Welcome to letter A and to this year’s Theme:
Consider this your invitation to join in the glories of tea during April, the month of the AtoZ Blog Challenge. Using the 26 letters of the alphabet, you will find that our time together will cover different aspects of the long tradition of drinking tea. Art, china, recipes, hotels, mysteries. Even if you prefer coffee, I hope the breath of the subject will bring you back while out blog hopping. I’m delighted to entertain you with information, friendship, and lovely tea parties. Let’s begin by remembering our first teacups as little people, be they tin like mine or china that was hard to break.
Afternoon tea is not the same as high tea. “High tea was what servants of a large house ate at around 6pm after the upstairs had been given their afternoon tea. The servant’ s menu would include a large joint of meat, slices of thick bread, potted shrimps, a big cake to share, and ale. It was eaten at a proper table, rather than a lower, coffee table, and so it became known in the servants’ hall as ‘high tea’.” You are familiar with an afternoon tea that has a variation of tea sandwiches, scones, and something sweet.
To this day I drink my tea with milk and sugar as I did when a child. In England, this is known as ‘white’ tea. We will learn more about Etiquette in a few days, but while on the subject, do you add milk in first or last? The proper custom is to add the milk last, although the servants of a large house who used to drink from unrefined clay mugs which could crack when hot tea was poured, added milk in, before the tea was poured to act as a coolant. Those above the stairs of the house drank from fine bone china or porcelain so the hot tea wasn’t a problem. For the letter, B we will talk about bone china. Do join me.
“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
Henry James The Portrait of a Lady