Tuesday, July 16, 2013
His Favorite Hostess
What you need to do is make him iced tea. Not just any old iced tea, but Ridgways.
Ridgways Tea, which is still in business, was founded by Thomas Ridgway in England in 1836. His tea shop in London was really popular and he even made a special tea for Queen Victoria. Whether he was Her Favorite Host is debatable, though. Probably not, because he didn't serve it iced in vintage glasses.
Gold Label Tea, which is what the ad says you should be serving your gentleman callers, is orange pekoe (black) tea. It doesn't look like Ridgways makes it any more, though.
The takeaway message? Iced tea. Serve men lots and lots of it. They will be so impressed and thrilled with their iced tea that they will like you a lot.
This got me wondering when people first started drinking iced tea. They were certainly drinking it by the 19th century. The earliest reference I found was in a cookbook called Domestic Economy, and Cookery, by a Lady, published in 1827. Here is her recipe for "Iced Tea, Coffee and Chocolate." The Lady mysteriously includes egg yolks in her iced tea, which probably wouldn't make her popular with gentlemen, or guests in general:
Make a pint of strong fine green or black tea; put it in two pints of cream, with six ounces of sugar and five yolks; thicken it over the fire, strain, and when cold, ice it.
An article in The Quarterly Review in 1842 mentions that people love iced drinks in Russia: iced wine, iced beer, "they even drink iced tea, substituting for a lump of sugar a lump of ice." No egg yolks, though.
And in 1885, Gaillard's Medical Journal was praising iced tea for soothing "a man of nervous temperament" who suffered from nerves and insomnia after a single cup of hot tea. When he downed a half gallon of iced tea before going to bed, he slept very well. Mind you, drinking half a gallon of anything right before bed is probably going to wake you up a few times during the night anyway. But at least you won't be feeling nervous.