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Author Topic: ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.  (Read 30498 times)

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quiet_you

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ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.
« on: February 25, 2008, 01:26:52 PM »
quiet_you: I think this has to be one of my favorites of all time. Seriously. Yes, I understand that there is proper etiquette to hosting a formal tea . . . but my God, lady, if you're going to count sandwiches and laugh uproariously at mints, just stay home.

There is a lady whom we shall call "Jean," that often hosts tea. She uses fine china for the tea, but for the utensils and water glasses she uses plastic! There are regularly 15 to 30 guests at the tea, but she insists on making the tea sandwiches herself. (So many wealthy people these days are complete cheapskates). Jean is notoriously sparing in the making of her sandwiches, both in the sandwich mixture and quantity of them. Etiquette holds invariably that you should have 6 tea sandwiches per person. (By "tea sandwich" we mean the individual triangle quarters cut from a regular-sized sandwich). She has never served more than 3! Lately she has just been serving 2 tea sandwiches per person! At one tea party she had to have the sandwiches made locally because she didn't have time to make them herself. All of the guests commented on how good the sandwiches were this time. I thought maybe Jean would be a bit embarrassed and take a hint. But Jean had the nerve to say "Oh no, these are horrible. You should taste mine!" She later confided she would *NEVER* have them made out again.

Afternoon tea is traditionally a three course event, consisting of tea sandwiches, scones, and dessert. Jean, of course, considers the scones as dessert. But she never has clotted cream for the scones, a common staple of any traditional tea - especially if you are leaving out a course. At one of her first teas that I attended, she did announce that she would serve "a chocolate mint to refresh yourself," which I took to mean some kind of dessert - but no. Not mints plural, but A mint. Not a large chocolate mint patty, but an individually wrapped chocolate mint like you might find on your pillow at a hotel or on a cruise. Many of the guests held back their laughter and gasps of astonishment when they were served. "Ooh, a mint!"

And yet, if you were to even suggest having tea sandwiches without the crust cut off, she would practically faint at the thought of it detracting from the elegance she believes her teas portray.

Having tea in America is so difficult as it is, because the social etiquette and rules of the event must be studied by us, since we did not learn them firsthand. It's alright if guests don't know that the spoon should be placed on your saucer and not on the table and such other minutiae. But to have a host so clueless, cheap, and tacky - why even bother hosting a tea?

And remember the tacky plastic water cups and utensils? Unbeknownst to the guests, Jean collects them afterwards and washes them for use at her next tea party!!!! She also reuses the butter that's been left out on the tables for hours.

FauxPasofYear0312-04

What kind of women continue to accept  invitations to a function they deem to be tacky?  Either go and accept the hospitality graciously or decline the invitation.   For heaven's sake, it's hard enough to get people willing to entertain people and I'm not about to toss a hostess into Etiquette Hell because some guests have delicately snobbish sensitivities.  I don't see the storyteller stepping up to host her rendition of a proper afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea is usually a three course affair but it doesn't have to be.  A wedge of cake or cookies are just as acceptable.  Here's two very good web pages on the etiquette of Afternoon Tea I think everyone will enjoy. 



CG

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Re: ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2008, 01:34:53 PM »
*passes the smelling salts to the person who originally posted it*

I think they're going to need them every time they leave the house...

amaiaisabella

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Re: ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2008, 01:52:26 PM »
I have to agree with EHellDame. If this is so objectionable, why does she keep going?

And why does no one have a serious sit-down with her?

snowflake

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Re: ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2008, 03:20:54 PM »
I've been to tea in England.  Apparently I have rubbed elbows with the armpit of society because the teas were mostly...tea.  There were a few munchies (cookies or cake) served with it but the whole point was to sit back with a cuppa and chat with friends before you did the evening chores/meal/dishes etc.

Is it just me or is "high tea" just given mystical status in this country of Anglophiles?

Are there some UK people who can tell me if I'm wrong?  I last lived in England when I was 11 so maybe I missed real society. 

It seems like the poster and Jean are both suffering from a form of wannabe-ness that unfortunately gives etiquette a bad rap.


Harriet Jones

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Re: ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2008, 03:33:56 PM »

Is it just me or is "high tea" just given mystical status in this country of Anglophiles?

Are there some UK people who can tell me if I'm wrong?  I last lived in England when I was 11 so maybe I missed real society. 
 

It's my understanding that high tea is an evening meal, and afternoon tea is what's mentioned in the OP.  It does seem to have an inflated status here in the US, though.  Maybe 'cause it's classier than getting a twinkie out of the vending machine in the afternoon.  ;)

I have to agree with EHellDame, though.  Why return to an event if you don't enjoy it?  The hostess does seem stingy, but it's not as though that's a *new* development.  ::)

magicdomino

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Re: ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2008, 03:41:00 PM »
Quote
Etiquette holds invariably that you should have 6 tea sandwiches per person. (By "tea sandwich" we mean the individual triangle quarters cut from a regular-sized sandwich).

Okay, maybe I'm just a poor heathen American, but is there really a hard and fast rule that "Thall Shalt Serve Six Tea Sandwiches Per Person"?

Harriet Jones

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Re: ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2008, 03:43:23 PM »
Probably a party-planning 'rule of thumb', not an actual etiquette edict.

ClaireC79

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Re: ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2008, 03:56:02 PM »
Etiquette (well grandmothers invariably) state you shall eat 4 sandwiches (the little triangles - so 2 pieces of bread) before being allowed the nice bits (ie cakes) - could just be my grandmother though

Asharah

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Re: ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2008, 03:56:54 PM »
Suggestion to OP, maybe you should have a snack before going over so you don't swoon from hunger!  ;D
Asharah

Elle

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Re: ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2008, 04:07:49 PM »
Butter that's been out for hours?

I keep mine out for days. (Covered so the kitties and oxygen can't get to it though). It's usually good for a week or so if you keep it airtight.

ClaireC79

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Re: ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2008, 04:17:29 PM »
exactly, how are you meant to spread it if it's kept in the fridge?

Harriet Jones

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Re: ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2008, 04:18:45 PM »
It's my understanding that salted butter is fine left out at room temp, not unsalted butter or margarine.

magicdomino

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Re: ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2008, 04:25:51 PM »
Probably depends on exactly what room temp is.  During the winter, when my house is in the 60's, butter would be perfectly safe.  During the summer, when the kitchen reaches 83 degrees on weekdays, butter would go rancid pretty quickly.

Brentwood

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Re: ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2008, 04:27:12 PM »
Probably depends on exactly what room temp is.  During the winter, when my house is in the 60's, butter would be perfectly safe.  During the summer, when the kitchen reaches 83 degrees on weekdays, butter would go rancid pretty quickly.

It would melt pretty fast too.

nrb80

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Re: ONLY 2 TEA SANDWICHES?? Careful, you'll give me the vapors.
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2008, 04:29:16 PM »
tongue firmly in cheek

The greatest thing the British have done for this planet is the elevation of snacks and their naming :-)  Though I love the word elevenses - never heard a real person say it, just in books.


Is it just me or is "high tea" just given mystical status in this country of Anglophiles?

Are there some UK people who can tell me if I'm wrong?  I last lived in England when I was 11 so maybe I missed real society. 
 

It's my understanding that high tea is an evening meal, and afternoon tea is what's mentioned in the OP.  It does seem to have an inflated status here in the US, though.  Maybe 'cause it's classier than getting a twinkie out of the vending machine in the afternoon.  ;)

I have to agree with EHellDame, though.  Why return to an event if you don't enjoy it?  The hostess does seem stingy, but it's not as though that's a *new* development.  ::)