Friday, August 3, 2012

The search for a good cuppa

Week 2: Field Trip - A Good Cuppa ( a lesson on tea)

England is a tea-loving nation.  Each year about 144,000 TONS of tea are imported but it was not always so.  While tea has been drinken (drunk?) in China since about 3000 BC, it didn't make it to England until about 1650.  Tea quickly became popular and has become the unofficial drink of England.

The custom of Afternoon tea, which is as much about the food as the tea, became popular because of one woman.   Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, was getting a little snackish during the long gap between lunch and the late night dinner parties that her social circles often had, and so she made it her custom to have tea and a light meal around 4pm.  The idea quickly became fashionable and a custom was born.  The traditional meal usually consists of tea, scones with cream and jam, tiny little sanwiches with the crust cut off (like the kid's like), and some assorted pastries and biscuits (cookies).  Well thank you Duchess Bedford ! That is totally my kind of meal, so for our first field trip - Afternoon Tea in the city.

 The kids were very excited by the idea, my daughter liked the idea that I was going to let her have real tea (so grown-up!) and my son like the idea that cookies were involved. After choosing our selections - the kiddie plate for them and "Bedford's Delight" for my husband and I, we goofed around trying on the fancy hats they had for the guests and practicing our "pinky-in-the-air" tea cup posture. 

Once the food came it got real quiet for a little while as we all savored our teeny-tiny sandwiches and drank our chocolate raspberry flavored tea :)  The kids really enjoyed the food, the tea not so much, but the adventure was one we would do again!!

So ends our trip to jolly old England, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did....Cheers!