Articles | Tea & Biscuit
Yada Yada Yada
“Music on Manitou is…a time salute our American heroes.” This article appears in the July 2011 edition
Patriotic to the Cord: Brent Evans/story by Diana Welker
food-fare (local flavors) Doggone Delicious/ story and photos by Diana Welker
ABOVE: Biscuit, my twenty something pound Yorkie pal, that I have tea with everyday. He, however, demands Beggin Strips instead of tea.
While tea was consumed in China as far back as the third millennium BC it didn’t make its way into England until the mid-17th Century. Portuguese and Dutch traders began regular shipments to England by 1610. The East India Company did not capitalize on tea’s popularity until the mid-18th century.
Many historians attribute the popularity of tea in England to Charles the II who grew up in exile at The Hague where tea drinking was the custom. He married Catharine of Braganza and upon her arrival in England to marry Charles II, she brought a casket of tea with her. She became known as England’s first tea-drinking queen.
In England by the 1700′s tea was the national drink and was consumed by all social classes, but as it was ruinously expensive, anything between 16s to 50s per lb., used tea leaves would be dried, rolled, and resold again by the servants of the rich. This was, of course, illegal as was the smuggling of tea which became an industry. Due to heavy taxes being placed on tea, a large quantity of tea was smuggled into Britain from Continental Europe via the Channel Island and the Isle of Man. Another source of smuggled tea came in on ships from Holland and Scandinavia.
Strange as it may be, Thomas Garway, who owned a coffee house in Exchange Alley was one of the earliest to introduce tea to England. He sold both dry and liquid tea as early as 1657. One of his advertisements listed the drink’s virtues as “making the body active and lusty”, and “preserving perfect health until extreme old age.”
The pleasure Gardens of Ranelagh and Vauxhall began serving tea around 1730 and by 1864 a female manager of the Aerated Bread Company began serving food and drink to her customers. Her best customers were favored with tea and soon everyone was requesting the black brew. These tea shops spread like wildfire as they provided a place where an unchaperoned woman could meet her friend and socialize with damaging her reputation.
Afternoon tea drinking became a fashionable event. In an unfinished novel in 1804, Jane Austen hints of an afternoon tea. Anne, Duchess of Bedford, is credited with establishing the afternoon tea tradition. She requested that light sandwiches accompany her beverage. These would relieve the “sinking feeling” during the long hours between meals.
The following Various Tea Times is taken from Etiquette and History of Afternoon Tea.
Cream Tea: A simple tea consisting of scones, clotted cream, marmalade or lemon curd and tea
Low Tea/Afternoon Tea: An afternoon meal including sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, curd, 2-3 sweets and tea. Known as “low tea’ because guests were seated in law armchairs with low side-tables on which to place their cups and saucers
Royale Tea: A social tea served with champagne at the beginning or sherry at the end of tea.
High Tea: High ta connotes an idea of elegancy and regal-ness when in fact is/was an evening meal most often enjoyed around 6 pm as laborers and miners returned home. High tea consists of meat and potatoes as well as other foods and tea. It was not exclusively a working class meal but was adopted by all social groups. Families with servants often took high tea on Sundays in order to allow the maids and butlers time to go to church and not worry about cooking an evening meal for the family.
Now it is time to chose your favorite tea, sit back, and enjoy the pictures of my twenty one pound Yorkshire Terrier, Biscuit.