It’s an old English tradition to have afternoon tea, usually between a close group of friends who want to have a catch up, gossip and occasionally just skip the tea and move onto the Wine!
The idea of Afternoon tea is it’s a snack, served between lunch and the evening meal. Hence the confusion between Lunch/Dinner, Dinner/Tea.
A little history lesson, it’s Luncheon (Lunch for short), served between 11:30 and 12:30, Tea is at 4pm, and Dinner was served in the upper houses at around 7. Supper was rarely served, but when it was it was a very light meal.
So, with expensive and exotic teas becoming more and more fashionable, along with the more quaint and less loutish behaviours among some of society, why not take a look into hosting a tea party? They’re brilliant for catching up with old friends you don’t see very often, or even set up, or host a book club once a month? Book Clubs are also more popular now. You don’t have to be a complete snob to host a fine lunch. Simply make sure you’re prepared with the following:
-Matching Cups, Saucers, Cutlery, Cake and Sandwich Stands, Glasses and Teapot. Also Linen Napkins.
– Cakes, Scones, Biscuits, White and Brown Bread (we’ll get to that), Vegetarian Options, Cream, Jam and Preserves.
– Tea of course.
Now this may sound absurd, but a lot of planning goes into an afternoon tea, and the host has to think long and hard about their guests. Are any vegetarian? Jewish? Muslim? Hindu?
A lot has to go into what you provide, and although the rules are a lot more relaxed now, it is still advisable to try and stick to the rules of; Nothing too filling, nothing too spicy and nothing too bland.
Something I find is always good, is to take tea myself, get inspiration. After all, Cucumber Sandwiches are dull. There are all kinds of interesting fillings that don’t have to be pretentious, and the classics are always pleasers. Salmon and Cucumber, Tuna and Mayonnaise, Roasted Ham. But you can put a spin on things. How about Corned Beef? Or Roasted Chicken with Stuffing. Have a salad bowl to hand too. If you have veggie guests, there’s more to life than Egg Mayo. Spice it up a bit, how about Curried Quorn sandwiches? Have a play with ideas.
You should never need a reason to see friends, but it does help if you want to get them all together for them to have a reason for them to come to you!
Finally, remember, you don’t have to bake everything from scratch, just ensure it’s presented well, and that it’s freshly made that morning and kept covered in the fridge before serving.
So dust off that dinner set, and get looking at having a few friends around for a civilized get together that doesn’t revolve around drinking yourselves into oblivion or going out dressed like you’re about to moonlight in a strip club.