USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘tea’
Customs
Foodways
general
Gestures
Kinesthetic
Material
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Afternoon Tea at Scripps College

Background information:

My sister, Jennifer, attends Scripps College and is graduating this year (2018). She is an English major and an Economics minor at the school and is greatly interested in literature, culture, and classic novels. Because Scripps College is a small, private, liberal arts college in the middle of the 5 Claremont Colleges Consortium, she has found that it has been a fantastic school for her to expand and learn about her interests and passion for literature. Due to her immense love for the school, she has been an active member in the college’s social life and learned about countless traditions that Scripps College engages in.

 

Main piece:

My sister has very strong ties to Scripps College and takes great pride in the fact that she attends this beautiful liberal arts college. When asking her about any specific highlights during her time at Scripps College, she shared that she did not know about a specific tradition (afternoon tea) until she first started her freshman year back in 2014. My sister, Jennifer, has always been a huge romantic, enjoying classic authors such as Virginia Woolf and Jane Austen and also engaging in certain classic traditions that are not a focus in the modern day. Therefore, when Jennifer realized that Scripps College offered afternoon tea on the Wednesday of every week, she was extremely excited and told me that she instantly felt that Scripps College was the right college for her. Upon her first afternoon tea, she was able to interact with other students at Scripps, faculty members, and even students from the other four Claremont Colleges. She said that throughout the hectic life of a college student in the modern day, this weekly afternoon tea was destressing and gave her an opportunity to unwind, drink tea (which she loves), and discuss her interests with other students and staff. Thus, as she is a senior right now, she has been to countless afternoon tea meetings, and told me that these small weekly sessions were integral to her time at Scripps College. She said, “without afternoon tea, I would not have been able to meet some of my closest friends and could very well have been more stressed”, so it is evident that Scripps College’s afternoon tea had a greatly positive impact on both her mental health and introduced her to some of her best friends today.

 

Personal thoughts:

I love my sister very much and as such, it makes me ecstatic to hear about her happiness and pride in her college. I am beyond happy that she found ways to relieve her stress and also make friends in the process, and therefore know that Scripps College was truly a place that she was able to flourish. Minute features about the college, such as the weekly afternoon tea, could very well have been insignificant for other students, but was very important to her, so I believe that because of this, she will integrate afternoon tea into her daily life when she graduates from Scripps College this year, as a means to de-stress and relive this beautiful tradition.

Folk Beliefs
Folk medicine

Cow Lick Tea

What is being performed?
DA: I don’t do a lot of folk things when I’m sick but my grandmother used to make this thing
called “cow lick tea.”
AA: What is “cow lick tea?”
DA: It’s absolutely disgusting but basically it’s tea with cow droppings in it
AA: Why cow droppings?
DA: I think it’s because cows eat grass so their droppings are really good for you
AA: Have you ever had it?
DA: God no, but my grandmother would always insist and I think she drank it herself

Why do they know or like this piece? where/who did they learn it from? What does it mean to
them?
AA: Why do you know about “cow lick tea?”
DA: My grandmother but I haven’t really heard it from other people
AA: Where is your grandmother from?
DA: She’s from Marshall Texas but she also has Native American Cherokee roots.
AA: What does it mean to you?
DA: It’s gross and I’ll never make it, but I guess it’s interesting.
Context of the performance- where do you perform it? History?
“Cow lick tea” is used to alleviate the symptoms of sore throats, headaches, and other head
colds. It is known for clearing nasal passages and is made from cow droppings. It is given to
anyone of any age looking to relieve themselves from the common cold.

Reflection
This is something I have never heard of before but think could be gross. I accept, however, that
I’ve grown up in the city my whole life and have no knowledge about how cows can be
beneficial to humans. I think this is interesting but don’t think I’ll be partaking.

Folk speech

“No T, No Shade” – Gay Slang

About the Interviewed: Davey is a student at the George Washington University double-majoring in English and LGBT Studies. His ethnic background hails from Spain. At the time of this interview, he was currently on leave at his home in Southern California. He is biologically male, but he identifies as gender-queer. Nonetheless, he prefers male pronouns. He is 20 years old.

