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Bring Afternoon Tea Back into your Life

The ritual of afternoon tea was once as present in people’s day to day lives as today’s ritual of kicking back on the sofa in the evenings for a little light surfing and a few snacks is for us.

Yesterday’s routine was less about total slobbery and more about total pleasure in every sense of the word. From the table setting to the food and drink presentation things were just more careful. Even an ordinary family would make an effort to use good china, tablecloths and tray cloths along with the nicest napkins and besides that, afternoon tea was the perfect time to invite a new friend back to meet the family! It’s an informal, relatively short meal so it can, even today be a great excuse to catch up with a friend or get to know a neighbour better.

Afternoon tea was a time for reflection and a time for boosting the soul as well as the body. A little chat, some tea and cake and all was well with the world.

Of course, we were living in a different world back then…people’s hours of work were fewer and more reliable and with less of a daily commute, it was to be expected that folk were back in the house at around the same time each evening.

Today, with many people in one household on different schedules it’s trickier to meet up for a regular routine of afternoon tea but …that’s not to say we shouldn’t make the effort!

A little time in exchange for a big reward

The simple fact is that spending time around a table with those you love…or indeed with yourself alone, is vital if we’re to remain on a good wavelength with our families and in a good mental state if we live alone.

Making the effort to lay a table may seem far-fetched to some, even silly…why bother with all that when nobody expects it?

However, scientific research has proven a correlation between our environment and the way in which we behave with more beautiful environments creating more positive behaviour.

Where we eat and drink is just as important a part of our environment as the rest of our home. Making a beautiful tea setting can really lift moods and children in particular will respond well to a regular, set afternoon tea where they can sit, enjoy a light snack, a chat and something to drink with their parent or carer.

A modern take on afternoon tea

We view afternoon tea today as a rather special treat; something we might do on our birthday in a lovely hotel or restaurant. We expect afternoon tea to include all kinds of pastries and rich sandwiches, cake and scones with preserves, butter and cream but in reality, afternoon tea can be a healthy, regular meal which isn’t difficult to arrange at all.

The ingredients

Tea of course is a must-have. Whether you choose herbal teas, fruit teas or more traditional options is up to you but make sure that you use your best china! Lay the table…it’s not a lot of effort to use a tablecloth or if you’re not a fan of table linen, simply add a plant or vase of flowers to your table for an instant feeling of occasion.

In terms of what to eat, it’s not realistic to plan to consume quantities of salmon sandwiches and fruit scones on a daily basis, nor would most of us want to! Instead, look at healthy alternatives to the old-fashioned and filling afternoon teas of yesteryear.

Some good options include the following;

  • Vegetable crudités with humus
  • Fruit salad
  • Cold meat
  • Cheeses
  • Quiche
  • Soup
  • Boiled eggs
  • Salads

Whatever your favourite, light snacks are, these should be considered as candidates for your modern take on afternoon tea and after all, you can always include scones, cakes and sandwiches on special occasions!