Sunday, 25 July 2010
When I was a child (and yes, best beloved, it was a long, long time ago) meal-times were set in stone in our house, and I suspect in most houses in our village. You had your breakfast together, round the kitchen table, at around half past seven, before the men of the house went off to work; you had dinner at mid-day (none of your fancy lunch times in those days) and it would be a two or three course hot dinner; tea-time would be around five o'clock, or when the men came home from work. The meal would be what is called here in Yorkshire 'High Tea' and would be another substantial meal - and then there would be a supper at around bedtime.
Of course all this has changed now. Here in Yorkshire we tend to have breakfast, lunch and tea - and a drink at bedtime. Some of our friends eat their main meal in the evening, but really the farmer needs his substantial meal at lunch time - so that is our biggest meal of the day.
But the meal which seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth is 'afternoon tea'. And that is a shame because it is probably the most relaxed of all the meals and also one of the easiest to prepare.
So today we had friends for afternoon tea. If you are reading this N and S, then thank you for your company - we had a really enjoyable couple of hours with pleasant conversation and a nice relaxed afternoon (not all that summery, rather overcast and damp - well it would be, wouldn't it, as the farmer has more hay down.
I thought my readers, and particularly those in the US, would like to know what kind of things one serves for afternoon tea - so here is a photograph of the table - sorry about the fruit bowl, that is not part of the picture but I forgot to move it before I took the photograph!
We had Wensleydale fruit cake with Wensleydale cheese (both made locally), shortbread biscuits, raspberries and strawberries picked this morning from the garden and locally-made ice-cream. And of course as many cups of tea as we felt like drinking.
Tea is our staple drink here in the UK but we never get it properly made when we go abroad - sadly even in the U S we tend to get hot water and a couuple of tea bags. There is no substitute for freshly boiling water poured directly on to the tea bags (or loose tea) in the teapot, left to brew and then poured up. Sounds simple doesn't it? But sadly, in our experience, rarely does it come like that once we have left these shores.
What would you serve for afternoon tea? It would be nice to read about afternoon teas you have eaten.