Thursday, 17 January 2013

Tae, Kettles & Mortal Sins

Me pal called. And rather than his usual habit of going straight to the beer fridge and claiming a cold can of the beer of heaven he asked for a cup of tea.
Understandable, as his elderly Ma is in the hospital down the road from us at the moment and he (and his brothers) have been taking turns staying the night with her.

And today the Youngest was asking where the tradition of offering visitors a 'cup a tae' came from.

And it brought me back to being the wee Map that a certain Pal still sees me as being!

When I was young the kettle was always on the boil. Always!
And that boiled kettle was used to make a fresh pot of tea.
And whomever made the tea was responsible for refilling said kettle and immediately putting it back on the hob (for this was pre electric kettles) to boil, so as another pot of tea could be made as soon after as possible.

For there was always a visitor just about to arrive, 'cos our was literally an open-door house. The front door was opened wide first thing in the morning, as soon as Ma had made the house presentable, and stayed open until we were all off to bed. This was quite common for almost all the neighbours on the Island. And for most of the rest of Limerick in those days I'm sure.

There was always tea available as soon as a visitor arrived.
'Knock knock' 
'Sure come in and have a cup of tea, it's just brewing'. 
And it always was.

And the biggest Mortal sin in my house, when I was even wee'er than I am now, (as some Pal would have ya believe!) was to use the boiled water and not refill the kettle to be put straight back on the hob for to make a new pot of tea!  (And if that was my only Mortal sin... well..)

And it was proper tea. This was before tea-bags (and even after tea-bags were the norm they were still treated as an invention of the Divil himself by me Ma!) so everyone in the house had to know how to make tea. (In fact, every one of us learned not only how to make real tea, but how to make real bread, and how to make a dinner that would also make the next day's lunch!)

To this day I have yet to taste a cup a tae as good as one from the pot made by the Ma.

These days I probably drink too much instant coffee, though I do love the real stuff.

Time to get the teapot out, brew some real leaves and relax more with a 'cup a tae'!


  1. When MTL and I got together I couldn't believe how much tea he drank. Then I met his Ma and realised it was a family thing. He has a large handled mug now to make it easier to grasp and about four times a day I empty half a mug of tea away.
    I dread to think what would happen if we ever ran out of tea but it would take a while:)

  2. I remember wan of the brothers when we were weans, being in the mammy's bad books by scrubbing the oul stainless teapot until it shone like a new pin inside with all the blackness away.

    The mammy was gobsmacked when she saw that the tannin was away along with years of flavour and the brother was none to popular with the faither for a few days if memory serves.

    A man's tea is sacred, even after a skinful of the drink lands inside of him, he has to have a brew afore the bed.

    Growing up in Drumchapel the front door was always wide for the family visiting, especially in one close 70% was occupied by our family alone. I can never remember a single instance where anything went missing in our scheme. You never stole fae your own. The good oul days, sadly long gone so.

  3. I never drink tea, just crappy instant coffee. Decaf. I don't even like it but can't find anything else I like more!