Like most little girls, I grew up playing Tea Party. Ceramic and plastic tea sets are still some of the most popular toys, if you have daughters or granddaughters, they probably have at least one. I don’t know if you’ve seen a show called Pregnant in Heels, but they had a proper English tea on one episode, serving scones, and Spotted Dick with the tea. I learned the correct pronunciation of scones from that episode. I use to mistakenly say scone with the o sound pronounced as in bone when it’s actually pronounced as in gone.
I learned so much about teas during the demonstration at the Oklahoma Steampunk Exposition, I recently attended. The picture of me above was taken there. We were served cucumber sandwiches, lemon pound cake, devil eggs, scones, cookies, and three types of tea. Our charming, expert hostess also taught us the differences in tea time in England, France, and Germany. For in Germany they usually served coffee and cake while in France they drank chocolate and served cookies or pastries or baguettes with butter and jam.
At an English tea, once everyone is seated, the hostess pours the tea, filling each guest’s cup. The spout of the tea pot faces the hostess or pourer. A tea cup is shallow and wider than a coffee or chocolate cup to give the tea room to temper before drinking. The hostess offers lemons, milk, or sugar for the tea. Milk and lemon are never added to the same cup, as citrus spoils milk. Cream is not offered as it is much too heavy for tea.
An infinite variety of tasty sandwiches may be served at tea, sometimes filled with chicken or turkey salad and cucmber sandwiches are often offered as well. The crust is always trimmed off the bread.
Do not extend your pinkie finger when drinking tea, it is rude. When stirring tea do not clink your spoon against the cup, instead swish it gently to and fro. After stirring, place the spoon on the saucer behind the tea cup. Remove the spoon before drinking your tea. Do not swirl the tea in your cup or you might slosh and stain the tablecloth.
There is specific etiquette for gentlemen attending teas. They must stand when a lady enters or leaves the room, open the door for the ladies, and escort the ladies downstairs to their carriage or cab. One would never expect less of a true gentleman.
I enjoyed sharing my new found knowledge with all you and I wish you all Happy Tea Time
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