Put the Kettle On!When I ask my husband, “What do you want to drink?” He will always respond, “A hot cup of tea.” It brings comfort and is the cup that cheers. John has lived in the United States over 40 years, but tea remains his choice — preferably very hot.In Scotland and the north of England, the evening meal takes its name after the beverage. And there is “afternoon tea” around 3:30 for those at leisure, with finger sandwiches, cakes, scones, crumpets, clotted cream and, of course, tea. The more dainty the china, the better.The preparation of tea is an elaborate ritual and taken quite seriously. No teabags, please. Water in the kettle needs to come to a rolling boil. First rinse out the china teapot with hot water, then place the loose tea in and add very hot water and stir. Brew for at least five minutes. Of course, while tea is brewing, the pot is covered with a “cosy.” Whether one places the cream and sugar in the cup first or last is optional.For John and most English folk at home and abroad, tea will never be eclipsed as a beverage. It is quite simply a part of their lifestyle and culture. This is particularly so for the older genera-tion. Tea is affectionately called the “cuppa” or “elevens” or “rosy lee [rhymes with tea].” When visiting our English friends abroad, we’re always greeted with, “I’ll put the kettle on.”* * *On the tradition of tea-drinking, from teamuse.comalso, from Brenda Coulter’s site, Teatime at Brenda’s HouseYorkshire Tea Cakes2lb strong plain flour4ozs lard2 teaspoons salt1 pint lukewarm milk1 egg1oz fresh yeast4ozs sugar4ozs currantsGrease baking trays.Rub lard into flour and salt.Dissolve yeast and sugar in the lukewarm milk.Add to flour together with beaten egg.Knead to a soft dough (about 5-10 minutes).Fold in currants.Put in bowl.Cover with cloth and put in warm place until double in size.Knead gently.Divide and roll into 4-inch rounds.Place on baking tray.Prick with fork.Leave for 30 minutes to rise, setting oven to 425 degrees F (or Mark 7, UK).Bake 15-20 minutes.Cool on wire tray.Ginger Biscuits8ozs self-rising flour4ozs hard margarine1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda1 level teaspoon ground ginger4ozs caster (4x, or powdered) sugar2 good tablespoons golden syrup (light corn syrup)Grease baking trays.Set oven to 375 degrees F (or Mark 5, UK).Rub fat into flour, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda.Add sugar and warmed syrup.Mix well to a stiff consistency.Roll into balls the size of a walnut, with floured hands.Place on trays with room to spread and flatten with a fork.Bake for 10 minutes.Remove from trays while hot and place on cooling trays.