Glessela Tea

Historically the hot beverage of choice in Slavic lands was tea.  And perhaps owing to the costliness of ceramic cups, most folks drank their tea in a glass.  And while Mommie Soph sipped her tea from a rather prodigious coffee cup, she referred to it as a glessela tea… which I took to mean a “small glass” of tea… although there was nothing small or glass in her consumption of tea.  Also note the absence of the preposition “of” from the description.  Yiddish probably had a case ending to handle that piece of grammar? Regardless, for Mommie Soph it was a glessela tea. And she continued to follow the Eastern European custom of biting off a piece of a sugar cube, and sipping the tea thru the sugar fragment.

When I went to the Soviet Union in the summers of 1969 and 1970, I saw firsthand that drinking tea from a glass was still going strong in Russia.  I also learned how to properly hold a hot glass of tea: place the thumbs on either side of the lip of the glass, and place the tips of your middle fingers on either side of the base of the glass.  Then use both hands to bring the tea to your mouth, and sip away!

But for more upscale tea drinkers, there are ПОД ЧАЙНИК (pod chainik — under tea “cup”) that are put into play.  The glass meant to fit snugly into the holder. Here is a brass ПОД ЧАЙНИК that I brought back as a gift for Mommie Soph.

For Mommie Soph a device for a holding a glass was no longer required.  Still, it did recall to memory of her shtetl heritage.  There was a proud melancholy there.

I now use a glass for enjoying a cup of Earl Grey (with the added convenience of a connected glass handle).  It’s always nice to think of a connection of generations.

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