Tea Time a Vintage Tradition Still Enjoyed


 Pink Laurel by Homer Laughlin Co. // Circa 1957

Pink Laurel by Homer Laughlin Co. // Circa 1957

As the weather begins to cool, wonderful thoughts fill my mind.   One being the smell of spiced tea steeping in the teapot.  Now I will admit to you right here and now, I am not a big fan of hot tea.  I was born and raised in the south and it’s a well know fact that if you ask for tea in the south the only choice you have is sweet or unsweet.

And depending on what state you are in, you may not even get that choice, you just get ice cold sweet tea.  One might asked, “is there any other kind?”   I would answer with a affirmative nod.

In fact, if your from the northern part of our nation, you might not have even heard of iced tea.  Traditionally hot tea is the beverage of choice.   I found this out one evening while waiting tables.  As I took the drink orders, the patron asked for tea.  I brought her a glass of iced tea.  She looked at me like I was from Mars.  I guess to her I was from another planet and it was called the “south”.  She asked me what that was and I replied; “your tea!”  To that she responded, “that’s not what I ordered!”

We got it figured out and I even got a smile out of her before the night was over.  It was a simple issue of geography.  She was from New York.   Little did she know that she was about to be enlightened on the topic of tea.  And oh the multitude of options she was about to be blessed with.  🙂

Oh and by the way…in the south as far as I know…it’s ice tea.  Not iced!  (sweet ice tea…go ahead say it! doesn’t it just roll off your tongue?)

There are those persons who prefer hot over iced and hot tea over coffee.  Now my grandma Nina, (that’s pronounced long “i”)  she would drink iced coffee!  But that is a whole ‘nother blog post.

My usual modus operandi is coffee, coffee, coffee in the morning.  Yes, that would be three cups.  Water.  Sweet iced tea and water switch offs through out the rest of the day.   And no I don’t have trouble sleeping!

Traditionally, tea was served in the afternoon with a lite snack.  It was served hot and you had choices of cream, sugar, lemon and some use honey.  Honey and lemon tend to be used for medicinal purposes in this home.  Nothing better for a sore throat.  Hot tea, honey and lemon…I love it only if I’m sick.

Usually the lite snack was a simple cookie, biscuit or crumpet.   There were and still are the rights and wrongs of tea time.  Those little things called manners…very important.   Proper tea etiquette is a necessary part of the ritual.  The southern equivalent to tea time was ice cold lemonade out on the front porch.  This of course could also be ice tea.

Whether you are in England, Northern States or Southern States, afternoon tea “parties” still take place everyday.   Some are held and served traditionally and others are just having your neighbor over for tea and a chat before the kids get off the bus and supper is started.

In my home, it’s not the tea, it’s the china holding the tea.  Tea pots, tea cups and saucers….I’m a sucker for a flea market find.  And of course I’m going to buy it.  Even though I don’t like hot tea.  So when I do feel that little tickle in my throat and a nip in the air, I will pull out my tea cup and saucer and treat myself like queen.  All in the name of tradition.

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