
Fifthly, the tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea. In some countries teapots are fitted with little dangling baskets under the spout to catch the stray leaves, which are supposed to be harmful. Actually one can swallow tea-leaves in considerable quantities without ill effect, and if the tea is not loose in the pot it never infuses properly.
Sixthly, one should take the teapot to the kettle and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours. Some people add that one should only use water that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that it makes any difference.
Seventhly, after making the tea, one should stir it, or better, give the pot a good shake, afterwards allowing the leaves to settle.
Eighthly, one should drink out of a good breakfast cup — that is, the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one’s tea is always half cold before one has well started on it.
Ninthly, one should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste.
Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.
Lastly, tea — unless one is drinking it in the Russian style — should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea-lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.
E ricordate: «ha ben piccole foglie, la pianta del tè.»
Questo post, senza nessuna ragione recondita al mondo, salvo un traboccamento di liberalità e simpatia, è dedicato ad Annalisa C.