Tea - Elevenses, Afternoon Tea and High Tea
It has been customary here that around the 11 o’clock mark one would tend to get a little peckish. Having assumed that breakfast was taken around 6:30ish, ones stomach may need a little attention. In schools this term became ‘tea break’, when there was a break in class time for a drink and little snack, but is still kept around this time.In our popular children's literature it has often been sited as a very important part of ones day. Two examples (from our beloved British Bear characters!) of elevenses being a talking point are Winnie the Pooh, who was known to prefer honey on bread with condensed milk. He is also said to have coined the word "smackerel", having an equivalent meaning to 'elevenses'.
An Afternoon Tea, with finger sandwiches, scones and sweetmeats is usually taken between 3 and 5pm for Afternoon Tea (or between 5 and 6 for High Tea).
As the vast majority of Brits have working hours that do not allow for such extravagances on a daily basis anymore, this tradition is often kept to special social occasions or treats at a charming hotel or tea house with ones girlfriends, parents or aunties for some civilized refreshment with lashings of gossip!
In the mid 1800’s, the Duchess of Bedford began taking mid afternoon tea with the finest bread and butter. Little did she know that the custom would be embellished, become more grand and remain fashionable long after she had passed. Whether served in a high society establishment in the middle of London (Claridges anyone?) or even in the comfort of your own home, this elegant pastime is a great way to keep up a tradition that adds a touch of nostalgic glam to an everyday affair. Scones with clotted cream, cucumber sandwiches and the finest Battenburg or Victoria sponge all make an appearance.
More tea anyone?