Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hot Tea with Honey

Hot Tea with Honey

I eat my peas with Honey.
I’ve done it all my life.
It does taste rather funny,
But it keeps them on my knife.
        -  Nursery Rhyme

I drink coffee in the morning at home or if I go out early for breakfast. Any other hot beverage during the rest of the day that I consume will be Hot Tea with Honey. I am not British. I just like Hot Tea with Honey. I appreciate the hard work of the industrious bee, especially since their numbers seem to be declining due to sunspots, alien invasion, cell phone waves or Zombies, take your pick.  

When purchasing honey for home use, I patronize local producers. Several local people have hives, and a couple have their product in the local natural food store. It is also available at the wowza farmers’ market every Saturday that I visit year round. Yup- in the warm weather vendors overflow a quaint pedestrian mall area in the old part of Troy, about 15 minutes away. In the winter the action moves indoors to the atrium of a building not far from the outdoor site. Free parking in the local parking garage tops it off.

While the outdoor site is fun, a wanderer’s delight, I prefer the indoor venue where the smells are concentrated- fresh baked bread, newly brewed coffee, herbs, Jamacian pasties, pesto, curry, and more. A true feast for the nose. Then there’s the free samples. Come hungry- leave happy, and poor. The live music echoes off the walls, and children whirl and dance while parents sample wine, cheese, exotic jelly, and other culinary delights. 

But back to the honey. It is a staple cooking ingredient in many cultures, but apparently not in modern American cuisine. Witness this recent exchange in a local restaurant:

Server: What can I getcha to drink?

Me: Hot Tea with Honey, please.

Server: I don’t got that.

Me: You don’t have which item- hot water, tea, honey or a passing English grade?

Server: We don’t got honey.

Me: You mean you don’t have honey?

Server: Nuh- uh.

Me: Then I will have Ice Water, No Lemon.

Server: We put lemon in our ice water.

Me: I don’t want lemon in my ice water, just ice and water in a glass, preferably clean, and one you haven’t stuck your fingers in to grab and remove the lemon slice. 

Server: I’ll have to ask the manager. It’s not corporate policy to serve ice water without lemon.

Me: May I speak with your manager, please?

Several minutes later, a whispered conversation is overheard:

Manager: Oh no, it’s her again; Lady Hot Tea.

Server: The hostess tried to lock the door when we saw her coming but she got in anyway, sneaking through in the middle of a large group.

Manager: Yeah, she probably wouldn’t have bought the “Quarantine” ruse anyway.

Server: Now, since we don’t got honey, she’s asking for Ice Water, No Lemon.

Manager: That’s against corporate policy. Our recipe for water is Ice Water with Lemon.

Server: But she doesn’t want lemon. I thought maybe we could put it in a separate dish. 

Manager: That isn’t the corporate recipe. I’ll have to make a phone call to the regional guru.

Me (interrupting the whispering): Excuse me- may I have my beverage? Either Hot Tea with Honey or Ice Water, No Lemon.

Manager: That’s not the corporate recipe, and we don’t have honey.

Me: Here’s $5.00. Send Ms. Elocution over to the grocery store across the road and have her buy a jar of honey. I’ll put my name on it and you can have it here just for me when I come in.

Manager: We can’t do that. Corporate Policy says we have to follow the recipe for all beverages. 

Me: Then I’ll go buy the honey and bring it back. Then Ms. Elocution can serve me hot tea and I will add my own honey.

Manager: You can’t bring food into a restaurant. People come here to eat the food we already have, not bring in their own ingredients. Next you’ll want to go into the kitchen and make your own hot tea and ice water.

Me: An excellent idea. Finally, a restaurant manager with some creative ideas for customer satisfaction. I’ll just fill out this survey on your website and tell corporate how accommodating you are.

Manager: Okay lady- you win. You can have your ice water with no lemon, but please don’t tell anybody. I’m going on my break now. I think I’ll enjoy a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade.

Me: Is that served with or without a spoon?

Next: Straws