14 Days On Clear Fluids – and Hedley’s Earl Grey Tea – Day Six – Food Review

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“Who the hell is Hedley?”

156 hours (6.5 days) without solid food.

Everyone needs one of these.  These, is the little wooden box with a sliding lid that the Hedley’s Earl Grey Ceylon tea came in.  I have no idea how I got this or what it cost since it’s been sitting in the back of the top shelf in one of the kitchen cabinets for at least two years. I must’ve been saving it for now.

This is an excellent tea warm. It has a nice medium strong flavor which reminds me of the tea found in Chinese restaurants.  Even if it has little nutritional value for a diet like this one, having something warm to sip helps to take away any lingering hunger.  Plus, the warmth helps keep an ailing body warm from the inside out.  Haven’t tried this as an iced tea since Tetley has been our iced tea choice for years.  Old habits are tough to kick.

Life is never as simple as it might be so here’s a word about Earl Grey tea.  Earl Grey tea is not a brand.  It’s not even a type of tea.  It’s a story.  Follow this link to read the Wikipedia explanation of what Earl Grey tea is.

Here’s the story briefly.  This tea is named after the second Earl Grey who was the British Prime Minister in the 1830s. You can see the complications starting, because there just can’t be one Earl Grey, we have two. And Earl isn’t even their name(s).  Earl is their title (except the second Earl was also known as Viscount Howick between 1806 and 1807 – huh? – was he hiding from bill collectors?).  The second Earl’s real first name is Charles.  But I suppose Chuck Grey tea doesn’t have the same marketing appeal as Earl Grey.

The story continues. The second Earl was given a gift of tea flavored with oil from the bergamot orange. The Earl was supposedly given the gift for helping to rescue a Chinese bureaucrat’s son from drowning in China.  Of course there’s no record of the Earl ever having visited China.  Further, the bergamot orange is grown in Italy and there’s no record of the orange being in China at the time of the gift.

So we have two Earls, one once going by an alias, saving the life of someone in a place they never visited giving their common title and name to a gift of a tea flavored with an orange which didn’t exist in the area where the gift originated. But hey, if you don’t buy this version, there are a couple of other versions on Wiki.  In conclusion, yes, even back in the 19th century, there were marketing people devoted to making our purchases as painful as possible.

Knowing the above then, Hedley (remember Hedley?) doesn’t make Earl Grey tea.  Hedley makes a version of Earl Grey tea.  Earl Grey tea is supposed to have a hint of orange flavor from the bergamot orange according to the story.  However, there is no orange flavor or aroma I can detect in this tea.  Some internet research confirms it’s not just my possibly defective nose that’s the problem.  Other people have mixed feelings on the orange taste.  Since this orange didn’t exist in China at the time of the gift, does the absence of orange flavor mean this is the real Earl Grey tea and all the other orange flavored Earl Grey teas are fabrications of a fabrication?  Regardless, even if this may not be much of an Earl Grey tea, then for no other reason, buy this for the wooden box (which is probably discontinued by now) and enjoy the tea for what it is, not for what it’s supposed to be, if it’s supposed to be that.

I can’t let go. Two more things.  One, if the gift came from China, why is this tea from Ceylon?  Shouldn’t it come from China?  Further, a company named Hedley doesn’t seem to exist. Hedley is most likely a brand name from Tea Masters Ceylon (located in Sri Lanka – also known as Ceylon for a short time – if the second Earl can change his name, why not a country?).  And that leads us back to the first sentence, “Who the hell is Hedley?”

Things I’m missing day six, Hardee’s Sausage Egg Biscuit. Fewer calories than I thought, but it still has enough to make up for what I’m missing today.

Eight days to go.

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