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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mothers Day: British Tea at Court

Well, MY Darlings!

Happy Mothers Day!

I was really busy organizing the kitchen staff for this event, and so much preparation, I had hardly time to take 'cat-nap' let alone write.

I'm sure there are plenty of you that can relate - phew (yawn - paw over face)!

My kingdom kitchen was a hub of activity, like a cat finding a mice-hole ...then all of them scattering in all directions.  A bit like humans....there's a thought!!! I just stand back, point and (giggle)!  I have decided to write a little about British culture, and art of "Afternoon-Tea".  My ancestors are an eclectic mix.  The orange is a give away (Scottish), brown tabby and calico. Is that like comparing Scottish to Welsh. Got to watch those 'gene mixes'.  Just ask my human companion, she's all of that and sometimes gets called "Loch Ness" (side-ways grin - we know about interesting characteristics amongst the genes).  I'm interviewing my human companion on what she knows about tea.  Anyway....lets move on....got to keep the readers happy LOL)!  

British Culture: Afternoon Tea

       
I guess the kitchen staff was on break?
It is common practice to acquaint the British with tea drinking, that is very true.  If you could see how much my human companion drinks I swear. she has one hand glued to the kettle and tea pot at once (much like me when I am hugging my kibble).




Since the 18th century the British have been the largest per capita tea consumers in the world, with each person    consuming on average 2.5 kg per year
 
Proper Tea is served with milk.
Tea, which was an upper-class drink in Europe, became the infusion of every class in Great 

Britain in the course of the 18th century and has remained so. 
 
Mother Day fit for a Queen






As tea spread throughout the United Kingdom in the 19th century, people started to lay out tea and hold tea dances. The tea gardens lost value after World 

War II but tea dances are still held today in the United Kingdom.  Though my families generation we know this to be true.  In Britain tea is usually black tea served with milk (never cream; the cream of a "cream tea" is clotted cream served on scones, usually with strawberry jam, a tradition originating from Devon and Cornwall). 
Cream Tea with Clotted Cream
   
An elevenses is a snack that is similar to afternoon tea, but eaten in the morning, you guessed it darlings..that's right at 11:00 a.m. no trick here!! It is generally less savory than brunch, and might consist of some cake or biscuits with a cup of coffee or tea.  
"Hi"Cream Tea with Scones
I remember being in a shop in England where the whole village stood still in time! It was 11:00 a.m and everyone stopped for tea. 
They really take their tea seriously (like cats do with chicken or fish)!

My human shared many stories of her childhood in England, her maternal grandmother had 'hi-tea' with white table cloth, tea served in bone china tea pot with real loose tea... (tea bags were not invented but considered.....as sweeping off the floor). She remarked of having her first afternoon tea experience when she was 8 in a hotel.  




Afternoon tea: is a small meal snack typically eaten between 2pm and 5pm. The custom of afternoon tea originated in England in the 1840s. At the time, the various classes in England had a divergence in their eating habits. The upper classes typically ate luncheon at about midday and dinner (if not eschewed in favor of the later supper) at 8:00 pm or later, while the lower classes ate dinner at about 11:00 am and then a light supper at around 7:00 pm. For both groups, afternoon tea filled a gap in the meals. 

 
Downton Abbey:
Mrs. Patmore and Staff prepare

While visiting Belvoir Castle, Anna Maria, Duchess of Bedford, is credited as the first person to have transformed afternoon tea in England into a late-afternoon meal rather than simple refreshment.


The term “high tea” was used as a way to distinguish it from afternoon tea. Though it is often stated that the words "low" and "high" refer to the height of the tables from which either meal was eaten, the term for the later meal actually relates to the usage of "high" as in the phrase "it's high time". Afternoon tea was served in the garden where possible; otherwise it was usually taken in a day room, library or salon where low tables (like a coffee table) were placed near sofas or chairs generally (hence the fallacy about it being low tea).    It reminds me a little of Downton Abbey, this is how I run my kingdom! LOL.

Well my Darling, after all that I deserve a saucer of milk with Sr. Sammy..........more on tea next time!

2 comments:

  1. Dear Diva,

    Thanks for your edifying article about high tea... definitely my preference. I love tea, especially with a pastry... :)
    Best Wishes,
    Nina

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  2. Dear Sr. Girl:
    "Spot on" as they say in the UK. Thank you such for your gratifying comments. Next time you are in town please visit, we shall prepare a special high-tea to have in court!

    Best Wishes and special regard to your friend Toulouse.

    Diva

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