History details that there are traditionally two ways to take tea. There was the high tea, which had a more robust and sustaining menu of meat pies, cold cuts and bread with butter and jam and was most often served at a high table, like a dining table, at the end of the workday. Low tea was light snacks to tide someone over until dinner with a dainty selection such as crustless cucumber sandwiches and petit fours and earned its moniker for being taken at a low table, such as in a sitting room by the fire, or patio in a garden area.
Tea has long been a part of my life. It started when I was young, after dinner, when my parents and I would gather to watch the evening news with Walter Cronkite. Lipton tea with a splash of lemon and honey.
I have a fond memory of sipping tea with my mom at the posh four star The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, Michigan. There, on the table covered with a crisp white tablecloth was an Oceana Rose in a crystal bud vase that was the inspiration for my wedding bouquet. A blend of pink and peach, it was the most perfect rose I’d ever seen.
When I became a mother, my daughters and I would pass the time on rainy days with puddle jumping and tea parties with cupcakes from a box with sprinkles and stuffed animals as distinguished guests.
Tea was my saving grace from falling asleep on the job of parenting. When the kids were tiny, I drank green tea by the gallon in the late afternoon to fend off exhaustion and make it to bedtime.
As they grew older, teatime became an after-school routine whether home or at the local coffeehouse. Madeleine cookies were always a staple of the sweet afternoon ritual and listening to their little voices tell the stories of the day.
One of our ultimate teatime experiences was dressing up for tea at The Heathman during the holidays. The hotel sparkled with holiday decorations with a majestic fireplace and classical music in the tearoom. My daughters and I were delighted and amused by the opulent tiered plate stands of delicate desserts and finger sandwiches with exotic teas served on fine china. We made sure to properly extend our pinky fingers while sipping.
But I don’t think anyone enjoyed teatime more than our golden retriever, Finnegan. My children had a very pink and flowery tea set made out of quilted fabric, complete with a cupcake with a cherry on top. They would lay out the tea set with Finnegan as their guest, sometimes donning him with ribbons or a hat and they would happily play teatime, which would often end with him stealing a cup or a plate and the girls chasing after him with giggles.
Aside from the creative exploration of teas like blue tea, lavender with mint, peach blossom or bourbon vanilla rooibos, teatime offers us time to pause. We make an event of that pause in the midst of our busy-ness and take time to connect through creative flavors and conversation. In turn, we make memories.
There’s no app that can do that.
Contributor Carole Moritz