Tea Time: A Calming Time

Tea Time: A Calming Time
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In the children’s book, The View from Saturday, by E. L. Konisburg, we learn of the calmness tea time can create. One of the main characters, a teacher, unexpectedly enjoys tea with four of her sixth grade students. She discovered that a “slow cup of tea” was calming and that even her students talked quietly and seemed to enjoy conversation.
One teacher who reads this book with her sixth graders conducts a tea party in the classroom, letting them learn about the niceties of a tea time. They use tea pots and tea cups with saucers, served with dainty cookies and other goodies.

Tea Time with Nanny

Tea time was a ritual at my grandmotherÂ’s home whenever I visited as a child. This was an event I looked forward to every afternoon at 3 oÂ’oclock. Grandmother enjoyed tea in a pretty china cup. My two aunts (NannyÂ’s daughter and daughter-in-law) usually had coffee and I drank tea with Nanny.

We also munched on some of AuntiesÂ’ delicious bakingÂ….cookies, cake, pie, or homemade bread. This break in the afternoon was served to friends, too, who might happen by.

I wonder now, and never thought to ask then, if this was a ritual with earlier generations. My grandfather, who wrote a newspaper column, mentioned his mother and other ladies doing their quilting over tea at neighborsÂ’ homes.

Tea Time with Mother

My mother, in her later years, and eventually AlzheimerÂ’s years, found the tea ritual comforting. When I visited her, we first must have a cup of tea and chat before engaging in business matters.

Mother came to live at our home for a few months; so afternoon tea, when I got home from substitute teaching, was a time to chat and catch up on the day. We might be discussing the present or the past, but tea was important.

I carried on this ritual when Mother moved to a nursing home. IÂ’d stop by a fast food restaurant to get tea and muffins or make tea in the microwave at the nursesÂ’ station. Then we had our chat.

When my grandchildren visited their great grandmother at the nursing home, they, too, insisted we continue with tea time, even when Mother could no longer feed herself. We enjoyed tea and goodies while the children chatted and drew pictures or played with toys on the floor.

So tea time has many memories for me and continues as my beverage of choice whether IÂ’m at home, at school, traveling, or visiting friends. I collect tea memorabilia and recently found s small tea ball in the shape of a tea pot to add to my display.

Tea Time Treat from a family cookbook:

WALNUT CAKE – Cream ½ cup shortening; gradually add 1 ½ cup sugar. Mix until light and foamy. Sift together 2 cups flour, 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Alternately add to creamed mixture with ¾ cup milk. Stir in 1 cup chopped walnuts (pecans can be used). Fold in 4 stiffly beaten egg whites last. Bake in well greased layer pans at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes, or until cake tests done. When cool spread a layer of jam (strawberry, raspberry, etc.) between the layers. Then frost with your favorite icing. You can leave out the walnuts if your family doesn’t like them.

©2005 Mary Emma Allen


 

About The Author

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her multi-generational NH home. Check out her new site, Tea Time Notes
 
 

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