A história do chá das 5 | Nível intermediário
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The history of the 5 o’clock tea
In the nineteenth century, in England, the two most important meals of the day were breakfast and dinner. Dinner was served around 8 o’clock in the evening. There was no lunch. That's why, in 1840, the Seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna, had the idea for what was to become afternoon tea: tired from the boredom of the afternoon, she asked her servants to prepare some tea and something sweet to eat with it. She liked the idea so much that this ritual of five o’clock tea was soon extended to her guests.
Initially the 5 o'clock tea used to be a private event: only ladies of high society and their friends and acquaintances could attend. Things changed when Queen Victoria started organizing her own afternoon teas. These became really formal occasions, known as tea receptions. They took place between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and could have up to 200 guests. Throughout the 1900s, the ritual became a real social event, with lengthy preparations and a strict dress code. Later, this custom was extended to all social classes, and establishments dedicated to this afternoon ritual began to appear everywhere.
The tradition included not only tea, but also snacks, such as slices of bread with butter, cucumber and other savory sandwiches, muffins and scones.
In the rural and industrial areas, in the north of England and in Scotland, the tradition of afternoon tea was almost a full meal - it usually included a hot dish with eggs and, sometimes, meat or fish, bread, butter and fruit-based desserts.
The tradition of tea with milk
For the English, tea should be drunk with milk. This habit originally came from a practical need: pouring the tea directly into the porcelain cup could stain it or even damage or break it. That is why the milk was poured in first, a custom which has lasted to this day.
What do you need for your English tea?
Here are some suggestions you can prepare to serve with your English afternoon tea:
a selection of sandwiches with cucumber, smoked salmon and cream cheese, ham and mustard;
scones, a traditional English baked teatime delight, which you cut in half and fill with sweet ingredients such as clotted cream and jam;
home-made cakes, such as Victoria Sponge Cake, custard cake, Battenberg Cake, or muffins.
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The feeling of being bored
Of long duration
Pouring, to pour (verb)
To transfer a liquid, fluid, or anything in loose particles from one container to another
A colored patch or dirty mark that is difficult to remove.
Clotted, to clot (verb)