July 13, 2020
Melissa received a text from a friend commenting on teacups. Most cups either have no design or only have the design on the right side of the cup, allowing the right-handed drinker to enjoy the design. Left-handed people can still use these cups but will not be able to see the design. I checked on the internet and found several sites celebrating left-hand cups, usually with some comment about lefties being best. Here the saying is still on the right side so others can enjoy your witticism.
My mother has been a tea drinker most of her life. She does not like coffee and even says cups used for coffee retain the coffee oils and she can always tell it is not a “tea” cup. One of the things mom and dad liked to do as they traveled was partake of “afternoon tea” (I read calling it “high tea” was gouache and the Queen merely calls it “tea”). This is generally served around four o’clock but is “acceptable” from two to four. The tea is usually accompanied by three courses. This begins with tiny tea sandwiches which can be eaten in two or three bites. Next scones are served with or without jam or butter. Finally, the Tea is completed with a light pastry.
Legend has it that afternoon tea was started in the mid-1800’s by the Duchess of Bedford. The new kerosene lamps in wealthier homes brought the fashion of eating a late dinner. Apparently, the Duchess got hungry in the afternoon and invited friends over to enjoy a light snack and tea. This became fashionable and spread across high society to become the favorite pastime of ladies of leisure. It has since spread to other socioeconomic groups as well.
THOUGHTS: I once shared afternoon tea with my parents in a swanky hotel. I am not much of a tea drinker, so I ordered coffee (faux pas). The tea only came with four cookies, for the three of us. The cups were small, and the waiter asked if I would like a “refill.” My dad gasped as I said, sure! I later found out my refill cost an additional $5. At least it went better than my sister who ordered tea at a fast food chain. When it arrived, it was a cup of coffee with a tea bag in it. My mother would have died. Checking on the origin of Tea made me realize this emphasized the division between the classes in England and the Empire. The poor had neither the kerosene for lamps or the idle time to sit and drink afternoon tea. It makes me think about what traditions we use to create division today. Change is coming and it starts with you.
One thought on “Tea”
One of my favorite memories is having high tea at the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC with Grandma, your mom and dad, and Ellie. It was a nice way to spend an afternoon.