Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Tea Table

Somehow in the course of the last fifty years, tea-time has come to be seen as belonging to the domain of the wealthy and privileged. How odd this is, since "high tea" was at one time the principle evening meal for working class families, "low tea" being comparable to an afternoon snack. Yes, tea parties can be formal affairs, but tea-time can also be a cozy gathering of family and a few close friends. Sometimes, it is pleasant to talk to people face-to-face, rather than merely on the phone or over the internet. Unfortunately, so much of our human relations are focused on the computer or television. At tea-time, it is nice to turn off the television, close up the lap-top, and give our undivided attention to those whom we like and love. At tea-time, the emphasis is on the conversation rather than on the food, unlike regular meal times.

Here are some instructions on how to arrange the tea table. Invitations are mentioned but it is possible for friends to gather informally.

Here is a selection from the writings of the original Emily Post concerning tea parties. Mrs. Post provides detailed advice on how to arrange the table. Very entertaining, in a quaint sort of way. Share