One day back in the 1840s, round about 4pm, the 7th Duchess of Bedford suffered a ‘sinking feeling’. Because the main meal was still a way off, she had her servants sneak her a pot of tea and a few carb-loaded fancies. Deciding to adopt the idea as a daily occurrence, she invited a few ladies – of the correct social standing of course – to join her and was soon sporting an even newer title of ‘Hostess with the Mostess’.
The working class struggling through the Industrial Revolution however returned home to a table set only with meats, breads, pickles and cheese (and tea) and because it was eaten at high dining tables instead of the lower tea tables, it was termed “High Tea”. So much for thinking the rich coined the phrase!
Tea was seen as a symbol of a rite of passage. If you were old enough to drink it, you were old enough to know how to behave!
- When drinking tea from a tea cup, never loop your fingers through the handle or cup the bowl with the palm of your hand.
- Never wave or hold your tea cup in the air.
- Never leave your teaspoon in your tea cup.
- Do not stir your tea with a teaspoon in sweeping circular motions. Place your teaspoon at the 6 o’clock position and softly fold the liquid towards the 12 o’clock position two or three times.