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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The art of tea

Tea is an underrated meal. Matter of fact, it seems odd to call it a meal. Today being a family birthday, we had tea at the Wolseley in Piccadilly. There was tea in proper teapots. Arrayed on one of those triple decker spinner plates were sandwiches with the crusts removed, scones with jam and cream and a medley of little cakes. Afterwards we wandered up Bond Street and looked in the windows of shops that were safely closed. Once home we opened presents and ate some absurdly expensive Beaufort cheese with a bottle of Nyetimber. This is sparkling wine from Sussex. I am in a position to tell you that it's very good indeed. Knocked sideways by its quality, some of our party have already turned in. I shall do the same once this Everton and Liverpool game is over. This may, of course, be early by your standards. But that's the great thing about tea. It's at tea time.

16 comments:

  1. Lovely post - it's like 'Rene & Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War' as written by a northern man

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  2. Did you manage to stay awake long enough to witness ITV not boradcasting the only goal of the game live?

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  3. While travelling between the TV at the top of the house and the TV downstairs I managed to miss it. But so did ITV.

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  4. Should get Setanta, they have supersub David Fairclough doing the "colour".
    As for tea, I would have called that high-tea but we're now getting into the Maconie/Bennett, tea/dinner, north/south, dichotomy.

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  5. Now surely "high tea" involves something cooked - like ham

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  6. Ham and eggs would be high tea,
    dainty sandwiches and little cakes is afternoon tea,
    tea tea is what you have at tea-time.

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  7. Tea is what I had for 'dinner' when I got home from school, but we were common.

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  8. Afternoon tea is what we had. When I wor a kid we had tea at dinnertime and dinner at lunchtime. We never had lunch at all. And as for supper that was a couple of digestives and something milky. Not something involving Chicken Kiev and Cabernet Sauvignon as it does nowadays.

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  9. Yup tea was what you had with the theme of Nationwide on in the background.
    Fish fingers , beans and chips.
    Cuppa and a penguin.

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  10. Surely you had a "spot" of tea! It does sound good and yes all southerners are wrong about the order of meals in the day and they should have the grace to shut up and admit it.

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  11. Heathens!

    It's breakfast at 8.00, luncheon at 1.00, afternoon tea at 4.00, and dinner at 8.00pm.

    Maintaining such a ritual is what separates us from the hoi polloi.

    (Cocktails may be taken at 6.00pm if desired)

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  12. Tiffin and Elevenses, sadly overlooked as usual

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  13. Bugger. Should have looked at Wikipedia before posting again.

    "Elevenses: In the United Kingdom and some other Commonwealth realms, elevenses is a snack that is similar to afternoon tea, but eaten in the morning. It is generally less savoury than brunch, and might consist of some cake or biscuits with a cup of tea. The name refers to the time of day that it is taken".

    More complicated that I imagined

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  14. Stuart Maconie wrote a wonderful piece in his book Pies and Prejudice about when he first came to London and was invited to somebody's house for "supper". I recall he idly speculated about arriving as he would normally be dressed when eating his "supper"....in his dressing gown.

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  15. Tea is one of the arts of being English (not British). That the rules are not written or even clear makes it very much like the Constitution, and very much like the Constitution, it works. Interestingly, tea shares something with pornography, in that "I don't know what it is, but I know it when I see it."

    And if you think this is all too complicated by far, you should try explaining all this in Brazil. A country that has a written constitution, no less.

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  16. Ah. The dinner/lunchtime thing. Like you, David, as a Lancastrian (there's trouble at' t' mill...!) I also had dinner at mid-day and tea at teatime, as a young 'un. When I moved south in 1992 to work for a certain Peterborough publisher not unknown to you, I was sniffed at by a certain southern media breed for my non-u reference to 'dinner' at noon. As ever, northerners are in the right, I would point out - after all, we don't have 'lunch ladies' in the south do we? Nope. We still have 'dinner ladies.' QED. Lovely post, btw. Found myself humming Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day' as I read it a second time....

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