Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Little Culture

My dad's co-worker, Keith, is visiting from New Zealand this week and staying at our house. He's a really delightful person to talk to, and he knows pretty much everything about everything. He's basically a British David Collins with a little less emphasis on math. He's generous on top of that. When he found out I liked tea but didn't have a kettle or teapot, he went shopping and bought me one as a pre-bridal shower gift this weekend. We have been getting a lot of use out of it this week alone, and now Jack is really into hot tea as well - "It's like sweet tea, but hot!" he exclaimed, when he tried it.

I've learned a few things this week from Keith, so I thought I'd share some I found interesting:

  • You season a teapot like you season a cast-iron skillet or wok. Don't wash it - just rinse it until there is a film flaking off the inside; at that point, you sweep a clean brush around the inside to remove the film. Apparently this technique will make the tea better and better as time progresses.
  • In New Zealand, the auto insurance is set up differently; after an accident all money issues are handled by insurance companies, and the police prosecute the person who's at fault in the accident.
  • Brussel sprouts contain a fairly potent toxin.
  • Chianti Classico is a good red wine if you're just starting to try red wine.
  • The champagne the the Gilmores gave to us when my brother got married three years ago is a really nice fancy champagne.
  • When putting milk in your tea, you should put the milk in first so that when you pour the tea in it warms the milk up gradually and produces a better taste than if you "shocked" it by pouring it into hot tea.
  • Curry isn't as spicy if it's three years old. It's actually not spicy at all.
  • You should get a portrait session done when you're about 5 months pregnant because you're prettier then.
  • Salad is food's food.
  • The word "luddite" comes from Ned Ludd, who led the resistance against weaving looms in the early 1800s.
  • People from New Zealand say "aluminum" like al-ume-in-ee-um because they spell it "aluminium."

There are probably more to come...