Teatime can be as simple as taking tea alone in the afternoon before the children or grandchildren arrive home from school. Reading and relaxing in the kitchen or on the porch or deck, with your favorite tea will quickly make you aware of the benefit it brings, of re-invigorating body and soul. It is also quite refreshing just to sit and drink tea with no other distractions. It only take a couple of times to realize just how wonderful a time it can be. Making this a ritual becomes quite easy and is something to look forward to each day. In fact, it becomes necessary in regard to our health and wellbeing, when we find out just how wonderful it is to ease the day's stress.
Children may also be included in this sweet ritual. This can be a very good time for teaching them the history, facts, and pleasures of tea, as well as teaching them how to sit and enjoy such a pastime. Never mind lecturing them, just let them ease into it, as they see how much enjoyment comes of it.
Of course some might want to substitute an herbal tea that is appropriate for children, which might include spearmint, chamomile, or blends made especially for children.
My husband remembers as a child, of he and his brothers visiting elderly female cousins and aunts every afternoon, and being served tea in fancy china cups with saucers. There was always a fresh baked cake or cookies to enjoy. He can still remember the tidy vintage houses, and the delicate little ladies who were so nice as to invite them there and share this time with them. It made them feel like little gentlemen, and they also felt important and special. He often says how much he misses these times. The ladies - the mothers, aunts, cousins and friends and neighbors, who make these times special are just as important as the tea itself.
I suppose it wouldn't matter if we just served milk and cookies. It's the time spent, the welcoming atmosphere, and the love that matters to them, always.
Actually besides Sweet Iced Tea which is a southern favorite, the only other tea I can remember drinking when I was growing up was Sassafras Tea.
I had a friend in high school that loved hot tea, and I thought it was so unusual, if not weird, to drink that in the morning. I had not been exposed to people that drank hot tea in the place of coffee. And although we were taught how to make coffee in Home Ec class, I don't remember learning about hot tea. So I was simply ignorant to this age-old tradition at that time.
Now coffee is a whole different story, I even had a young cousin that drank coffee along with his breakfast, diluted with milk of course, but coffee, nonetheless! I also have grandchildren whose mother is from Colombia, and you probably don't have to be told the rest of this story. They also dilute their coffee with milk. I'm still wondering why they use instant coffee instead of the delicious coffee made from whole beans that is so widely known and loved worldwide! But that's another twist in this story, and a whole topic that I will tackle soon.
Recipes & Desserts
ONE pound of sugar.
One pound of flour.
One pound of butter (a light pound).
One dozen eggs.
Sift and dry your flour, pound and sift your sugar; wash your butter till free from salt, then cream it well, gradually adding the sugar, and beating the mixture till very light, then beat your eggs (whites and yelks separate) to a stiff froth; add them gradually to the sugar and butter, alternately with the flour, by spoonfuls, till all the ingredients are thoroughly amalgamated.
Flavor your cake with lemon or nutmeg. Add a wineglass of wine or brandy.
Bake your cake in a slow oven, and do not suppose it is done till you can thrust a straw into it, and draw it out as dry as when it entered.
If it has risen, and split on the top, and the split has become browned, it is apt to be done. Jointly, these two tests are reliable.
One pound of butter, washed and creamed
One pound of flour, dried and sifted.
One pound and an ounce of sugar, fine and white.
Sixteen eggs, leaving out eight yelks.
Flavor to your taste.
Beat the butter and sugar together till very light, then beat the yelks of the eggs well, and add them to the butter and sugar, stirring the mixture all the while; then having beaten the whites of the eggs to a stiff froth, add them also by spoonfuls, alternately with spoonfuls of the flour, till the whole of both is taken in. Set it to rise for an hour or more in a greased pan, and then bake it in a quick oven. Be careful that it does not burn; if there is danger of this, cover it with a clean, thick paper, and watch it till done.
Plates covered with puff paste, spread with jelly, and then filled with pound cake batter, and baked in a slow oven a light brown. Sift loaf-sugar over them before serving.
Southern PECAN PIE
1/4 cup butter or margarine
3 eggs, well beaten
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup pecan halves
Dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
9 inch unbaked pie shell
Cream together butter or margarine, brown sugar and salt; stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake in very hot oven (450 degrees) for 10 minutes; thenreduce heat to moderate (350 degrees) and bake 30 to 35 minutes longer, or until knife inserted comes out clean. Cool and serve with whipped cream, if desired. Makes 6 servings.
Having a friend or two over for tea, can be quite fun. To introduce your friends to tea, send out a few informal invitations. After which, you can all agree on a time and place for such gathering in the future, as I'm sure there will be more to come.
