When I arrived at the house of Swenglish person number 5 the kitchen looked a bit chaotic – but smelled divine – as my host and her partner were in the middle of preparing for a joint birthday party.
After a quick cup of green tea I was set on sandwich making duty: salmon and cream cheese on Polish bread, egg and cress on brown bread, and finally cucumber on white bread. First I was a bit nervous as some people are very particular about their sandwiches: the thickness of the butter, the amount of filling and which shape to cut them in, but luckily my hosts were happy with my triangular creations.
I find cucumber sandwiches very funny as if that little bit of green would make the sandwich healthier or spice up the butter. My grandmothers in Sweden used to put half a grape on their bread rolls, but at least they had cheese to go with it.
This is the delicious sandwich, scone and cake table, but I had to wait quite a while before I could stuff myself with “Death by Chocolate” or “Rocky Road” as I was partly in charge of the tea-making which was more nerve-wracking than the sandwich making. A friend once said the following about tea: ”There’s a process in making it that you can take pride in” which make it sound just as complicated as it is.
English people are so fussy about their tea! In Sweden anyone would be happy if you handed them a black coffee, here people wanted either Breakfast Tea or Earl Grey or Rooibos or decaffeinated or something herbal or other, and if that wasn’t enough you have to deal with the strength of the tea and not to forget: the milk and the sugar:
Just a bit of milk, please
Make it very milky, please
Put in the milk first, please
One and a half tea-spoon of sugar, please
No sugar, please
I like mine quite strong, please
Don’t stew it too much, please
Leave the bag in, please
Is there any more hot water?
In the end everybody got what they wanted (hopefully!) and gathered in the sunny garden to laugh and gossip and listen to a speech by the host and a surprise ukulele performance. I’m glad I tried a scone for lunch because believe it or not – by the time the guests went home the plates and trays were empty, save the pumpkin cake which only I really enjoyed as it had the same spice mix as Swedish gingerbread. A big thank you to my hosts for letting me be part of such a lovely typical English afternoon!