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

Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 min­utes.

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.


2 thoughts on “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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