My favorite time of day is tea time, which is really all the time for me. Tea makes everything better and it brings people together. When you think about any culture where tea is prevalent, it's a symbol of hospitality. Guests are welcomed with tea, and everyone sits around enjoying the company and little treats to go with the tea and banter. You can't be angry when you're drinking tea. Like the monks who used to meditate with tea (and still do), tea brings us peace. Plus, you don't want to accidentally spill all that hot liquid peace on yourself or anyone else for that matter. Can you imagine being angry over tea and chucking your tea cup at someone? No, save your anger for your cocktails. But where does the afternoon tea tradition come from?
People have been enjoying tea in the company of others with light snacks for a long time. Long before the English made afternoon tea a thing. But we have the English to thank for tea with little mini sandwiches, scones, and other treats. Gosh, I do love tea sandwich!
For this tradition, we have the seventh Duchess of Bedford to thank. The year was 1840, and the duchess oft found herself hungry at 4 o' clock in the afternoon. Dinner was typically served at 8 in the evening. So, there was a ridiculous amount of time between lunch and dinner. Who wouldn't be hungry?
Thus, she asked that tea be brought to her with bread and butter, and a slice of cake during the late afternoon. As this became a habit of hers, she started inviting friends around to join her for her afternoon tea and eventually it evolved into a fashionable social event. It moved from the comfort of her boudoir to the drawing room where ladies would come dolled up, and eventually it even moved outside to the garden during summer months where the men started joining in on afternoon tea. Once a light snack, it evolved into a fully indulgent experience. Now, I couldn't imagine life without little crust-less sandwiches and scones accompanying my tea.
And that's the tea!
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