Confession. I have a strong addiction to coffee, specifically extra bold Starbucks French roast, a robust saucy little wench of a coffee I grind daily for my morning jug 'o java. I even have an old-fashioned hand grinder in case the power goes off and I have no way to make coffee.
I tried giving it up after being forced to by the clinic where I endured some tests, but after a week (of the shakes, sweats and heebie jeebies) I decided to wean myself back on because dammit, I missed my mother's little helper. And by wean, I mean I started back with half-caf, which I quickly realized was as stupid as attempting to become half-pregnant. If I was going to drink it, I wasn't going to be a caffeine weanie. Be bold, said I! So I returned to the "deepest, darkest" roast described by the kings of coffee as "liquid smoke" (oh baby, baby.) The beans are so dark and oily, that when they're roasted, the smoke rises off them in heavy clouds like "spooky dry ice" according to Roaster Brad from Seattle. I like this Brad guy.
And I was told the darker the beans, the less caffeine they contain, ergo, pas de guilt on my part.
When my doctor asked me how much coffee I drank, I gave him the honest truth. (I had to. His wife/nurse reads this blog.) One cup every morning, sometimes two if it's say, a Monday. (I hate Mondays.) I thought I might get away with my subterfuge, but unfortunately for me he pursued it and asked me if I meant a cup as in 8 ounces or a cup as in mug, and if it was the latter, how big was this alleged mug. Damn, he was onto me.
To justify my addiction, I started collecting giant mugs and tea cups like the ones below. Just to give you an idea of scale, the cup on the left is the standard issue with china sets. Btw, does anyone ever actually use these cups and saucers for anything other than melting butter for pancakes or scooping out dog kibble? (I dare not show you the pink cup and saucer I use for tea. My sister, the antiques dealer, claims it's a soup bowl. Phht. She doesn't know from cups and saucers.)
The cup on the right is one of my collectibles from the late 19thC. It shows a large, florid man holding an overflowing cup of ale. It reads:
not fo'getting mesen.
Here's tiv us, all on us. Me and all.
May we nivver want nowt, none on us.
Nor me nawther.
See all. Hear all. Say Nowt.
Eat all, Sup all, Pay nowt.
And if tha does owt for nowt, Allus do for Thisen.
The transfer image shows a man smoking a pipe speaking to a boy smoking a cigarette (who can resist such naughtiness in a mug?) and they're standing in a furnished room along with a cat, dog, fireplace, kettle, etc. On the top rim it says:
SEE ALL, HEAR ALL, SAY NOWT.
And on the lower part, under the sleeping dog, it reads:
EAT ALL, DRINK ALL, PAY NOWT
AND IF EVER THA DOES OUT FOR NOWT
ALLUS DO IT FOR THISEN.
In God is our trust
The Farmers Arms
Let the Wealthy and Great
Roll in splendor and state
I envy them not I declare it.
I eat my own lamb
my chickens and ham
I shear my own fleece and I wear it.
I have lawns I have Bow'rs
I have Fruits, I have flowrs
the Lark is my Morning Alarmer.
So jolly Boys now
Here's God speed the Plough
Long Life and
Success to the FARMER
And of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't include one Carltonware mug with a Canadian slant:
I rang the bell gaily and bowed very low.
I said I'm from Canada,
My how they did stare.
Come right in said Peter,
Your the first one from there.
(That typo in the last line drives me to drink.)