The tea can, of course, can be anything you care for: a fine Formosa Oolong, Rose Pouchong, Earl Grey (or a naughty two-in-a-bed of one teabag of Earl Grey and one of Lady Grey!), a delicate muscatel Darjeeling or just a good brew of PG Tips, but the nibbly bits must be Jaffa Cakes. Then print out this encomium for the blessed cake from nicecupofteaandsitdown.com, enjoyment of which is the basis for my proposed test and read.
I love little tracts of this nature. It points to a gentle obsession with something fundamentally excellent that bespeaks the enquiring yet tidy and thorough mind of a true devotee. I would own that no one other than a true Brit could sit and read it and then sit quietly savouring its conclusions with a ‘By God, Sir, that’s right!’ on his lips and the thought in his mind that the humble Jaffa Cake must be one of the simplest but most excellent pleasures ever devised by man.
That someone has taken the trouble to set down the whys and wherefores of this humble, but, it seems, disputatious cake (if you are a Revenue Man, that is), must, if you are indeed a True Brit, bring a gentle warm glow to the heart. If not, you are for sure a foreign Johnny.
Can you imagine one of our fellow Union Citizens having the same feeling of unalloyed pleasure at the work of a such a true expert? I think not, nor would many of the other facets of our multi-faceted society get off on it either.
One might except the French from all this, for they have an obsession for food items of a sometimes encyclopaedic nature. Sadly they would not be satisfied with such an essay but would find some way to dispute its conclusions and to propose, at length, other candidates for the accolade of best from remote corners of France. And they would be bound to argue fiercely in a most partisan way.
We would just smile gently at the delusion that there might be anything better.
I am grateful to Wat Tyler at Burning Our Money for the inspiration.