Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Meal Planning - Tea

Taken from Breakfast, Dinner and Tea 1860

"When the dinner is served at a late hour as in fashionable life Tea does not deserve the name of a meal since it is seldom more than tea or coffee served in the parlor accompanied by cakes."

"Out of merely fashionable life however the tea becomes of more importance it is a most cheerful and social repast for the domestic circle and one to which the unexpected guest most readily finds a cordial welcome It is composed not merely of tea and cakes but of bread and butter of various relishes and of fruits either fresh or preserved In our Northern States it is a very general custom both in town and country to invite company to tea this meal being preferred to dinner as involving less effort fatigue and formality The table is on these occasions more or less bountifully spread according to the means and tastes of the hosts conversation flows unrestrained by formality a general cheerfulness seems to emanate from the steaming cups of tea and the company generally separate at an early hour with increased kindliness and neighborly feeling."

"In the rural districts this meal partakes of the nature of a supper both on ordinary and extraordinary occasions When these latter occur the greatest profusion abounds plenty with them is the soul of hospitality and it is desired that every guest shall taste of every dish."

"At the evening receptions which are coming into favor in our society the slight refreshment of tea and cakes is very appropriate and a promoter of ease and sociability A small table is spread with tea or coffee and cakes which are offered to the guests by either the lady of the house or one of her family No invitations are given to these receptions but the general one which the lady issues to her friends at the beginning of the season The guests come when they choose spend as much or as little time and retire when they please without formality."

"The varieties of black tea are Bohea Congou Campoi Souchong Caper and Pekoe The green teas are known as Imperial Hyson Twankay and Gunpowder."

"The Preparation of Tea
Black tea is best when boiled fifteen or twenty minutes green tea should not be boiled It has the freshest taste when steeped in an earthen tea pot which has been previously scalded leaving it to stand by the fire ten or fifteen minutes Turn only a small quantity of scalding water upon the tea while steeping but fill the pot when ready to take to the table It is well to follow the English rule when preparing tea for company allow a spoonful of tea for each person and one for the pot."

"Mr Brace in his Social Life in Germany mentions that tea was passed flavored with vanilla and rum."