I just asked Davey about slang terms used in the LGBT community.

Davey: “No T, No Shade. That’s a good one.”

There’s a bit of a pause here in the recording.

Davey: “It means like, ‘No offense, but…’ – only gayer. It’s like the Gay version of that. (Laughs)”

I ask Davey to use it in a sentence for me.

Davey: “Well, it is a sentence. You say it when you don’t wanna hurt somebody’s feelings. Like – ‘No T, No Shade gurl, but… you’re fat. (laughs)”

I ask him if he knows where the phrase originates from.

Davey: “Well, I don’t know where it’s from, but it has two parts: No T, and No Shade. ‘No T’ means no “Talk”, like you’re not holding anything back. And ‘No Shade’ means you don’t want to hurt their feelings. So the whole thing means, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, BUT-”

Now I’m laughing. I ask him to elaborate more on “The T” and “Shade”.

Davey: “Like I said, the T is like, what’s going on. It’s like gossip. When you ask someone what the T is, you wanna know the truth. So like, if I see someone, and I ask you what the T on her is, I wanna know her deal. Shade is when you wanna be nasty. (laughs) When you throw shade, you’re being mean, you’re being a bitch. I’m a shady lady.”

We both laugh.

Summary:

Gay culture has a number of unique phrases and vocabulary. Davey broke down the term “No T, No Shade”, which roughly translates as a warning that the listener is about to hear something disparaging, yet truthful.

Davey couldn’t remember the first time he heard the phrase “No T, No Shade”, but I remember learning it from him a while back. LGBT culture is unique in that it contains it’s own vernacular and language, despite not pertaining to any particular ethnic background. Davey and I both come from different backgrounds ourselves, yet we’re both united by a culture that with a variety of folklore to share. 

Folk Beliefs
Folk medicine
Foodways

Chinese Cooling Tea

Contextual Data: I came home to my roommate boiling this loose-leaf tea on the stove. It was unlike most teas that I had seen before — there seemed to be sticks and roots poking out of it and it was almost an opaque black. She mentioned that it was a kind of herbal remedy and I asked her to explain to me a bit more about what it was and where she learned about it and why she was drinking it. The following is a transcript of her response.

“So what it is, is just this concoction of, like, all these different roots and herbs and dried things… I dunno, but after you—they’re, like, dried and aged and after you boil it in hot water for, like, uh, maybe like…just until it boils. Maybe like thirty minutes. It turns into this really weird black concoction and then it comes in, like…uh, different bitterness. So like the bitterer—the more bitter and more, like, black it is, the better it is for you. And then there are also, like, the really, like, light ones that you just put like sugar in and it tastes just like a sugary herbal tea drink. And then, um… So what it’s called trans—directly translated into English is called ‘cooling tea.’ And… um…So cooling tea. It comes from this whole theory in China—in Chinese. We just believe that there’s like a yin and a yang to everything that you eat. So we think that, um, that there’s things that are really hot and there’s things that are really cool. And then, um, if you have too many hot things you’ll, like, have—break out in acne, you’ll get a sore throat, and then you’ll get sick. And if you have too many cool things, then also bad things will happen to you. I dunno what, though. And so, and there’s also things like, because my mom made a lot of cool things when I was, like—when she was pregnant with me. Lots of like watermelons, and cucumbers are cool, and like Korean pears are cool. And then like chocolate and deep fried things and stuff would be like hot things. And like mangoes would be hot. So I have a cool base inside of me, so I can eat a lot of hot things and I’ll still be okay. But then if your mom ate a lot of hot things when you were… she was pregnant with you…and then you have a hot base, and then you can’t—you have to eat like a lot of cool things to like counteract that. So it’s just this whole balance between it. And so this cool—this cooling tea is just when I think I have like a sore throat or I just feel like… [Laughs.] There is really no scientific background to it. But I—and I’m like pre-med so I believe in science, but I also believe in this, ‘cause after I drink it I feel a lot better. I guess it’s like placebo effect, but I get—I feel a lot better after I drink this, uh, black herbal tea.”

