Saturday, 21 February 2015

Fictional Food Adventure: Making Mr Tumnus' Toasty Tea from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Mr Tumnus' toasty tea with Lucy is one of the most inviting scenes in Children's books. Apart from his intentions to lull Lucy to sleep to capture her for the White Witch, Mr Tumnus gives Lucy a warm welcome to his home, and supplies plenty of steaming hot tea, hot toast, sardines, honey and boiled eggs, all eaten in armchairs before the log fire.

This is exactly what the cat-cosy looks like. Mum and Dad still use it regularly. It's one of those things that is so familiar it's almost invisible, yet so well loved. 
Our family has always enjoyed toasty teas, and a toasting fork is always propped by the hearth in case anyone wants toast when the embers are glowing and orange and perfect. I always loved a Sunday teatime because it would nearly always be toast, with whatever you'd like on it, and a big pot of tea on a wooden tray, with the tabby cat tea cosy sat upon it. We loved to have a bowl of tuna, straight from the tin, all oily and flaky, to put upon our buttered toast, and we all loved Marmite, and Marmalade, and sometimes jam, or golden syrup. There would be crumpets, or English Muffins, and boiled eggs with Marmite Soldiers.

Now that Andy and I have that much longed-for and very much appreciated open hearth of our own, and our own toasting fork, we relish the chance to abandon the kitchen and sit by the fire, surrounded by provisions and yumminess.

With much relish we boiled eggs (Andy has started using the French method - google it, it's perfect every time), and I put a little metal saucepan over the fender to try and boil an egg from the ember heat, and it worked, but was much harder to guage the timing. We made plenty of hot buttered toast and in the end the eggs and buttery toast tasted so good, with lots of tea, that we didn't open the Sardines or honey or jams or anything else. But they will stand by happily for another cosy evening.

The important thing is, fire or no fire, toast is one of life's cheery basics. Anyone can accumulate a teetering tower of toast for everyone to enjoy, and as long as there's tea in the pot you can munch and crunch away til tummies are full. Thank goodness that Mr Tumnus was a good faun after all, and that toasty tea was not Lucy's last.

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