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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Lori Wilde: Tea Party


In my latest release, The Cowboy and the Princess, the heroine—Annie—is a princess in disguise working as a wedding planner’s assistance. When a client insists on “high tea” for her daughter’s wedding reception, Annie gets to educate the woman on the difference between “high tea” and “low tea.”

Many people believe that “high tea” is the traditional tea service typically served between 2 and 4 p.m. High tea sounds like something a royal would indulge in, right? This is probably were the confusion comes in.

“High tea” is historically the tea of the working class. It’s a heartier meal served at 6 p.m. and often substitutes for dinner. “Low tea” or “afternoon tea” is a lighter meal, meant to hold people over until a late dinner.

Either way, it’s fun to host a tea. I’ve been to several readers’ teas and it’s always a lot of fun. If you belong to a book club, why not try a tea the next time you have a meeting? Here’s some sample tea menus to get you started.

Low Tea

Cucumber sandwiches
Lavender scones with lemon curd
Cheddar herb crumpets
Chocolate tarts
Egg salad sandwiches

High tea menu

Fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate
Stuffed mushrooms
Roast beef sandwiches
Deviled eggs
Blackberry scones with clotted cream

Image from Shutterstock

Have you ever been to a tea? Would you like to throw one? Which appeals to you most? High tea or low tea? Leave a comment and be entered to win a royal Prince Albert tea set. Check out the tea set here:


68 comments:

  1. I've been to a couple of tea rooms and I love it! Very quiet and relaxing :).

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  2. Yes, teas are peaceful and remind me of when I was a little girl making mud pies and sipping imaginary tea.

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  3. Yes, I have been to tea. I lived in England for 3 years and our neighbors over there were very proper so she would have us to tea. We also went to one in London. Then my young cousin came over and fell in love with tea time so when we came home she would request tea time. She has since passed. She died of Cystic Fibrosis in 2000.

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  4. I've never been to a tea party or a tearoom...thinking most of my friends are beer, mimosa, amaretto drinkers...aka...lushes...lmao.... OMG... I lied....had tea parties with the kids when they were growing up....does that count?
    Diana
    aka moosehog

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  5. Just to clarify, it's a 10 piece tea set. It's buy one, get one free. Such a great deal I had to give it away!

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  6. Regencygirl, so sorry to hear of your cousin's passing. I was the pacesetting author for Cystic Fibrosis write for the cure fundraiser in 2009.

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  7. Diana,

    It counts! Remember how fun that was as a kid? Having a real tea so stokes memories.

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    1. I remember my older brother always whining about the fact that I always made him my captive audience/tea guest... I'd set it up in the living room where his hospital bed was and I'd put the cups and saucers all over him because he couldn't move (he had MD) anyway...he had this collection of stuffed animals all over his bed and I felt they wanted to share with me...LMAO cause David didn't see it my way but he couldn't move to do anything about it...and hey....I always put the straw to his mouth and let him have a drink too!

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    2. What a sweet kid you were!

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  8. I also had tea parties with my Daughter when she was young now I have them with my Granddaughters and all there doll babies..

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  9. When I lived in Paris for a number of years, I met a elderly French lady who spoke very good English and loved Americans. She invited me out to her home several times to visit and to have tea with her prepared by an elderly Scottish woman who lived with her. This woman had been the nanny to her now grown son. It was a delightful experience and I learned so much for this extraordinary and gracious woman. Her home was like a museum. She was also the first woman to ever cross the Sahara Desert on a camel. Amazing woman and experience!

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  10. Connie,

    Now that's a tea party!

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  11. How come I always see the typos after the post is up? I swear I read this over three times before sending it to Leena. Maybe I need new glasses?

    Lori

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  12. I have been to several teas. These were held as a garden party backyard event and were memorable and special. I love Low Tea as it is so enticing and appealing. I have always loved teas for the nostalgia, atmosphere and delectable treats. What a wonderful post today.

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  13. A very old friend once took me to a tea room. What an experience. Perfect, sublime and peaceful. the decor was lovely and the assortment of teas and treats incomparable. It was like the Belle Epoch.

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  14. Traveler,

    Low tea is my favorite too!

    Lori

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  15. Petite,

    Teas do harken back to a more genteel time.

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  16. High and low tea can make a girl feel like a princess! Maybe it's high time the girlfriends came over for one.

    When I was in Germany they had tea at 4:00 pm. The table was set with pastries from one end to the other. What a great way to spoil an appetite.

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  17. I love the 'tea food' but have never been a fan of the drink!