Tips & Ideas
For those who like coffee, place your chocolate
candies, or other sweet treats in a coffee can that
hasn't been washed. Just bump out the coffee
grounds and place the candies in the can for a
delicious coffee flavored treat! The oils in the
coffee will penetrate the candy.
Making scones is much like making homemade
biscuits, just add a little brown sugar if desired and
fold over dough to resemble a "turnover"...
Add yeast for a roll type dough.
You can also place these in the fold:
Apples, cinnamon, butter and sugar or canned apple pie filling
Peaches, nutmeg, butter and sugar
Chocolate chips, sugar
Dried cranberries, blueberries or other dried fruit and a little sugar and butter.
If you prefer, add a dusting of sugar to the top of scone before baking. Or, Add a dusting of confectioners sugar after
baking. Drizzle with melted chocolate
Glaze the top using milk, and confectioners sugar.
Historical information concerning benefits, and moderation***
Tea is valuable chiefly for its warming and comforting qualities. Taken in moderation, it acts partly as a sedative, partly as a stimulant, arresting the destruction of tissue, and seeming to invigorate the whole nervous system. The water in it, even if impure, is made wholesome by boiling, and the milk and sugar give a certain amount of real nourishment.
Nervous headaches are often cured by it, and it has, like coffee, been used as an antidote in opium-poisoning.
Pass beyond the point of moderation, and it becomes an irritant, precisely in the same way that an overdose of morphine will, instead of putting to sleep, for just so much longer time prevent any sleep at all. The woman who can not eat, and who braces her nerves with a cup of green tea,--the most powerful form of the herb,--is doing a deeper wrong than she may be able to believe. The immediate effect is delightful. Lightness, exhilaration, and sense of energy are all there; but the re-action comes surely, and only a stronger dose next time accomplishes the end desired. Nervous headaches, hysteria in its thousand forms, palpitations, and the long train of nervous symptoms, own inordinate tea and coffee drinking as their parent. Taken in reasonable amounts, tea can not be said to be hurtful; and the medium qualities, carefully prepared, often make a more wholesome tea than that of the highest price, the harmful properties being strongest in the best. If the water is soft, it should be used as soon as boiled, boiling causing all the gases which give flavor to water to escape. In hard water, boiling softens it. In all cases the water must be fresh, and poured boiling upon the proper portion of tea,--the teapot having first been well scalded with boiling water. Never boil any tea but English-breakfast tea; for all others, simple steeping gives the drink in perfection.
A disregard of these rules gives one the rank, black, unpleasant infusion too often offered as tea; while, if boiled in tin, it becomes a species of slow poison,--the tannic acid in the tea acting upon the metal, and producing a chemical compound whose character it is hard to determine.
TEA & COFFEE
A cardinal rule: The necessity of fresh water boiled, and used as soon as it boils, that the gases which give it character and sparkle may not have had time to escape. Tea and coffee both should be kept from the air, but the former even more carefully than the latter, as the delicate flavor evaporates more quickly.
To begin with, never use a tin teapot if an earthen one is obtainable. An even teaspoonful of dry tea is the usual allowance for a person. Scald the teapot with a little boiling water and pour it off. Put in the tea, and pour on not over a cup of boiling water, letting it stand a minute or two for the leaves to swell. Then fill with the needed amount of water still boiling, this being about a small cupful to a person. Cover closely, and let it stand five minutes. Ten will be required for English breakfast tea, but never boil either, above all in a tin pot. Boiling liberates the tannic acid of the tea, which acts upon the tin, making a compound bitter and metallic in taste, and unfit for human stomachs.
As to hard and soft water, the latter is always most desirable, as soft water extracts the flavor of tea and coffee far better than hard, and is also better for all cooking and washing purposes. Hard water results from a superabundance of lime; and this lime "cakes" on the bottom of tea-kettles, curdles soap, and clings to every thing boiled in it, from clothes to meat and vegetables (which last are always more tender if cooked in soft water; though, if it be too soft, they are apt to boil to a porridge).
This is a shrub, growing on the sand-banks of the coast of North Carolina. It is cut in August, boughs and leaves, into small portions, then laid in the sun till partially dried, when it is placed in a heated brick oven, and thoroughly dried and browned.
It is now ready for use, and is prepared thus:
Boil a large handful of the yapon in a quart of water for fifteen minutes, then remove it to your teapot, and drink it with sugar and cream.
The flavor is very pleasant,--very much like black tea.
***The Easiest Way in Housekeeping and Cooking Adapted to Domestic Use or Study in Classes, Helen Stuart Campbell
MORE TO COME...
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***All information is for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.