English communication in Graz, Austria
The week of July 22nd was a big one for Britain – as well as for Anglophiles in Graz! We talked about the history of royal births in Coffee & the News and found out the prince’s name during our Cultural Evening (thanks to an especially in-the-know participant). But most importantly, we were able to celebrate in style while preparing Afternoon Tea in our cooking class.
First, shortbread. (Ok, it’s not REALLY afternoon tea-worthy, but we needed something that wasn’t too time-consuming!) Shortbread itself is incredibly simple, so you can add almost any flavors you like. We added chocolate, orange zest and caraway seeds (thank you, Jamie Oliver!).
Then for a cooling intermission, we embarked on cucumber sandwiches. A hilarious article from the Guardian showed us just how complicated cucumber sandwiches can be – and how heated the debates are within Britain. Are you for butter or mayonnaise, triangles or squares? We opted for classic sandwiches with butter on both sides of the bread and layering the sliced cucumbers.
According to American scientists, cucumber sandwiches are the best things to eat to regulate your body temperature during a heat wave. At about 36 degrees that day, it was a welcome snack!
Finally, scones. I have made these several times before for classes, and they are a nice alternative to cupcakes because they have NO sugar in them. We added dried cranberries and raisins, but you can use one or the other.
Now, scones are incredibly dry, so they are usually eaten with clotted cream (we substituted mascarpone) and jam (we used strawberry jam).
Finally, time to indulge with a cup of Earl Grey! But should we add milk before the hot water, or after? Apparently, only the upper classes had porcelain nice enough that it wouldn’t crack when met with pure boiling water. Our IKEA mugs didn’t seem to know the difference, but it still ignited a debate… When do you add the milk?