Monday, June 21, 2010

Tea Time

A tradition that has recently emerged around the Knitty Gritty Homestead is Afternoon Tea. Having read lots of books set in England, I always imagined people just sitting around drinking tea in their parlours at tea time. But my mother-in-law, who was raised in Yorkshire, England, explained to me that it is actually an early, light meal for every day of the week, as opposed to the more formal Sunday dinner.

My mother-in-law's English accent adds a special flair to our tea times!

My children are usually whiney and hungry by 4:00. So I brew up a pot of some lovely (uncaffeinated!) tea such as mint, raspberry leaf, or licorice. A few little crackers, biscuits, mini-muffins, or in this case a banana loaf that someone brought over when Margot was born (it's been in the freezer ever since!) and tea cups are carried out to the potting shed on a tray, and the problem is solved. Everyone has a little bite to eat, and feels restored until dinner is ready.

My mother-in-law gave Jude this cup when he was born!

What I really love about it is the opportunity to use all those pretty tea cups I've collected over the years! Everyone has a favourite. I also like the way it connects my children to their heritage, and connects them to their grandmother. I suspect that this little transplanted tradition will be among my children's favourite memories of childhood.

What cultural traditions do you keep in your home?


  1. Love this.......a childhood memory they will most certainly remember. Keep it up, mama, this is a great thing.

  2. I agree with the above comment. What a perfect childhood memory--- a wonderful thing to all share together everyday! Love it.

  3. This blog brings a smile to my face everytime I read it. I have one baby girl, nine-months old, and I experience chaos every day. I used to be a neat freak - I would spend hours some days cleaning, vaccuming, dusting. Now I walk around my house and find soggy crackers stuck to the bottom of my feet. I just smile and shrug. I spend my days running around with her in a fog, after being awake every hour with her at night. She has reflux, and has a lot of trouble sleeping. But despite all this, I find so much joy with her, and you describe it all so perfectly in all of your posts. I can only imagine what it's like to have 3 little ones!!! Thank you for sharing all of your experiences with us.

  4. What a lovely routine to have every day, and a great way to put all those beautiful tea cups to use!

  5. Beautiful Stephanie! Your Father's Day post had me in tears--good ones. Hooray for great fathers!

  6. So neat to have an English mother in law!!!Tea time sounds like such a great idea! I visted England some many years ago and quite literally the whole country shuts down and people go home from work for a tea time break!!! Some store actually close!!! It's very important to the English, and the tea time it's self was actually fantastic, to sit down, relax, talk to loved ones and friends and eat yummy treast reserved only for this purpose was very gratifying---- more people in America need this for thier livelyhoods don't you agree?


  7. That sounds like a great way to buy some time for dinner and the prep involved in getting it to the table.
    And a great time for sharing stories and/or plans for the end of the day.

  8. Margot could grow up to be a real Yorkshire lass - starting her off with tea in a sippy-cup! I bet your Mother-in-Law felt like she was in Bettys Tea Rooms!! There is a 'cultural tradition' in our house, which I was raised with: you are only aloud to lick your plate or bowl when it's ice-cream!! Then it's obligatory xo Emma

  9. I didn't really think about it til now but I guess Mom used to do (maybe still does) the same thing. Makes a pot of tea mid-afternoon, and then has a few crackers and cheese, or a cut-up apple to rest and restore before the supper meal prep began, and everyone came home from school. It's amazing how refreshing a good cup of tea can be.
    I love this tradition you do with your babes. If I were home when mine came home from school, I think I would do the very same thing.

  10. We have "tea at 3" most days, my little guy and me... on the two days that I work at the office, this is pushed back a wee bit to 400pm...
    But it's a highlight of my day... I look foward to all of the conversations we'll enjoy over a cup of tea, and I hope he has some fond memories of this time with his momma!

    Great blog by the way!


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