I have always been fascinated with the English custom of afternoon tea breaks, and although I haven’t tried mine with milk- the characteristic British way- I am still drawn to the slow-moving, almost romantic manner that the Brits have mastered all these centuries: sipping their tea from delicate cups unhurriedly, as if they have all the time in the world. Everything laid on the table is just charming: lace tablecloth, a tea set of fine china, and sweet pastries piled high on a crystal platter.
I however, do not own a tea set. So I made a makeshift tea time arrangement, after having raided my Mom’s cupboards. I took out her fine cup and saucer china, and used a small Japanese tea pot to hold my tea. Finding no respectable crystal ware, or perhaps because was too impatient to raid all the cupboards again for one, I used her little Japanese serving plates, typically ideal for serving sushi and maki rolls. Her brother used to travel to Japan when he was young, hence her predominantly Japanese ceramic sets. As for the treats, I laid out sweet biscuits, nothing really fancy. There were no English teas moreover, so I settled for green tea, not risking on the red lychee tea, which I wasn’t really in the mood for.
So, I know the arrangement looks eclectic, hilarious even, but I finally understand why it’s better to sip the tea than to take it in gulps, the way I normally do. Somehow the tea tastes better, and whether it’s because you’re imagining yourself as Ms. Dashwood or because you’re munching on the biscuits ever so daintily, it’s actually difficult to tell. All I know is that there’s something beautiful about tea time, and I hope I get to do it more often from this point on.
That is, of course, after I get myself a new matching tea set and loads of English tea and milk, leaving the Japanese square plates for nigiri sushi, and the Japanese tea pot for my fave green tea 🙂