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How to pour a proper cup of English tea

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DREAMWORKS /Album/Newscom

(Read caption) Wallace won Lady Campanula Tottington's heart over a proper cup of tea in 'The Curse of a Were-Rabbit.'

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With the modern-day luxury of TiVo, watching the royal wedding will not require getting up at the crack of dawn. So if you decide to pass on a full English breakfast and instead host an afternoon tea party to celebrate the royal nuptials, I have a few tips to ensure that the way you serve your tea will be properly English.

Notice I did not say "British." I learned how to pour my tea just west of London. And it seems that while all the good people living in the Mother Country are under one banner now, I certainly do not want to claim that I know how the Welsh or the Scots and some of the Irish serve their tea.

I have some authority on this topic because serving tea "the proper way" was beaten into me when I lived in England for a time after college. Serving English tea doesn't require wearing a fancy hat, or holding your pinky out just so. Let's lay those clich├ęs to rest right now. But here are a few bits of insider knowledge that will make your tea serving experience royally approved.

Step One: Boil water
Most English people I have observed do not boil their tea water on the stove top in a whistling tea kettle. Instead they use electric kettles which roar to a boil in about 3 minutes. I love this, and tosses out the old kitchen wisdom of "a watched pot never boils."

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