do you think that popeye and olive oyl drank earl grey at tea time?

I DON’T KNOW WHY, but for the past forty or so years I have had my self convinced that I did not like Earl Grey tea! Was it denial? Some form of cognitive dissonance? Just plain stubbornness? Now, the slightly oily, slightly tangy taste beckons me ’round the clock—not that I need constant dosing with caffeine.

I just dig Earl Grey and want to sing hosannas to its and turn on and tune in everyone to its efficaciousness! You know, you hate something once when you’re a kid and decide then and there—when you’re a kid!!!—that you will never ever have it again.


And so you don’t.

This works sometimes: I still carry over a childhood dislike that borders on paranoia about canned red beats and calve’s liver.

You’re old enough

But, pretty much everything else that I hated as a 10-year old, I like today. Being born in 1951, I am an actual member of the post-war “baby boom generation.” This much ballyhooed and over-catered-to generation has been expanded to the point where the term is all but nebulous.

The baby-boom as a response to WWII—which is common and measurable effect in the wake of any major war—should not extend too far past the first few years of the 1950s, regardless of what sociologists and cultural anthropologists on a corporate payroll may claim.

Anyway, like others who were knee-high to a grasshopper in the ’50s, I was raised on a mess of canned thises and pre-packaged thats. So, I grew into young mandom (sic)—and did I just coin a not particularly attractive word?—under the impression that, say, canned spinach was the way that spinach was supposed to taste. Hell, that’s the way Popeye ate it, hennah?

The first time that I had garden fresh spinach (and it was against my will—I had to be coerced by certain promises from a very lovely proto-healthfoodnut—it was a minor religious orgasm! Er, um, that is, I mean, a minor religious epiphany . . . 

Back to the Earl of Grey

But I digress: my cuppa tea is near finished and I have other projects on my desktop awaiting my attention. Just thought I’d turn you onto Tazo as a tea (and herbal beverage) company and Earl Grey as a tasty repast. It is usually a caffeinated tea, as are all REAL teas.

Note that real tea can only be accurately applied to the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. That is why, after decades of mis-informed and therefore mis-informing titling and advertising, many manufacturers of “teas” now refer to them as herbal beverages. Apparently, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world! (More than beer? Say it ain’t so, Joe!) 

Tazo notes that Earl Grey, a black tea (a thé noir) that is a “traditional tea seasoned with the essence of bergamot.” According to Merriam-Webster Online, a bergamot is “a pear-shaped orange of a Mediterranean tree (Citrus aurantium bergamia) having a rind that yields an essential oil used especially in perfumery.” So, my awareness of the tea’s oleaginous after-taste is not imaginary.

(I say this as I do not have a sensitive palate for subtleties in food or beverage.)

(Except beer.)

(Of course.)

Hey! Maybe I just really dig Tazo’s Earl Grey, no? That means next restaurant stop I will have to have their house-brand Earl Grey and see, si? Hmm, I wonder if Pope Francis takes Earl Grey at tea time in the Vatican . . .


Painiting of Brutus/Bluto absconding with Olive Oyl and Popeye in pursuit.

FEATURED IMAGE: Brutus/Bluto attempting once again to make off with the fairest  of them all with our hero Popeye in heated pursuit. I found this neat painting on the internet without an artist’s credit.

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2 Replies to “do you think that popeye and olive oyl drank earl grey at tea time?”

  1. Tazo is alright. I used to keep a tin up at the newsstand. Check out the Earl Grey Bravo from Adagio as an upgrade. Sometime I’ll take you to the Perennial Tea Room in Seattle where your tea education can begin.

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