Picture this. You are downtown Seattle, and you have been running your legs off with two twelve-year-old girls and one thirteen-year-old boy. You have hit just about every souvenir shop on the waterfront, fed them lunch; as well as the seagulls, visited the aquarium, shopped a few downtown record shops, listened to the three kidlets picking at each other, and even had to sooth a tear or two. You finally leave them with auntie, and slip quietly into a British tea shop.
The quaint, yet dark little shop was quiet as a library, as customers perused the many teas and British groceries. I found a bit of sunlight coming in through the old glass front door, as it was shimmering on a table. The lonely chair at the table beckoned to me. I ordered a crumpet with a schmear of blackberry jam; and of course, a cup of tea. The warm crumpet soaked up the butter and the rich dark sweet jam. The "spot" of Earl Grey tea, with its aromatic and licorice notes certainly hit my "spot." It was quiet. It was heaven.
So what is a crumpet, you ask? It's very similar to an English muffin. They are both round, generally biscuit-sized, each with a spongy texture full of nooks and crannies for absorbing melted butter and sweet or savory toppings. In England, both crumpets and English muffins are eaten for breakfast, brunch, and as an afternoon teatime treat. Both breads are made with flour, milk, and yeast, but it is the preparation that makes them quite different.
The crumpet is prepared into a batter, which is grilled on a griddle like a pancake, using metal rings to keep the round shape. The English muffin is mixed into a dough, and then rolled out like a biscuit. It is often baked in the oven, but can also prepared on a griddle or frying pan like a crumpet. However, the crumpet is not typically split like an English muffin.
This experience, with the little slice of time and slice of crumpet, was what I needed to endure another day in Seattle. I left Seattle with a bag of crumpets and a jar of blackberry jam. Once I returned home, these tasty little treasures was a reminder for me to take time for myself with just these simple little pleasures, even after the crumpets and jar of jam were long gone.
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