One of my favorite parts of Cotillion is getting to watch the students experience something new for the first time. Aside from my daughter, none of the other students enrolled in Junior Cotillion had ever participated in an afternoon tea. While our tea time was a bit later than traditional tea (class begins at 4:15pm), they were all too thrilled to get to try it!
Their sweet, puckered faces told me that, while they didn’t love the taste of hot tea without additions, they were willing to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new – a trait that will take them far in life.
By far, their favorite version was the hot peach tea with both honey and a spash of milk added.
My own daughter is participating this summer, so I know too well how, even with correct teachings, kids can be when at home. Put them in a different atmosphere, though, and they really grow and mature. Each student placed their napkin on their lap, and they all did their very best to not splash or clink the glass when stirring. Mouths were closed when the delicious scones and tea sandwiches (avocado ranch and strawberry cream cheese) were devoured.
Give them an opportunity to meet your expectations, and I promise they will.
A few questions were brought up during tea, and I enjoyed getting the opportunity to teach on more than what was on our class agenda. One of the questions I felt worthy of sharing with everyone, as there is a common misconception on high tea.
Isn’t high tea very fancy? This was the simple question that spurred great conversation, and I’m happy to share my answer with everyone today!
No, high tea actually refers to the high-back chairs around a dining table. Commoners often ate “high tea” on Sundays after work was completed. It is more like our supper today. It was also referred to as a “meat and potatoes tea.”
A low tea is what most Americans think of as traditional tea. It refers to the low tables one might find in a person’s home, such as a coffee table.
Teas were meant to be an informal way of entertaining. While teas may be “formal” in today’s viewpoint, you would never wear a formal gown to one. The term “tea length” originates due to the time of day. Since it’s mid-afternoon, the length isn’t full length, but it would still be considered “nice,” which isn’t a synonym for “formal,” at least in the etiquette world.
Other common terms are afternoon tea or cream tea. An afternoon tea would usually offer both sweet and savory options, and a cream tea may have only scones with clotted cream to serve with the tea.
The students learned so much while trying something new, and I truly think I enjoy as much as they do each time. The next time you’re thinking of having friends over, consider a tea!