The Custom of Teatime

Teatime In America

 "Emigrants from Britain, Holland and Portugal took their customs and equipage with them when they set sail across the Atlantic. When the English captured New Amsterdam from the Dutch and renamed it New York in 1674, tea was already well established as an everyday beverage for the wealthier members of the new society. The city opened its own pleasure gardens and coffee houses like those in England, and with similar names. In 1682, William Penn founded the Quaker city of Philadelphia, advocating tea as the preferred drink because it filled 'the cups that cheer but not inebriate'.

---A Social History of Tea, Jane Pettigrew [National Trust  Enterprises:London] 2001 (p. 48)

As the progression to the west increased, the ladies learned ways of keeping the niceties of life in their humble homes.  Quilting was an important ability that all young ladies learned from their mothers. The pattern for this pretty set includes instructions for a runner, place mats and napkins. Make one or all in your favorite colors. Get the pattern here:

Food historians generally credit Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, for popularizing afternoon tea in the 1830s. Primary sources reveal this English meal was a byproduct of social economy. As the Industrial Revolution flipped the main meal of the day from noonish to evening, the opportunity for a light, late afternoon repast presented itself. For the English,afternoon Tea was the perfect answer. 

Tao of Tea

The Chinese tea ceremony  is essentially a form of social etiquette using tea as a medium. The Chinese believe it is a pathway to cultivating one's morality, nature and heart through the steeping, appreciating and drinking of tea, and to promoting friendship in a neutral, harmonious and beautiful ceremony. When I was the local city librarian I was approached by a constituent to invite a Chinese friend of hers to share a Chinese Tea Time during a monthly meeting of our Senior Citizens. The visitor brought a beautiful Chinese tea set which included cups for all of us. It was a fun time and I learned it was a very serious ritual in the Chinese home. She instructed us in the correct ways of preparing and serving tea during the Chinese Tea Ritual called Cha Dao. She explained that teatime should be calming and proper etiquette should be followed. The tradition Chinese teacups don't have handles so you kind of cuddle them in your palm and feel the warmth as you are having your tea. As she served us, she spoke certain words in a soft and gracious way... she told us the soft and gracious words we should respond with. The part that was difficult for me is that it was so different from our sweet Texas iced tea. It was somewhat bitter, in fact. She instructed us to slurp it down - showing appreciation in that act. I just could not do it! Still, I enjoyed learning about the Chinese Teatime Culture. Before this experience I did not realize the Chinese had such strong traditions surrounding tea drinking.

Holy Basil Helps Eliminate Edginess

Often wake up feeling edgy and go to sleep feeling the same way? Sipping two cups of holy basil tea daily can have you feeling calmer and more relaxed within days. According to Indian research, this herbal brew's active ingredients stimulate the release of your brain's anti-anxiety compound, serotonin. Bonus: Holy basil also helps your body burn glucose for fuel, lowering blood sugar up to 26%!

- Woman's World, 6/9/14

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