Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Table Setting

I hardly ever have cream teas, but I love the idea of taking time out to have 'tea'and a cordial chat in the afternoon. No doubt it is re-living nostalgic memories of childhood, when we used to stop off for this tea-time treat on the way back from an excursion whilst on holiday. So although it was only once or twice a year (never to be had at home), the performative nature of the cream tea intrigued me, and I really liked the way it was served, so that I had the choice of whether to put the jam or the cream on first, myself (always the cream)! 
My Mother's Grandmother hailed from Devonshire (never 'Devon').


  1. I agree the idea of 'taking afternoon tea' seems an appealing treat – almost decadent – and not just because of the food – but also the idea of spending time ‘just chatting’ is a real luxury. I love your personal associations with this event – isn’t it strange how some treats are just confined to a specific point in time; like you, we would never have had a cream tea at home!
    Interestingly I was watching Mary Berry recently as she baked scones –apparently if you are Cornish the jam goes on first whilst Devonshire folk put the cream on first! (I think I have that the right way round).

  2. Yes, as a culture, spending time chatting whilst not being 'disturbed' by a text or e-mail etc., does seem quite a luxury. I crave that type of engagement where you can give and receive sole attention, and really revel in both the conversation and the food. I think that reflects my age, as people who are a generation from me seem perfectly happy with a lighter, more interactive time spent with friends.
    Yes, I have heard that about the scones too. Obviously my Great Grandmother's influence filtering through there! I'd like to know, do you have a preference for jam - cream or cream- jam, P?
    The idea of treats celebrating different times in our lives is a good one. Again, due to the proliferation and availability of all types of food today, some things don't seem quite so special. I remember my Dad driving to a 'Chinese Takeaway' (the nearest one was a few miles away), and I used to accompany him, as I was totally enchanted by how exotic the interior decorations were inside. It really did feel like you were experiencing another world. 'Golden River' totally captivated me!

  3. It’s a long time since I had a cream tea, but I think I’m the opposite - a jam/cream person!
    I love your ‘Golden River’ story. The Berni Inn was always a huge childhood treat for me ¬– prawn cocktail seemed the height of sophistication, and the coffee where miraculously the cream floated on the top. I think it had something to do with feeling part of a grown-up world where you didn’t normally belong. For my nephew A – fish and chips are his Friday after-school treat when my Mum visits, so it’s nice to know that although we do now have easy access to any food we like at any time of the day – that you can still capture the essence of a ‘treat’.


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