Friday, February 6, 2009

High Tea or Afternoon Tea?

During the industrial revolution the Victorian era working class people enjoyed evening meals of prepared foods such as cold meats, pickles, cheese, bread and butter and good hot tea. Long, hard days at work made this a necessary way to get a meal on the table fast. This meal was eaten at what we know as our dining room table. The "high table" gave the meal the name "high tea".

Remember that Afternoon Tea was eaten at low tables in nice comfy chairs. This was a social time in the late afternoon between the light noon lunch and late dinner. Mostly enjoyed by the upper class, sweets and savories were served with hot tea. Finger sandwiches satisfied the tummy while sweets lifted the spirits.

If you go to a tea room in the USA you may notice a "common mistake" made using the term "high tea" when the appropriate "afternoon tea" would be correct. Often after a tea room opens and knowledge and research are persued, there will be a correction made on the menu. Since "afternoon tea" is labor intensive (unless heaven forbid they buy at Sams Club) expect to pay $15.00 t0 $50.00 or more depending upon whether you are at a small tea room or a grand hotel.

Valentine's Day is a great time to find a lovely tea room near you...Check out these websites to see what is nearby: and http://


ellen b. said...

Love the education here Bernideen. I guess I'll be having an Afternoon Tea next wednesday but what do I call it if we are meeting at 11:00 am?
:0) Have a great weekend.

Bernideen said...

I would still call it Afternoon Tea because in the USA the name denotes more about the food than the time served.

Bernideen said...

That is as long as finger sandwiches, savories and sweets with tea or there!

Vintage Linen Treasures said...

Hi Bernideen,
BEAUTIFUL tablescape. My was immediately drawn to the layers of beautiful linens. I can't help myself! That's always the first thing I see. Then off course, I noticed the gorgeous tea set.
Great post as always!
Patricia :o)

PS: I updated your blog info on my side bar. Thank you for letting me know!

Lady Katherine said...

I love all the layers on the table, the purple is so refreshing. Second time I seen purple used this week. Very lovely

~CC Catherine said...

Bernideen, What a lovely visit and interesting post! Totally love learning as much tea history as I can. I have many tea books, but not enough time to read them all like I'd like to. My newest one is "A Year of Teas at the Elmwood Inn by Shelley & Bruce Richardson. I purchased an autographed copy from which is a lovely escape for a delightful tea in the historic section of Clarksville, GA. Dea Irby is the owner and a deightful soul Clarksville, GA is about a 2 hour trip from downtown ATL. I go there often and each time I'm delightfully surprised. The first time I went there was a table of 3-4 generations of Grandmothers, Mother, and her two little precious girls. The little ones ordered Peanut Butterfly Sandwiches. When Dea served them at the table, she sang this adorable song and the Peanut Butterfly sandwiches slowly flew and perched upon the table in front of them. I was as much in awe as the little girls. During that very first visit and seeing this "sentimental" setting with the generations of women, tears streamed down my face to think of what it would be like when I bring my first granddaughter to a formal tea in a tea boutique like Dea's at Baron York. On December 18, '09, my little namesake grandchild, a little girl...was born. For Mother's Day this year, we're going to tea. Even though she won't sip from her teency Royal Albert Country Roses collectible cup from the 60's that I bought her for her first Christmas, I'll take lots of pics to share! ;) Blessings Bernideen..come by to catch my PINKNIQUE Share today! ;) ~CC Catherine

Kathy said...

I loved reading about high tea, Bernideen! Very interesting and informative. The table you've shown is gorgeous!