A Test for Tea from 1889
|Is your tea real?|
A Russian analyst gives the following as a test by which tea can be proved to be genuine or not. Take a pinch of tea in a glass, pour upon it a little cold water and shake it well. Pure tea will only slightly color the water, while a strong infusion is quickly got trom the adulterated or painted leaf.
Now boil both sorts separately, and let them stand until cool, and the difference between them will be most marked. The false tea will become stronger after a long standing, but will remain transparent, whereas pure tea will become muddy or milky. This last appearance arises from the tannic acid, which is a natural property in pure tea, but which in artificial tea is entirely absent. – Sacramento Daily Union, 1899
Nouveau Riche? Or Old News?
Talk to anyone who's lived or done business in Russia since the fall of the Soviets and you're likely to hear about their obsession with fashion of the Bret Easton Ellis type: labels, labels, labels. Armani, Bulgari, Prada—these are the touchstones by which Russians measure their progress. It's the usual story of the nouveau riche, with the important distinction that there hasn't been old money here since 1917. "Carefully disheveled, that's not a thing here," says Emily Gould, a former Gawker.com editor who lives in Moscow.
But, aside from being a bit of a cliché , the characterization isn't entirely fair, or up-to-date. Gone (mostly) are the days when politicians dressed like gangsters and businessmen flaunted tailored jackets by leaving the sleeve buttons open. Certain styles once considered outré – or effeminate—shorts and flashy dress shirts—are now in style, especially among an emerging subculture of Silicon Valley-style startups. Interior designers once hired to bling out Moscow penthouses now make their living toning them down. You're almost as likely to see a country-style Azeri restaurant as an opulent Belle Époque mirrored palace. All told, there's been an uptick in attention to quality and solidity—a trend that has accelerated during the global downturn. As Andrew Paulson says, ignoring this reality would be "like telling a 12-year-old joke." – Source Conde´Nast Traveler's, 2009, Etiquette 101: Russia, Written by CNTraveler.com
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