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  18. girlygirl--

    I like iced tea.

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  19. Reviewer,

    I think 4 is the traditional time for afternoon tea, but I found many references to tea @ 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. as well.

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  20. There is a tearoom near us that my adult daughters think we should try sometime. I think it would be lovely to take them, as well as my nieces, for the experience. My mother loved to collect teacups, whereas my daughter loves teapots.
    I love the idea of a low tea. A much nicer way to hold oneself over than a bag of chips.

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  21. I have never been to a formal tea room or experienced any tea party at all. I do have a small collection of pretty tea pots. My daughter wants me to get her a Brown Betty teapot she is tea drinker.

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  22. Debbie,

    Do it! What a fun outing!

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  23. I took my daughter and mother-in-law to a tea house many years ago. We had a blast, hats, gloves and all. High tea menu it my favorite.

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  24. I have been to several teas with my mother, sister and niece at my niece's church. It is a lot of fun to get dressed up and eat little goodies with people you love.

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  25. I love hot tea, and I have been to a few teas that were such a pleasure. My favorites were in Victoria, British Columbia and London, England. The little sandwiches and scones with clotted cream were so delicious.

    I even collect teapots and teacups!

    By the way, I really enjoyed reading THE COWBOY AND THE PRINCESS!!!

    castings at mindspring dot com

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  26. I remember having "low tea" with my grandmother. These are some of my best memories. I can't wait to introduce my little girl to the tradition.

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  27. Cheryl

    I had tea in Victoria! It was the ultimate.

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    1. The tea that I went to was at the Butchart Gardens. We had a table on the outdoor patio that overlooked the gardens. It was lovely.

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  28. Donna,

    I own tea hats! But I wore a Stetson to my last tea.

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  29. DDC,

    High tea is more substantial.

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  30. I love hot tea, Earl Grey being my favorite! I lived in England for 3 years and learned to make tea "properly" by first warming the teapot with some of the boiling water before you put the tea in, then you pour the water in whilst it is still boiling. Then you put the lid on and cover the teapot with a "tea cozy" and steep for 3 to 5 minutes depending on how strong you like it. I never knew it was so technical but now I know why tea never tastes right in U.S. restaurants as they give you a pot of hot water and leave you to put the tea bag in. The water is never hot enough to allow the tea to steep properly. Anyway, I have had both high and low tea and I do enjoy the low tea the most.

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  31. There is something very elegant about Earl Grey. A warm cup of tea on a cold frosty day. Heavenly.

    Thank you for the tip on proper tea making, MaryLou!

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  32. I think a tea set would look lovely with my shabby chic decor! :) Such a princess at heart....

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  33. I never knew there was more than one type of "Tea"! I'm glad I found out, though, and appreciate the explanation - I've got two young nieces who are just about at "tea party" age, and I've been planning on doing something fancyish for their first one (you know, dress up, hats, the whole 9 yards!). Now, it'll be a little easier to plan the menu!

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  34. I love tea parties, my husband is English when we lived in England I went to some tea parties and loved them. We all love tea. I have not had Cucumber sandwiches in years I love the menu above. My favorite tea is P.G. Tips we buy it here in the USA at a shop by mail order.
    I just got in Lori's new book can't wait to read it.
    Penney

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  35. Jackie,

    You ARE a princess!

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  36. Kelly,

    What a great aunt you are!

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  37. I did not know that about you, Penney! That's what I love about these blogs. You find out the most interesting things!

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  38. I have never been to a tea but I do enjoy all different types of tea and my kids like to pick out different types of tea for me to try.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

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  39. Lori, low is my favorite. I remember having tea parties with my little sister when we were little.

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  40. In HS I was a member of a drum and bugle
    corps, the Carlton Cadettes, named for the
    school's registrar. She invited the gradua-
    ting seniors each year to a tea in her home.
    As Kelly describes it, it WAS the full nine
    yards: best dress, hat and white gloves.
    I've since attended several teas (showers, girlfriend reunions, etc.) but none were as
    elegant as Mrs. Carlton's Cadette Teas.

    Pat C.

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  41. I had no idea that there was a difference. I just knew that many people had tea around four o'clock. Would not want to arrange one now.After attending a few I'll make an attempt. But sure would love to attend a low tea.

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  42. I've never actually been to a tea before, but I saw a show once that talked about the proper way to having and throwing a tea... very interesting from the way it was done way back in the day to now. There is a shop here where I live that specializes in tea party's and someday I plan on taking my mom there since she just love's all things tea.

