Tea Time Tuesday

Cup-of-teaPerhaps one of the most infamous pieces of English culture that comes to mind when people think of this lovely place is tea. Although it is become more and more popular in the states, it has been a long standing tradition in England. While going to school here I have been fortunate enough to be fully immersed in the British culture, which includes tea twice a day. In our case it takes place in the dining hall at 10:30 and 3:00. It has become a time that I look forward to, and not only for the cookies.
In our case it takes place in the dining hall at 10:30 and 3:00. It has become a time that I look forward to, and not only for the cookies.cookiesIt is a great time of the day to sit and unwind, and have pleasant conversation with your friends and often professors. (That is another huge difference here, the relationship between professors (or tutors as they are called) and students is much more relaxed in that you often share meals with them and can address them more casually. Furthermore in the classroom setting, I find to be more inviting compared to the usual American standard as if you are somewhat less than an equal to the professor.) In our case at school they provide the brand of Twinning’s, which is apparently Queen of England approved!
All of the long tables are also adorned with plates of various cookie’s, so this sweet toothed girl is really in heaven, somehow I always convince myself that one … or seven won’t hurt me.
However, there is also a higher class/proper version of tea that is called afternoon tea. When walking the streets of Oxford local cafes often display their promotions for an afternoon tea which can range in 15 to 25 pounds, usually for two. Now as an attempt to get the full effect of British life, a few of my friends and I went to  a proper one, and boy was it worth it.
IMG_0023A proper afternoon tea usually comes with the following:
  • A pot of tea (usually of your choosing, the most common are Earl Grey, English Breakfast, but my personal favorite is green tea) Feel free to check out my post on why green tea is so great!
  • An assortment of finger sandwiches: ours included egg mayo (their version of egg salad), chicken mayo, cucumber, salmon and cream cheese, and roasted peppers and dressing. As you can see they usually come in sets of two as afternoon tea is meant to be shared.
  • As pictured above the next tier consists of scones: plain and blueberry, that is accompanied with jam and clotted cream; clotted cream is essentially a thinner version of butter…and quite delicious I might add.
  • The last tier (my personal favorite) is typically deserts that consist of tea cakes, usually in the form of small slices such as chocolate cake, vanilla cake, two eclairs, and some strawberry mousse.
While on my travels abroad I have learned many things not only about myself, but about people in general, perhaps you have come across this ideas at one time or another. The time for tea says a lot about the culture of England, as well as Europe. It isn’t just a time to eat or grab some morning refreshment, but it helps to keep the day a little more simple and pull you away from the madness that we usually all find ourselves in, often through work or school. A huge difference that I have noticed in the culture of America compared to that of Europe, life is taken a little more slowly. If such a practice became more prevalent in America I don’t think the majority of corporate businesses could take it, nor everyday households. I don’t mean that as an insult, but rather a mere observation of the vast differences between these two cultures separated merely by an ocean. I find myself victim to such behavior as the most I interact with tea is usually on my morning walk to class, rather than something that I sit and truly enjoy. Of the many things I hope to bring home with me amongst the memories and souvenirs I hope I also take with me the importance of taking time to enjoy life, even if it’s only as long as a cup of tea.

Food Frenzy Friday

One of the greatest parts of traveling anywhere, and really life in general, is food. And as I was scrolling through my camera roll, like any typical person, I have taken a ton of photos of my food and thought why not share the amazing experience that is food. It may sound a little strange but food really is an experience, especially when traveling! It is how one person can physically internalize a culture and a way of life. through this journey through even just a fraction of Europe, I have tried so many yummy new things, and none really restricted to jus the culture of England and France, but other ethnic foods that have crept their way into the places that I have traveled to. so join me on a walk down memory…of deliciousness
IMG_0010AND HOW ABOUT THAT AIRLINE FOOD….no really I have such low standards for food, as in I will eat nearly anything in front of me. Needless to say the flight over we were given dinner, and the highlight for me was the tomato and mozzarella as that stuff probably runs through my veins because it is my favorite. We also had chicken and rice, and desert as it is the greatest of nearly any meal was some chocolate cake. Now it all looked much better with the tops off, and I have to say that airline food has made strides in terms of taste, nutrition ehhh well you can’t control everything while your flying through the sky.
IMG_0022At the school I am staying at we are provided with breakfast and dinner. Breakfast usually consists of croissants and other pastries, yogurt, fruit, toast, roasted tomatoes, hash browns, eggs (poached, fried, and scrambled) sausage, and bacon (and their bacon is our ham). My usual consists of two poached eggs on wheat toast (which they call brown) with a yogurt, sometimes oatmeal (called porridge here), and a bowl of assorted fruit. My favorite is probably the fruit bowls I make for myself every morning, and of course I let the inner Pinterest-er inside me free a I always make it look pleasing to the eye.
One of the first days here, my new found friends and I explored around the town of Oxford to get the lay of the land.We
IMG_0014noticed a restaurant that had bathtubs for seats, and this became known as the ‘bath tub place’, and needless to say we had to give it a try. Upon arrival we discovered that it was a Thai restaurant (which is actually very popular in Oxford). My friend and I wanted to get a taste of a few different highs rather than just one big meal, which resulted in this fun sampler. It included chicken spring rolls, honey pork, salt and pepper squids, and fish cakes, with some awesome sauce (which I mean not only as a compliment but also for lack of the actual name of the sauce ;). Whenever I go somewhere new I always try to make a point o frying something new, and at this restaurant I definitely went outside my comfort zone and was rewarded!
IMG_0012Also in the little town of Oxford (and most likely in Europe in general) on the go themed foods usually come in terms of sandwiches, so needless to say I have had quite a few…and enjoyed every single one. One of the best however I have to say was one that is in a local market of Oxford, called the Covered Market, which is full of cute little shops that satisfy nearly anything you could be shopping for from flowers to food. At this coffee themed cafe I had a bacon (ham), avocado, and chicken mayo (chicken salad)  sandwich that was toasted to perfection. It also came with a side of rocket salad, which is simply lettuce, but for some reasons, an awesome one I’m sure, they call it rocket. (it just sounds cool and I love it)
Now that we are on the topic of the Covered Market, I must of course mention a near landmark of Oxford, which is MooMoo’s. I had the benefit that a friend of mine traveled to Oxford and gave me a list of the must go places, and this IMG_0013one was near the top, so I gave ti a try. Although it is small ti is mighty, mighty as in you can create your own milkshake with over 300 different add-in options. It is two window trailer looking place that makes possibly the best milkshakes I have ever had, which is a high standard considering I am the queen of sweets. I have so tried Snickers and banana, as well as Oreo. (Others on my list to try before I leave are marshmallow and apple pie…and I am also quite curious about skittles flavor, I will let you know how those go)
One of the last that I all cover in this post (worry not here is part two to come 🙂 is Hazzan’s. He is listed on Buzzfeed’s
IMG_0015must try, but of course I only knew this after I had tried it, so I did feel a bit trendy I suppose. Anywho it is a simple food truck that comes out in front of our campus from 6p.m. to 3a.m, which is prime for late night munchies. My personally favorite is the lamb kebab with garlic mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles, and the occasional side of onion rings. Either way it is an amazing guilty pleasure, and especially after a 11 mile day spent in London it was the perfect end as it served as the food component to a late night picnic dinner on the lovely college lawn.
All this talk of food has made me quite hungry, and ironically enough I am going to have some Hazzan’s right now, but I will be sure to share the rest of my camera roll with you all next week. I hope your Friday is full of FANTASTIC food and feel free to share ti below because I love to read and hear about food just as much as I love to eat it! 🙂