A cup of hot tea in the cool English climate has been a favorite of
the British ever since Assam tea was discovered in India. In the mid-1800s, the
Duchess of Bedford, who got hungry before dinner, started having a small meal
with her afternoon cuppa(English shorthand for “cup of tea”). Soon bakers began
making special pastries for teatime, naming the treats for the places where they
were first served ? Bath buns, Banbury cakes, Cumberland current cakes. Workers
coming home from factories made “high tea” their early supper, eating
toad-in-the-hole(sausages cooked in a pancake-like batter), or Welsh rarebit(a
melted cheese mixture served on toast).
But for most of England today, tea is at 4 pm. It starts with a pot
of tea served with sugar and milk(not cream)and includes thin slices of bread
and butter, muffins, or scones with jam. Sometimes little sandwiches with egg,
cucumber, or tomato are served, along with a pudding(which is what the English
call all desserts).
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