End Transcript – 

My informant did a fairly thorough job of explaining the significance of this herbal remedy. It is interesting to note that as a pre-Med student, she values science and scientific proof for different practices, but that she does still believe in the tea as a type of medicine, which can point to the either the value of the placebo effect or the fact that while herbal remedies may not have any scientific backing, they can still be valid and useful. The fact that it does seem to work is a big part of the reason why her family taught it to her and why she still makes it and drinks it.

Humor

Iced Tea

Form of Folklore:  Humor

Informant Bio:  The informant was born and raised in Glendale, California.  Most of the folklore he has been exposed to comes primarily from his father, who is of Arabic decent.  Other folklore has been attained either through media sources (i.e. Reddit) or through personal life experiences in America.

Context:  The interview was conducted in the living room of another informant’s house in the presence of two other informants.

Item:    A man walks into a cafe and asks the person working there if he has iced tea.  The person says, “No we don’t” and the guys says “Ok” and leaves.  The next day, he comes back and asks the same thing:  “Do you have any iced tea?”  The person says, “No, I’m sorry, we don’t”; the guy leaves.  Comes back the third day, comes back the fourth day, fifth day, sixth day, does it over and over… until the seventh day, the cafe worker finally decides:  I should get some iced tea for him, so he makes some iced tea.  And when the guy shows up and says, “Do you have any iced tea?”  He says, “Yes I do!”  He says, “Ok, warm some up for me.”

Informant Comments:  After telling this joke, the informant immediately tried to redeem this joke by saying that it is funnier in Arabic.  He thinks it is a light joke that is based on the few times when customers are being difficult, but no one event in particular.  Even though most people do not laugh at the joke, the informer thinks it is fun to tell, simply to see people’s reactions.

Analysis:  Irony and repetition play a big part in this joke.  The customer repeatedly appears every day of an entire week until the cafe worker finally decides (on the seventh day) to get the customer what he believes is what the customer wants.  Once the seventh day comes, the customer asks for iced tea again and is told there is iced tea, but to the worker’s disappointment the customer asks him to heat it; thus, making hot tea, which was always available.  This irony is the actual punch line and is the reason why the worker would get frustrated with the difficult customer and would even roll their eyes at him.  It is clear that people identify with the worker more than the customer because the reactions of the people being told the joke is similar to the worker’s reaction to the customer’s request to heat up the iced tea.

general

“Take tea with lemon and honey for a sore throat.”

“Take tea with lemon and honey for a sore throat.”

This is a remedy that has been passed down from generation to generation in my informant’s family. Whenever he has a sore throat, his mother has always recommended drinking hot tea with lemon and honey; his mother had learned this from her mother, and the remedy keeps going back in generations.
Although tea with lemon and honey does not seem to have any medical reason for making sore throats better, it is probably the combination of hot, sweet, and sour tastes that alleviate the pain in the throat. Like most folk remedies, anything that seems to produce results is constantly reused and recommended, and this is probably how the tea has become a go-to solution for sore throats in my informant’s family.

Folk Beliefs
Folk medicine

Icky Tea

The informant talked about a folk remedy she learned from her mother and passed on to her children.
“You make it at the first sign of cold symptoms: scratchy throat, watery eyes, aches.
It is equal parts bay leaf, sage, and cinnamon. The cinnamon at the bottom gets all slimy like snot.
I had drank all the water at every rest stop from utah to minnesota and I had got some sort of water sick or something. Originally it had cayenne pepper and lemon in it too. That was practically un-drinkable. Now we separate it out into cayenne and lemon then the tea.
My grandma said if I didn’t get better in 12 hours, they’d take me to the hospital because I was like, 12 and really sick. But we upped the dose and I she got better really quick.
Now we take the cayenne as a pill,  drink lemon-honey tea and do the rest of the icky tea in a cup.”

No one quite knows what about this works but, I tried it last time I was sick and it worked like a charm.

[geolocation]