Quick Recipes and Easy

Afternoon Tea, Anyone?

Just saying ” afternoon tea” in England, makes one’s mouth water, and thoughts of scones and crumpets dance in my head.

There are rules of etiquette to follow at a formal afternoon tea. The tea -server pours the tea while seated amongst their guests. The server questions ” Sugar, one lump or two?” then proceeds to place the sugar in the cup. Then they will question” Milk or lemon?”
The milk is poured before the tea, and for lemon-takers, a plate upon which there are thinly sliced lemons with a small fork, is offered.
After handing the cup to the guest, hot water is on hand, for those who like a weaker solution.

After the tea is served, the guests select from a wonderful array of pastries on the table or tiered cake stand.

Each guest takes a napkin, which is folded beside them on a small plate, and a butter knife for spreading jam, cream or sweet butter.

It is considered an honor to be ‘ guardian of the teapot’ , a position which implies trust and excellent social graces.

At a large tea party, the food may be set out on trestle tables, set with silk runners, or perhaps, lace.

This way, people can help themselves and sit wherever they like. If you happen to be a bit awkward and have difficulty in balancing the cup, saucer, plate piled with goodies, knife and napkin, -don’t worry! dropping crumbs and spilling tea are initiation rites, part of the enjoyment of the ceremonial pomp!

At four o’clock, chimes toll the glory of afternoon tea. The British are known for stopping everything
in deference to this ceremony.

A formal tea might call for starched white napkins, while less formal may have tables covered in prints with a complimentary colored table skirt. What really accents the smooth table linens, is the food.
Sometimes all you need are white lace doilies for place mats.

Just reckon of crumpets lathered in butter, scones lavished with real Devon cream and homemade jam,
tea breads brimming with fresh and dried fruits, tall standing cakes, flaky scones, tart jams, lemon curds, and you will start to know why the British are in like, with their Afternoon Tea!!!.

If you ever read any of Dicken’s books these names may be familiar to you;
Singing Hinnies, Wigs, Pickletts, Quire of Paper, Stout Rascals , Bosworth, Jumbles, Parkins, Melting Moments, and Trumpington Ladies.

These curiously named cookies and sconelike cakes are perfectly presented when piled high on cake stands or large wicker trays, lined with pretty napkins.

In winter, often teas were served beside a crackling fire, where the tea trolley lords it over the hearth.

Guests would toast “english muffins” over the fire, and then cover them with loads of dripping butter and perhaps preserves or marmalade.

For a resplendent tea, serve cookies, jam lathered scones, and fruit tarts on a tiered plate. You could also add a Strawberry Charlotte and sandwiches to complete the menu.

In winter, a cozy fireside tray laden with oven-baked scones, can invoke warm feelings of indulgence and chase the winter blues away, even if just for an afternoon.

So if you are looking to entertain your guests in excellent ancient English tradition, then you could not do better than to serve them ” Afternoon Tea!”

Inviting someone to tea is a custom which speaks of friendship, comforting foods, and a drink that warms the heart.

Ena Clewes is an author of small tales and is an avid Organic Gardener.



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