"Autism & Memoirs of an Old Maid"…C'hele's Story

August 24, 2010

Trashy High Tea

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — C'hele @ 20:31

Definition of High Tea:

For the laboring class, high tea was usually a part of the evening meal, taken after sunset. In this case, cooked meats, stews and the like might be part of the meal. Unlike the tea traditionally served at 4-5pm, high tea for farming and laboring families was usually more closely related to dinner or supper and tended to be served between 5-6 pm. A substantial meal was needed at this time, particularly since farming and laboring families might need to resume work afterwards.

The modern high tea is more closely related to afternoon tea. Light sandwiches, like watercress or fish paste may be offered. Even bread and butter sandwiches are quite popular. Scones and clotted cream are common in today’s high tea, and cakes, pastries, petit fours, or a number of other dessert items, even cookies, can make up a high tea. When scones and clotted cream are served, high tea might also be called cream tea.



High Tea was served later (around six in the evening) and consisted of a full, dinner meal for the common people. Tea was still served, but there would also be meats, fish or eggs, cheese, bread and butter, and cake. It was more of a man’s meal, than a ladies social diversion.

Afternoon Tea became the ‘in-thing’ in the mid 1800’s for the upper-class women. Along with tea, there would be small pastries with clotted cream or preserves, delicate sandwiches, and scones.


My High Tea Experience:

A week ago, I had High Tea at what was considered a more formal hotel. It consisted of standing in line outside for ten minutes, have tea “drained” into a rustic paper cup from a large commercial plastic coffee thermos. You were allowed only two goodies: one Costco-like cookie and a slice of gummy banana or lemon loaf. Clearly, they were not freshly baked goods. Seats were unavailable and one had to find a place to sit either on the ground or along the cement flower-bed retaining walls. Socializing with others was made difficult due to not having a place to put your tea and plate down.

I dont know why, but while I waited for my tea, I felt like I was standing in a welfare line.

Entertainment experienced during my wait for tea:

Consisted of watching a woman who clearly would make any ignorant, ill-bred person proud, take her used, empty, clear plastic cup and walk over to the milk/cream & sugar table to practically empty the small plastic jug of milk into her plastic cup. Defiantly raising her chin up, she stomped back over to the smoking area to light up and drink her milk.

She did this not just once, but three times. Everytime she emptied the jug of milk, the servers ran back to fill it up forcing others to wait for milk for thier tea. Not once did anyone or any employee of the hotel, approach the woman to inform her that the jug of milk was not for her own personal use.

My horror over her behaviour quickly turned into absolute disgust. The other horror I experienced was watching many young children run up to where the cookies were and breathe all over everything while the parents looked on.

Some people are absolute animals.

This hotel has a history of formal elegance that goes back to the mid-1800’s. Too bad that people that I such described, have taken what I consider a rare thing (an elegant, classy establishment) and reduce it to something that resembles the trailer park from the Trailer Park Boys T.V. show.

I was soooo not impressed.



  1. I have longed to go to a tea, high or afternoon, imagining the elegance. Thanks for the heads up on what the event can be with our uncouth society. Your experience was ghastly. I have been in a group situation with a woman who did the cream (or milk) raid. She would repeatedly fill her cup 3/4 with cream and then put in a little coffee — and lots of sugar. Then there were the “friends” who ordered iced water with lemon and made lemonade with the Sweet & Low. And while I’m talking bad manners, there was the group of Red Hats on the gambling ship who took the free bus ride, gambled not one penny, but sat at a table for hours eating free food and drinks (can’t imagined they tipped) before watching the free floor show. They turned me off to that organization forever.

    Wait! My granddaughters and I did dress to the nines (even with hat) for a trip to a tea room in beautiful Mt. Dora, FL and have our own elegant tea party. 🙂

    Comment by anhinga — August 24, 2010 @ 20:52

  2. The personalized tea party is the way to go! Your experiences were horrific as well- I am not alone, lol. The time spent at the hotel was truly disappointing. In the lobby of the hotel, there would be displays of old photographs of the hotel from the late 1800’s-1950’s. Both the hotel and the guests back then were breath-taking. The pure elegance of the time reeked from the photographs! They are truly forgotten era’s.

    I’m convinced that I was born in the wrong time, lol. Either that, or somehow, I’m very anal with my manners! LOL

    Comment by C'hele — August 26, 2010 @ 09:42

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