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Old 06-03-2010, 12:16 PM   #1
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I still don't understand "tea".

I sometimes think it is dinner (or supper, or the evening meal), and sometimes that thing you do with the good china, pastries and delicate little sandwiches. can this huge gap in my knowledge base be sorted?
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:23 PM   #2
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Traditionally, "tea" was a light meal people used to have about 4pm or so, to fill in the gap between lunch and dinner (which would be at perhaps 8 or 9pm). You'd have (obviously) tea to drink, and sandwiches and cake to eat.

Pretty much nobody does this any more (except in very posh hotels, cruise ships, etc). When "tea" is used as the name of a meal now, it pretty much always means the evening meal.
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:36 PM   #3
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This may help...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_tea_ceremony
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:42 PM   #4
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I think KK is referring to the British "meal" of tea, not to the Japanese tea ceremony .
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:44 PM   #5
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And then you have high tea - which is an early evening tea with meats, followe3d by a light meal later on. Unless you were working class, in which case high tea was afternoon tea and the evening meal rolled together.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_(meal)

So actually your understanding of what tea is seems to be pretty much spot on!
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ShortNCuddlyAm View Post
Unless you were working class, in which case high tea was afternoon tea and the evening meal rolled together.
Was, and still is. In my part of the world (NW England), most people refer to the mid-day meal as "dinner" and the evening meal as "tea".
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Old 06-03-2010, 01:02 PM   #7
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How many times do you people eat?

Good question, KK!
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Was, and still is. In my part of the world (NW England), most people refer to the mid-day meal as "dinner" and the evening meal as "tea".
In my part of the world (NE Ohio) tea can mean either a nice hot drink in mug or a nice cold drink in a glass with ice cubes - depending on the time of year, temperature outdoors, or if you have a cold or not.
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:17 PM   #9
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In my part of the world (NE Ohio) tea can mean either a nice hot drink in mug or a nice cold drink in a glass with ice cubes - depending on the time of year, temperature outdoors, or if you have a cold or not.
People drink tea hot?
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Traditionally, "tea" was a light meal people used to have about 4pm or so, to fill in the gap between lunch and dinner (which would be at perhaps 8 or 9pm). You'd have (obviously) tea to drink, and sandwiches and cake to eat.

Pretty much nobody does this any more (except in very posh hotels, cruise ships, etc). When "tea" is used as the name of a meal now, it pretty much always means the evening meal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShortNCuddlyAm View Post
And then you have high tea - which is an early evening tea with meats, followe3d by a light meal later on. Unless you were working class, in which case high tea was afternoon tea and the evening meal rolled together.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_(meal)

So actually your understanding of what tea is seems to be pretty much spot on!
Up to my generation, depending on season and with different names, that was quite the same. We don't call it tea but merenda, In Quebec colation. For children, even now it is in use, around 4 to have a snack. For us it is maybe later and it becomes supper. It is very common in summer, outside. We call it colazione, pranzo e cena (for breakfast lunch and dinner). But, a little more formally it becomes: piccola colazione (petit dejeuner), colazione e pranzo (dinner). Cena is something you have after the evening entertainment. So if you are invited by somebody you are not familiar with, it is better to inquire. I let my wife do it: she obviously has more grace and social manners than me.

It is a meal that I like very much. In my family, the one I grew in, I mean with mother and father, we always had it like that on Sunday evening. I introduced it in my family, Wife, me and Little Girl and they like it very much. Little Girl insists on having herbal concoctions that she calls tea. Wife has beer, I stick to red. They eat toasts, what American would call grilled cheese, and some cake. I eat soup. Did you ear my mood dropping to the floor?
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:01 PM   #11
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Up to my generation, depending on season and with different names, that was quite the same. We don't call it tea but merenda,
And in Croatia (Dalmatia, or at least in some parts of Dalmatia), marenda is a sort of brunch (a meal between breakfast and lunch), or breakfast.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:20 PM   #12
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Cricket matches still stop for tea in mid-afternoon.
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Old 06-03-2010, 04:29 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Was, and still is. In my part of the world (NW England), most people refer to the mid-day meal as "dinner" and the evening meal as "tea".
I tend to call the evening meal tea - which I got from my Nanna (who came from the NE); as does the yeti - suspect he got it from his father, whose family came form the east end, iirc.

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People drink tea hot?
It's horrible when you let it get cold!
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Old 06-03-2010, 04:46 PM   #14
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People drink tea hot?
HT you should really go for a vacation in the UK. They have the funniest way of life, but for taking care of themselves they are second to none.
Like you pick up the habit of drinking tea and it is just marvelous. With milk, without milk, with sugar, with no sugar. I like mine with milk and no sugar when I am there. At home I drink green tea nature. They drink warm beer and it catches you! It goes down like ambrosia. If they just learned how to make sausages it would be heaven.
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Old 06-03-2010, 04:49 PM   #15
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Oooh, the subtle distinctions of the English class and geography systems! My childhood was in middle-class west London (Ealing). There 'Tea' was (a) the drink made with tea leaves, preferably hot, iced tea permitted, tea allowed to get cold was anathematised; or (b) the earlier (and lighter) evening meal, specifically for small people who had to go to bed before 'dinner' which was the main evening meal with a hot main course.
Generally, the received wisdom was that everybody had breakfast, but sophisticated people had lunch and dinner (in that order) whilst the working classes had dinner and supper, except if you were very working class, your 'supper' transformed into an earlier 'tea' because you had to get up early the next day.
In case you thought this was too simple, there was the counter-example where my mother invited the parish priest over for...'tea', in a more elegant formulation with a strict absence of small children, who were then relegated to having a late 'supper'.

Nowadays I just settle for having an 'evening meal'.
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