The first time my mom and I watched the movie “Babette’s Feast,” I was around 12 years old. It was a rainy Saturday night in Portland and we were curled up on the bed in the guest room/second tv room in our house on Crestdale Dr. My sister was in the living room engrossed by the Disney channel and a pile of legos and left us alone. I can’t remember where my dad was, he may have been upstairs watching the third tv (it makes me think of that line in “Back to the Future” when Marty mentions that their family has two tvs when he has traveled back in time, and one of Lorraine’s brothers comments with awe in his voice, “Two television sets, you must be rich!” Tvs were just about the only thing my family was rich in).
“Babette’s Feast” is a lovely movie that starts out simply and then embarks on a journey of joy. But that’s not why it stands out in my mind. I remember it as a movie where they drank a lot of tea. So much so, that about half way through, my mom and I paused the movie and headed for the kitchen to brew our own mugs of the stuff.
I’m thinking about tea these days, because I’ve recently switched from coffee in the morning to vast quantities of Earl Grey. My family has always been one of coffee drinkers (except for the period of time when my mother gave up coffee for chamomile tea, those were not pretty days), so I don’t have specific associations with coffee the way I do with tea. When the tall, plastic travel mug is sitting in from of me, lid off, steam wrapping it’s ribbons towards my nose and eyes, I am taken back to that night, sitting on the bed with my mom, watching the movie and drinking tea.