Monday, November 17, 2014
No Time for Tea
If you'll recall, I recently wrote about how I relished the thought of afternoon tea. I was reminded of that blog post after reading Jeremy Musson's book, The Drawing Room, and attending his recent lecture in Atlanta. In his book, Musson discusses the relationship of afternoon tea and the drawing room, writing:
...a new meal emerged in the drawing room in the 1830s and 1840s. By about 1840, afternoon tea had become a feature of the English country house day, probably related to the main meal of the day having moved to the evening from the middle of the day during the course of the eighteenth century.
I have a living room, which serves as my version of a drawing room, and I have a tea set, sundry sets of dessert plates, pretty teacups and saucers, and plenty of table linen. But what I don't seem to have is the time to serve afternoon tea to guests or, for that matter, to myself when I'm home alone. In fact, the closest I come to afternoon tea is preparing tea sandwiches for my dinner. (That is one of the perks of being single; I don't have to take another person into consideration when choosing what to have for dinner.)
I'm guessing that most of the women featured in this blog post had the time, not to mention the assistance of a staff, to serve afternoon tea. Nevertheless, these photos will likely serve as the impetus I need to invite guests to tea. And until I figure out how to carve time out of my schedule to host the occasional tea, I'll simply have to make do with the occasional tea sandwich supper, perhaps served with tea or, better yet, champagne.
Billy Norwich's Cucumber Society Sandwiches
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped dill
1 large seedless cucumber
1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
24 slices white bread cut into 2-inch rounds
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley.
Place butter and chopped dill in container of a food processor using the steel blade, process with a few pulses. Set aside. Peel cucumber and cut into 1/4" rounds. Toss cucumber slices in a bowl with vinegar and salt. Drain liquid.
Spread one side of each bread round with dill butter. Place a cucumber slice between the buttered sides of two bread rounds. Roll the outside edge of each sandwich in chopped parsley. Cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve.