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Wichita Falls Living Magazine

Tea Time!

Written by Rebecca Rister | Photos by Rhonda Elders & HMG

With Mother’s Day approaching, we want our readers to learn more about Tea Time, where it came from and where it can take you! 



Every little girl loves tea time! This is a chance to set your dolls and stuffed animals in chairs, play dress up, and sip from your best china (even though at age 5, it may be plastic.) Dress up and yummy treats are the best part. Most of us would agree, pretending to be an adult is much more glamorous than the real thing. It’s a time for parents to step back and use their imagination to help entertain their little ones. As Mother’s Day approaches, this sweet timeless treat is a favorite for mothers and daughters of all ages. 

Tea Time History
In England, tea time is a midafternoon meal complete with tea and small cakes or cookies. For centuries this has been a wonderful excuse to take a break from the hustle & bustle and relax. It is also a social time to invite friends over to discuss the happenings of the day. The popularity of tea time began in the nineteenth century and Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, is credited for its increased status. She complained of a ‘sinking feeling’ around late afternoon. During that era many people only ate two meals a day and dinner was not served until close to eight o’clock. The Duchess began inviting friends to take tea with her from two to four in the afternoon, preceding the fashionable time to walk in Hyde Park, and before long all of London was following suit. 



A menu for tea might include finger sandwiches, scones served with preserves, other homemade cakes and breaded pastries, and of course a variety of hot tea with milk and sugar.  Sandwiches would vary from cucumber, egg mayonnaise with cress – although the American substitution would be something closer resembling egg salad, and a chicken salad or tuna fish. Texans daily enjoy a different kind of tea time. It too is a midday break, but the tea almost always contains sugar and a lot of ice to ward off the Texas heat! 

I’ve been guilty of the misconception that High Tea is a fancy ordeal, when in actuality Afternoon Tea was for the upper class. High Tea was taken by the working class and is much more casual and practical than the latter. It involved a mug of tea, bread, vegetables, cheese, and meat if they were fortunate enough to have any, variations included potatoes and pies.   

Did you know tea is the second most popular drink in the world, second only to water? The first recorded consumption of the drink was in China, as early as 10th century BC. It spread from there across Asia. Portuguese exploration and trade discovered the Asian tea. England’s King, Charles II, was married to a Catherine of Braganza Portuguese, making her the queen consort of England, Ireland, and Scotland. It is said she introduced tea to the UK in the sixteenth century.   

I’ve often wondered why we do not honor a tea time as strictly as our English cousins. It could be that the Boston Tea Party ended our tea time privileges as a nation. Today tea time is a special occasion; something we do as mothers and daughters, or something we play at as children. Regardless of the timing – it really is fun. So, whether your tea time is served with scones or a more southern version of peach cobbler and sweet iced tea, we should all try and fit a little more whimsy into our daily schedules. 


 Mother’s Day Tea Party Ideas

No matter your age, having a tea party is something everyone can take part in. Sip your drink and call each other darling! Conversation topics may vary put whoever takes the lead as hostess should be prepared with topics of conversation to keep it flowing. 


All About Mom Conversation Topics: 

If you are preparing tea for your mother please lead with having guests tell mom ...

  • What they love and appreciate most about her, next around the table 
  • Share an early memory & more recent memory
  • Tell mom something serious and something funny you have learned from her 
  • Share how you are like her




Conversation Topics For Your Young Guest: 
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? Or, if you had to start over new, what would you be? 
  • If  you could live anywhere, where?
  • Favorite vacation?
  • Earliest Memory?
  • If you could be anything, what would you be? 
  • Who is your closest friend and what do you like about them….are they the kind of friend you hope to be? 
  • Do you like salty or sweet?



Centerpieces
For your younger guests of daughters or granddaughters have them help with centerpiece selections and decorations: Use an extra tea pot as a vase with flowers from the local market or wildflowers from outdoors. Have your child arrange them herself! 

Crafts
Have your child use construction paper to make their own paper fans
Cut out rectangles (or hearts or butterfly shapes) and fold in half for place cards 


Try this delicious recipe at your next Tea Time! 

Finger sandwiches can consist of traditional tuna, egg salad, cucumber or for your younger guests even PB&J without the crust, of course! Cut into triangles OR use shaped cookie cutters to make it whimsical. 


Butter Mint Shortbread

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon mint extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar (to sift on top for presentation)   

Directions:

Beat butter and ¾ cup powdered sugar at medium speed with electric mixer until 

light and fluffy. Add extracts, beating until blended. Gradually add flour, beating on 

low until combined. Pat dough into 15 x 10 inch rectangle on a large baking sheet 

lined with parchment paper. 


Bake at 325 degrees for 18-20 minutes (until lightly brown) ~ Makes about 3 dozen

Cool about 10 minutes, best to cut into squares while warm and sprinkle with 

powdered sugar.



Spring 2022 Issue
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