High Tea at Elizabeth's Place!

Have you ever been to "high tea"? Perhaps an acquired taste for most Americans, but on a visit to the UK one splendid summer, I found myself in a most heavenly setting, face-to-face with the perfect late afternoon nosh. High Tea at The Orangery, Kensington Palace! I shall never be the same. High Tea is really a meal, but the fare is light, no cheeseburger & fries here, people. We're talking cucumber sandwiches, scones, clotted cream & jam, Belgian chocolate cake, champagne and oh yes....tea.
I enjoyed it so, and thought I may adopt the ritual myself when I returned home to America. Then I began to wonder how High Tea was conceived of in the first place.... It seems that Britain's Duchess of Bedford, Anne (1788-1861) is credited as it's creator. Because the Duchess suffered from "a sinking feeling" at about four o'clock every afternoon (I'm guessing she was hypoglycemic), she began to have her servants bring her a pot of tea and a few bread stuffs to tide her over for supper time.

Soon, she would invite friends to join her for the afternoon ritual at Belvoir Castle, and the European teatime was born. The menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets and tea. The practice became so popular, the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends asking them to join her for "tea and a walking the fields."
I never did adopt the tradition here at home, and I prefer walking in the fields on an empty stomach with my canine companions, but I will always take an invitation to tea and of course I have mastered the art of the cucumber sandwich. Have you ever had one? Do you have a cucumber or tea sandwich that you can share? Viola!

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