I have a friend who continually corrects my bad english. Most times I accept the correction with grace, as I do think that the ability to speak well affects how people react to you. But there are times that I want to yell at her..”Hey, back off sister! I’m embracing my lower middle-class roots! And if that means that I regress into my background and say ‘Krysta and me went to the mall’, well then that’s what happens.” I then usually visualize myself apologizing profusely at the outburst, and carrying the feelings of vindication and guilt at the same time.
Yeah, my fantasies are what we call “robust”.
At any rate, I now find myself in the position of being much like my friend, correcting people and scoffing at them behind their back. Only it’s not my skill in the Queen’s English that allows me to feel superior…as evidenced by my writing. Rather, it’s the knowledge of the difference between “High Tea” and “Low Tea”.
It started at the B & O Bistro, where I came across their High Tea menu.
“Amateurs”, I thought. “Not one shepard’s pie on the menu.”
Later, I found myself snickering at the high class Sorrento Hotel, who offered a $28 High Tea, including such items as salmon roulades, chicken curry barquettes, celery root salad in cucumber cups, fresh fruit tartlets, madelines, mini cream puffs, petit fours, chocolate pralines, miniature cookies and fresh baked apricot and cherry scones with Devonshire cream and preserves. Again, these items are not part of the traditional British high tea event.
Sorrento has since changed their menu to read the more appropriate “afternoon tea”, but they still only serve Barnes & Watson tea found in tea bags rather than loose leaf. Hard to forgive them for that, especially at $28 a pop. A quick bit of research finds that High Tea is often used when referring to Tea Houses. So let me impart a piece of information.
Tea time in Britain is determined by the height of the table on which the food is served. Low tea is the tea in which crustless sandwiches, petit fors, and salmon roulades are likely to be served. It is a meal of the leisure class, and it takes place between 3-4 p in the afternoon.
High Tea is for the working class of Britain and is akin to our dinner. Meat pies, joints of mutton, and other hearty foods are most likely to be served. Ever hear of Bangers and Mash? Most likely it’s served at High tea. If you want High Tea in Seattle, head to Fado, as it has the menu most like that of high tea.
So next time someone states that they’ve had high tea, respond with “Really? How was the Corned beef and Cabbage?” You can then sit and feel smug with your superior knowledge. And then ask if they used tea bags or loose leaf tea. Respond accordingly. Your friends will most likely look upon you with awe and annoyance.