Monday, 25 July 2016

"Tea Or Coffee, Sir?"

If you travel too far into the past, you will have to do without coffee. When Manse Everard camps in A.D. 49, he plays host to Time Patrol colleague, Jens Ulstrup, who has been in place for twelve years:

"'Want some coffee? You can smell it's fresh.'
"'Coffee,' Ulstrup crooned. 'I often drink it in my dreams.'"
-Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006), p. 563.

When Time Patrol agent, Wanda Tamberly, is a guest in 1146 A.D., she is served:

"...the usual meager, coffeeless breakfast."
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 419.

In the 1250 B.C. of a different timeline:

"One of the watch handed Alston a cup of coffee; that was something she was going to miss when they ran out."
-SM Stirling, Island In The Sea Of Time (New York, 1998), pp. 82-83)

Alston asks Arnstein:

"'Is there anywhere we could expect to get coffee, here and now?'
" comes from Ethiopia, originally. Kaffa province, fairly far inland. It went from there to the Yemen, and from the Yemen to everywhere. The Arabs spread it.'
"'I don't suppose...'
"'Well, Captain, there's no mention of it for more than two thousand years after this date. Tea, maybe...'"
(Island..., p. 83)

Brits, Buddhists and Merseians (and here) drink tea. Brit or no Brit, the only place I drink tea now is in our meditation group. Buddhists find it keeps them awake. The Buddhist story is that Dogen, zealous to meditate, tore off his eyelids and threw them onto the ground where they grew into the first tea shrub. (One of our monks said, "I hope that's not true...") Anderson's Technic History somewhere tells us (later: Young Flandry, p. 295) that tea spread from the Terran Empire into the Merseian Roidhunate where it grows on many planets. And who better to adjudicate between tea and coffee than James Bond?

"'I don't drink tea. I hate it. It's mud. Moreover it's one of the main reasons for the downfall of the British Empire. Be a good girl and make me some coffee.'"
-Ian Fleming, Goldfinger (London, 1975), p. 42.

We have not had a food post for a while although I look forward to some Bronze Age feasts...

We have been told that:

"'Whale steak [is] sort of like beef, only fishy.'" (Island..., p. 65)


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    And Second Mate Stubb, in Herman Melville's novel MOBY DICK, had a fancy for whale meat!


  2. Another colorful literary detail.

    1. Kaor, Paul!

      It was! And I like MOBY DICK, huge tome tho it is. I've read it twice.