Wednesday, May 26, 2010

“Taking Tea With Elegance”

I have always been fascinated by the Victorian era. Sometimes I thought it would be fun to have lived in that era, dressing up in elegant dresses with our hair done up high on our heads, daintily sipping cups of tea and eating cucumber sandwiches. But that’s me day dreaming for you. I have done a bit of research on the Victorian term “Taking Tea” and it has been fascinating to learn what this term means and how to “properly” take tea.

Afternoon tea was invented by Anna Duchess of Bedford (1783-1857), one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting. Anna was quite fond of taking tea and petite-sized cakes in her boudoir during the late afternoon hours. Many followed the Duchess' lead, and thus the ritual of afternoon tea was birthed.

{Anna Duchess}

By the end of the 19th century, taking afternoon and high tea was a daily ritual, complete with rules of etiquette that could make or break a lady of consequence.

Here is some Etiquette to “Taking Tea”

1. First and foremost never hold your cup with your pinkie finger extended. This is improper and in most social settings is considered rude. Place your index finger into the handle of the cup up to the knuckle while placing your thumb on the top of the handle to secure the cup. The bottom of the handle should then rest on your third finger. The fourth and fifth fingers should curve back towards your wrist.

2. At one time it was traditional to pour the milk into the cup before the tea. This was done to prevent the glaze on delicate tea cups from cracking. We do not have that problem today, so add the milk after the tea so that you can judge how much to use based on the colour change.

3. When stirring your tea, be careful not to clink your spoon against the cup. Gently swish the spoon back and forth without touching the sides of the cup. When through stirring, remove the spoon and place it on the saucer behind the tea cup and to the right of the handle. Of course, never take a drink of your tea without removing the spoon first, and please never, ever sip from the spoon.

4. If seated at a table, do not lift the saucer (this is only proper if standing; then lift the saucer with the cup.) When you taking a sip of tea do not look around at the other guests, but lower your eyes so you can see what you’re doing and not spill your tea down the front of your blouse or dress.

5. When your cup is low try to avoid the temptation of swirling the tea in the cup. How embarrassing if some should happen to slosh onto the tablecloth and we all know how easily tea can stain.

 {I can imagine myself here on a beautiful spring day sipping a nice cup of tea}

Imagine us GEN Y's trying not to clink our spoons against our tea cups and trying not to spill our tea down the front of our blouse! Ha. Maybe I'm not made for that era........  Anyway I will continue this topic of 'Taking Tea' in further blogs with hopefully some great recipes to show you to create your own 'High Tea'. Until then....

Happy Sipping

Simply Tea

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Happy Sipping.....

Simply Tea


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