As a child, I was a very late bloomer. In fact I had to repeat the third grade because phonics just made no sense to me and reading was likewise a great mystery. A stay in the hospital when visitors brought me rafts of comic books helped me learn to read. If it wasn’t for Richie Rich and Aquaman, I’d probably still be illiterate. 🙂
But once I got the hang of reading, it became my lifeline. I read every horse novel in existence. Then when I was 13 and allowed to use the adult section of the library, I discovered Regency Romance written by the queens of that genre- Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. Oh my goodness, talk about life altering.
In those novels folks were regularly at teas together. Over the years, I’ve had the great pleasure of taking tea in many fine establishments. And I’ve hosted a few of my own. I love the tradition of slowing down in the afternoon to sip a cup of hot sweet tea with lemon- my current favorite is a lavender flavored tea.
Lately I’ve been researching the period in depth for my next novel- The Last Broken Promise, and I’ve learned that the tower of goodies usually served with the tea is not exactly historically accurate.
Below you’ll see what the typical Regency lady would have served at her tea. And though none of the dainties are covered in chocolate or filled with crème, they would have been satisfying and they would have most certainly let the conversation and fellowship shine instead of the food.
Here is a typical Regency tea menu:
Rose congou (Chinese black tea scented with roses)
Bohea (Chinese large-leaf black tea) or Pekoe (known as “orange pekoe”)
Hyson (Chinese large-leaf green tea)
Sliced bread (homemade or country-style) or Toasted English Muffins
Fresh unsalted butter
Thin slices of Pound Cake or Seed Cake
Sounds kind of sparse, doesn’t it? I’ve had success serving hot biscuits with real butter and strawberry jam at teas. I just use the frozen biscuits. They come out great every time. My gg-mother made tea cakes. It’s not what you serve, I think it’s the chance to spend time with those you love that’s important.
Hope you get to take tea with your near and dear sometime real soon. LNF, Grace