Making Tea…

Adventures in editing. 

I have another opportunity to share a blunder in my writing. I have mentioned before about how meticulous I am about research, yet I’ve made an error in something so simple I never considered looking into it.

In the recent reposting of my installment of Here Lies a Soldier: The Letters and the Locket, I describe my characater Meredith making a cup of tea. I am a tea drinker, have a pot, a strainer and a collection of loose tea, therefore I had Meredith make the tea the way I would … in the United States. *buzzer sound* 

One of my dear friends, who is English, pointed out to me that in England, everyone uses an electric kettle not a stove top kettle. Additionally, it would be far more realistic for Meredith to use a tea bag for a quick ‘cuppa’ not the loose tea that I described.

This might not seem like a big deal, it’s a little detail not even important to the plot. So why make a fuss? Because it is one of those tiny brush strokes on the larger canvas that can add to or detract from the larger picture. I will be returning to that section and editing accordingly. 

This is the kind of thing that makes blogging and its community of writers so absolutely priceless –getting feedback like that. I for one, am eternally grateful!

57 thoughts on “Making Tea…

  1. I’m English and I would agree with the correction. My parents-in-law, however, are English and have a stove top kettle. They’re the only people I know who do, but it does happen. They do however use tea bags. Loose leaf is SO much better but if you drink ten cups a day like me it just takes too long. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Loose leaf is definitely making a comeback with lots of small tea shops opening, strainers also being used again, but not stove top (or even hob top) kettles. I read it again and missed it (again)! One thing I did ponder on, I don’t think Meredith would address David as “Cousin”, or “My dearest Cousin”, or maybe that’s a regional, or class, thing! BTW that tea looks a bit weak to me!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The blogging community rocks. My articles for client get published in Huffpost and my blog readers are a great help in reading, liking and sharing my posts, thus upping my stock with the client 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are so right! Critique is invaluable. I find that here at WP most do not want to correct, offer suggestions or helpful criticism as this is not a workshop. I have found that workshop forums are amazing…one needs a tough skin but it is worth it! Bravo to your friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s great that someone caught it. Americans probably wouldn’t notice but someone English may. I watch a lot of British TV and yeah, they all have electric kettles. So do I. πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The electric kettle – who knew?!? I suppose if I drank more than 1-2 cups a day… Still, I can’t see how it’s easier than boiling it on the stove! Anyway, I’m happy for the correction!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure but there are fancy ones that heat water to an exact temperature for those really serious tea drinkers! Also it might be faster…maybe

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m English and I guess it is kind of stereotypical to imagine a British person with a teapot or stove pot! My grandma still uses a teapot but I don’t I guess times are just changing and is easier to use a kettle ☺️xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have lived for extended periods in both and the thing that amazed was the whole rigmarole of boiling on the stove that Americans generally do. But your everyday tea is simply desperate. I would drink about 8 cups a day and loose leaf would only be for guests or maybe the last one of the night. The rest of the time it is teabags. I am sure there are people who hear their water on the stove in the UK and Ireland but it would be out of the norm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never considered that. To me it seems funny to have a separate device for boiling water when you can do it on the stove! The tea bag part I understand. We are not a tea culture though, more about coffee. I love tea but only drink 1-2 cups a day and so I fuss with the loose stuff

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “yet I’ve made an error in something so simple I never considered looking into it.” — That’s usually where we make our mistakes. Much of the skill lies in knowing the questions to ask, the items to check. Half the battle is flagging when we’re “assuming.” (I speak from experience πŸ˜› )

    Thank you for sharing your insights. You’re right; it’s the little details that ultimately create the subconscious believability in the mind of the reader. This is where beta readers and blog readers are so helpful!

    As for tea methods, In Canada, we typically have electric kettles, but we also have the stove top variety (and we have tea bags and loose tea of all origins and flavours). In fact, we have three types of containers in which to boil water (for such things as tea and instant hot chocolate): the plug-in electric tea kettle, the electric base into which you stand the water jug, and the stove-top kettle that doesn’t plug in. The electric base type is common in work places because the plugged-in base remains stationary, but the jug can be moved around. There is also an automatic shutoff if someone forgets about the water once it’s boiling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good grief! I’m still not sure why the electric kettle is an advantage… for home at least. I can see why it would be great for the office, however. But yes a detail like that would make me crazy if I were English and reading it. πŸ˜ƒ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s possible the electric kettle is cheaper to operate (running electric stoves is more expensive). It may also be a safety factor: no hot burner, no flame (if gas stove).

        Stove top kettles are cheaper to buy, though, if you need one in a hurry. They can also be used on a metal grill or camp stove when camping.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. On the other hand, here in the UK I have only recently changed my stove-top kettle for an electric one (because I liked it!) and I frequently use loose tea and a teapot because I think it makes a far superior brew. Perhaps that is just something in Meredith’s character?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad you weighed in, Mick. I prefer my loose tea as well. I do want it to seem authentic though. So I may change the part about the electric kettle and leave in the rest! Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. There is a time element too. In the fifties, sixties, and probably into the seventies, tea bags were despised as non-British in many places. The tea bags found on the continent were definitely filled with inferior tea and we tourists regularly complained about them. When falling ill in Spain one year and being given “tea with milk” to console me, my landlady boiled the milk and added the tea leaves to it. It helped me recover very quickly so I could again make my own tea! The kettle on the hob was also a feature of the old Welsh kitchen and there was always water close to the boil for tea in my grandmother’s house. The disappearance of the coal fire, the introduction of the electric kettle, the improvement in the quality of tea bags, all these things have led to social changes. What I remember most about tea leaves was my grandmother’s uncanny ability to read them and tell fortunes from them. Hard to do with a tea bag. The other thing I remember is how messy they were. They were really good for the roses though and the old, used tea leaves regularly made their way into my grandmother’s garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah! That’s a wonderful memory. My nana made tea both ways but she preferred loose over tea bags too. Electric kettles just aren’t a thing in America. I think because more people drink coffee and have their coffee makers on all day. Oh well, I want to be authentic so I have some editing to do!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love coffee and I have several ways of making it including an Italian stove top espresso maker, and a coffee machine. My favorite method though is just plain filter coffee. I also like making Oaxacan coffee, but that’s more effort and causes a mess. Thus banned!


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