By “tea,” here I refer to the British custom of having a light meal in the afternoon.
Teatime is another name for it.
According to Wikipedia, the practice of having tea has largely been abandoned in Britain because of conflicting work schedules and other cultural shifts.
Notwithstanding, the idea of having a light meal with tea in the afternoon makes a lot of sense to me.
We tend to have a somewhat similar meal in the USA known as “coffee breaks.” The difference is that coffee breaks are slightly more informal and not really considered a part of the daily cycle of meals, as it were- that is, a coffee break is really just a break an individual takes when they’re working to have a quick cup of joe and then get on with the business, whereas tea is a formal formal cessation (at least in my mind) of working to have a meal.
Tea in this case is typically served with small sandwiches and crumpets or biscuits; this may or may not include butter and jam for the bread.
The tea meal is often times more like a real meal than people would guess. Years ago, a band called MT-TV (sounds like Empty TV) came to the ReWired Internet Café that I frequented. They were, for the most part, all British women- and their managers would prepare food for them for tea. I specifically remember her preparing a series of tuna salad sandwiches, and that obviously left a favorable impression on me.
The USA has a history of being more informal with everything, from meals to church services to what have you. But perhaps I can single-handedly revive the custom of tea and make it a little more formal for people.
Now I’m hungry for cake, or for a biscuit with butter and jam.
This is one of my goals for 2011- to make an effort to celebrate tea as much as possible.
Why not join me and tell me about your own experience?
Next time I’ll share the blog on tea cakes, which would be a perfect addition to tea.