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Tea, Cake, Quotes, & the Fingerprints of Writers

Writers have fingerprints. And no, I don’t mean the sort that various government…

Writers have fingerprints.

And no, I don’t mean the sort that various government agencies have on file following the alerts our dubious search histories set off.

I mean constants. Things you know you’ll find when you come back to them, even when the stories and the characters are different. They’re themes, styles, motifs that weave through the tales and mark them, this writer was here. Cressida Cowell’s jokes and sketches. Neil Gaiman’s sly humour and darkly magic characters. The bite behind Terry Pratchett’s laughter. The gentle philosophy of Alexander McCall Smith. They’re things that bring us home to these stories.

And, you know, I have ideas for what I want mine to be. Friendship. Magic. Coexistence. Tolerance. The way in which we are all more the same than we are different (even dragons). These are things that matter to me, things I want to see more of, both on the pages and off.

However, I have come to accept that there really is only one fingerprint in all my work, and it’s a rather smeary one, possibly with crumbs attached.

Cake.

And tea.

tea, cake, quotes, food, funny, writing, books

Many problems are solved with tea and cake in the Kim universe.

Whether it’s Beaufort, Mortimer, and the ladies of the W.I. contemplating Getting Involved in some Investigating over lemon drizzle cake, or Glenda baking custard creams for the Horsemen at the edge of the world, or Gertrude making Victoria Sponge while her scythe leans next to the door, ready to fetch lost souls, there’s always cake. And so much tea I think most of my characters are likely to suffer from caffeine shakes.

Which was not exactly the fingerprint – the style, the theme, whatever you want to call it – I was going for.

tea, cake, quotes, food, funny, writing, books

Quite right.

However.

I’ve talked before about how food is so much more than just sustenance, how it nourishes more than the physical. How we can use it to bridge gaps and cross boundaries, to share cultures and sorrow and joy. And tea is much more than a caffeinated beverage, as well. The very ritual of making a cuppa, even if it’s just a matter of throwing some boiling water on top of a teabag (boiling I said, you heathen with the hot water tap), slows us, centres us, calms us. It can be an act of self care, an act of care for others. It forces a pause, a moment to take stock in a hectic life. It has all the familiarity and comfort of a favourite chair. It’s friendship offered, help given.

If we let it be that, of course.

And having thus talked myself (if not you) around to the point of view that tea and cake matter deeply, I decided that such a thing required a celebration of all things tea and cake, so I’ve rounded up some quotes to justify myself.

Now go make a cup of tea, grab some cake, and enjoy!


tea, cake, quotes, food, funny, writing, books

Weirdly, for someone so reliant on tea, I never drank anything other than hot chocolate until I was in my twenties. Then on a very, very cold yacht delivery from Brighton to Greece I started drinking coffee. Very soon after that I learned the error of my ways, and now travel with a large Ziploc of Yorkshire Tea everywhere I go. One can’t leave these things to chance, you know.

tea, cake, quotes, food, funny, writing, books

Nor should it. Buttered toast is delightful, but only when consumed warm. And while you can microwave your tea, no one wants to. And you definitely can’t microwave your toast. Ew.

tea, cake, quotes, food, funny, writing, books

Every self-respecting spaceship should carry tea. Preferably Yorkshire.

tea, cake, quotes, food, funny, writing, books

I really have nothing to add to this. Unless you’d like a banana cake recipe. I have one of those.

tea, cake, quotes, food, funny, writing, books

It certainly doesn’t. And you should probably have some anyway, just in case. Probably a large serving, because chocolate is good. As are brownies and chocolate cookies.

tea, cake, quotes, food, funny, writing, books

As much as the stories get a little same-y after a while, I keep coming back to the Stephanie Plum books. They’re funny, light reading, and you always know what you’re going to get (fingerprints, you see). Besides, Stephanie really is a woman after my own heart…

tea, cake, quotes, food, funny, writing, books

And Tolkien was all about the dragons, too. So I’m keeping some good company, anyway.

tea, cake, quotes, food, funny, writing, books

Over to you, lovely people – do you have any favourite tea and/or food quotes? What authors do you keep going back to because of certain things you know you’ll always find in their stories? Let me know below!

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  1. These are wonderful quotes, both yours and those of others. A few months ago, I reread The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and now I’m laughing all over again at Arthur’s attempts to have the Heart of Gold make him a decent cuppa.

    I firmly believe that a shared meal is the key to good communication and relationships. At my day job, we even have a monthly staff lunch where we all get together for something simple like pizza and salad, and we just hang out with no business agenda. It’s not one of those dreaded Meetings In Disguise . . . sometimes we play silly games, we always celebrate that month of birthdays (complete with a terribly off-key rendition of the Happy Birthday song), and there’s always a yummy dessert of some type. The whole thing serves as a reminder that we’re all more than coworkers—we’re people, and we’re friends. It certainly makes for a happy workplace, that’s for sure.

    1. kimwatt says:

      I need to re-read that series! I haven’t gone back to it for years, and I keep wanting to. It’s truly, absurdly wonderful. And illustrates the true importance of tea.

      Your day job always sounds pretty amazing – what a fantastic thing to do! No forced team-building exercises or such torture, just actually connecting with each other over good food. It makes so much sense. I think a lot of people underestimate the importance of sharing food (or tea) as a way of spending time together. It’s not really about the food at all.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Tea is life blood for me – I will drink the occasional coffee but it has to be tea. The trouble with dragons is that they drink so much tea one needs to buy sackloads of Yorkshire tea. Tea and toast is a cheer-me-up but I have a sneaking desire for a Victoria sponge or pannetone from time to time…..

    1. Kim M Watt says:

      Tea is truly the substance that holds the universe together. Or my personal universe, anyway. I do love a chai latte on non-dairy milk when I’m out, and the odd cold drip coffee is delightful, but tea is non-negotiable. I feel we need to work out a bulk buy deal with Yorkshire Tea, though. Buying it retail when catering to dragons is most uneconomical…

Comment away! (Points awarded for comments involving cats, tea, or baked goods)

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