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Amazing story of tea and a small world

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A reminder of just how small our world can be came last week when I was on vacation.

A stop at an inn in New Hampshire – SereniTea Bed & Breakfast in Wilton – led me to ask the owner how she had chosen her tea theme.

My introduction to tea came from my Canadian grandmother, who always loved Red Rose Tea, I explained.

Her experience was the same, she said. Her grandmother also was from Canada, and a fan of Red Rose. She asked me where in Canada. Nova Scotia, I said.

Her grandmother also was from Nova Scotia, she responded. Then I asked, where in Nova Scotia?

Digby, she said. That’s when the story became pretty amazing.

My grandmother also was from Digby Cove on Digby Neck, a small strip of land that juts out from the Western coast of the province.

Further discussion led us to realize that our grandmothers were likely about 10 to 15 years apart in age, but since the community is small, the families likely knew each other.

From those beginnings came our love of tea; she prepares it and serves high tea as well as a copious breakfast at the inn. I just drink it and enjoy writing about it.

Tea, teapots, teacups and silver tea services were displayed throughout the inn. But most impressive was the breakfast, which included an individually sized cheese soufflé, roast potatoes, sugared bacon, fruit, yogurt, cake, and of course, tea.

This recipe from thespruceeats.com gives the basics on how to make a simple cheese soufflé.

Easy Cheese Soufflé

1½ tablespoons unsalted butter

1½ tablespoons flour

½ cup milk (whole)

2 eggs (separated)

¼ to 1/3 cup any type of cheese (grated)

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (finely grated)

½ teaspoon mustard (ground)

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon white pepper

Optional: ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Grease two 1-cup soufflé dishes/ramekins with butter and dust with Parmesan.

2. Melt 1½ tablespoons butter over medium-low heat, add flour and cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly.

3. In the meantime, heat milk in the microwave at medium power for 30 seconds.

4. Whisk in milk and continue to cook, stirring, until thickened.

5. Whisk together egg yolks and spices, then add to sauce mixture, whisking steadily to avoid scrambling the eggs.

6. Stir in the cheese, melt and mix thoroughly.

7. Mix in any additional ingredients, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

8. Beat egg whites to medium stiff peaks. If you’re not using a copper egg bowl, add cream of tartar.

9. Thoroughly fold 1/3 of whites into sauce mixture.

10. Casually fold mixture back into remaining whites.

11. Pour into soufflé dishes, place in oven, reduce heat to 375°F, and bake 30 to 35 minutes depending on how well done you like your soufflés.

Don’t open the oven for the first 20 minutes.


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