Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Taking Tea with T.S. Eliot

"April is the cruellest month," or so says my all-time favorite poet, T.S. Eliot. Given my recent melancholy and nostalgic moods, I must agree with his sentiment--at least to a certain extent. But since not all things related to April feel personally cruel, I cannot fully agree. April does hold happy dates, primarily, my first year wedding anniversary, April 5th, making tomorrow a happy date. However, my father was diagnosed with Stage 4 inoperable lung cancer on the day prior to our wedding day. Therefore, today, April 4th is obviously an unhappy date. Eliot would truly appreciate this contrast, I think. And so, early on this quiet morning, pretending I'm in a London flat, I'm taking toast and tea, while re-reading my tattered old paperback of his collected poetry.

Considering his Prufrock musings, I wonder if Mr. Eliot, himself, had any particularly favorite tea cakes. So, I did an unsuccessful Google Search, finding anything and everything but the favorite tea cakes of Thomas Stearns Eliot. I suppose I could borrow some biographical books from the public library and thoroughly research the topic, but in spirit of the reluctantly less than ambitious Prufrock, I shall personally contemplate the possibilities. Left to my rather vivid imagination, I've supposed that Mr. Eliot did not have a personally favorite tea cake, rather, he made his various selections to appease his various moods.

So, for my tea with T.S.E., I could rely on my old standard cinnamon scones that I've baked for years, but somehow that doesn't feel quite right. Lavender tea cakes seem a bit too light and feminine for the intense poet's imagined taste, while raisins and currant filled ones would perhaps be too heavy. No, I think at least today, Mr. Eliot would prefer a simple, spiced tea cake. So, in honor of Mr. Eliot and his Prufrock, and all that I dream of what an early London morning must be like, this morning's baking has yielded a yummy (but somewhat unattractive assortment) of comforting brown sugar spiced tea cakes to go with my Tetley!

Until we meet for coffee,

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