    Great post & Congrats on the latest release!!!

    yadkny@hotmail.com

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  43. My Mom and I used to go to tea at least once a week (before I had kids). We still go at least 1-2 times a year. I absolutely love high/low tea! Here in FL though most of the teas we go to include cucumber sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, desserts, other little sandwiches, sometimes quiche. Those are the best! And it's such a fun event. The tea rooms are always beautiful, tea is fab and the china is just gorgeous.

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  44. I've never been to a tea party before. They sound like fun though.

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  45. There are a couple places nearby that serve tea - we went to one last month, but had lunch instead of tea, and want to go back again. I'd go with High Tea cause it includes the clotted cream - yum! Nothing better in the cool weather than a good cup of tea! That is such a pretty pattern for the tea set!

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  46. I've actually never been to tea but the high tea sounds really yummy :)

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  47. I've never been to a tea. Whenever my daughter is sick with a cold or sinus problems, she still loves when I bring her tea with honey and lemon (she's 18 now). You're never too old to be pampered.

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  48. Having had 5 daughters there were many tea parties with their Alice in Wonderland tea set. lol Cherished memories as they have their own little ones now.There is also a cozy Tea Room in a Historic tow here and it's so elegant and yet so very cozy. The owners are from England and it's just wonderful to be there. I actually love the Low tea but I'd ask to borrow those stuffed mushrooms from High tea. lol Thanks Lori for such a beautiful and generous giveaway.
    Carol L.
    Lucky4750@aol.com

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  49. I have held tea parties both high and low. I have gone to tea parties. We even had a beach picnic tea party once which was really fun. The last tea party I attended was April 15 and was served food served on the Titanic, but there was no ship sinking just Titanic music!

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    1. We have a lovely tea room here but I've never been. Must rectify that situation. You had me with clotted cream. That would be my favorite. And the tea set is beautiful! I drink lots of tea and it's always better in a nice tea cup. Now that I think about it, I need to introduce my granddaughter to tea and scones (weak tea with lots of milk of course).

      Marilyn

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  50. I've never been to tea, but would love to go to one or host one. The high tea menu looks delicious.

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  51. I have never been to a tea party but the high tea menu does sound good. I definitely like the sound of the roast beef sandwiches, one of my faves.

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  52. Teas! My friends graced me with one for my special birthday. My mom treated young cousins in from Italy to one at a fancy hotel here.

    I've been to tea parties with just my grandma and me, some with just me and my dollies, and I have two tea sets saved for my grandchildren, two of whom are almost old enough to use them.

    Treating yourself to a tea is relaxing and genteel. My favorite is a tea that includes people I love, pretty flowers, pretty china, a flute of champagne and scones with clotted cream. Oh my!

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  53. I like to give tea parties myself. I'm not sure if they would qualify as high tea or low tea... but to me that does not matter. I've served cake and muffins, sandwiches and fruit. A range of different tea's. I loved those afternoons and so did my guest :D

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  54. The High Tea Menu certainly does appeal. My family know how to enjoy an afternoon tea. It may not be posh, but it's social, with great food & tea.

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  55. My friend hosted a high tea a few months ago at her home. She served lemon tea with raspberry brownies & cherry cheesecake. It was lovely.

    The lavender scones with lemon curd sound delish, might look up a recipe!

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  56. i haven't go to tea party but i love tea especially hawaian tea :)

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  57. Nope, I haven't been into a tea. I'm a bit of a clumsy girl. I might break those dainty little cups. ;p But if someone would have the courage to invite me, why not. ;>

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  58. I've only seen high tea in movies and tv. Would love to go to one. - (Chaoscat posting for her mom who doesn't have a google account but saw the tea set and went nuts ;-)) Diane rockdog10 @ yahoo.com

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  59. I've never been to a tea party, but have always wanted to have one. I think it'd be so much fun to have a few girlfriends over, enjoy a low tea & discuss books. I should try to find a tea room near where I live & take my daughter for a girls' day before school starts back. Thanks for the chance to win & the "day out" suggestion.

    harlan_michelle(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  60. I was amazed that I had High Tea and Low Tea backwards! I don't care how you slice it, I would just like tea. I went to a tea once but I was so small, I don't remember much about it. I would love to attend another.

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  61. Wow, I never knew so much about tea. It's so much more than a tea serivce but has meals involved. Both the low and high sounds delicious.

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  62. MaryLou is the winner of the tea set place setting. Congratulations, MaryLou!

    Lori

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  63. Big congrats, MaryLou! You won a wonderful prize. :-)

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