Saturday, May 16, 2015

Etiquette and Tea in Scotland

It is a most distracting matter to decide whether to take strawberry, raspberry or black currant or damson jam...

We asked Clarice this morning if tea drinking is as general a custom in Scotland as it is in England, and she immediately threw up her hands.

"Oh, much more so," she said, "especially in Glasgow: I must tell you about the Glasgow tearooms, which are just about the brightest spots in that very interesting city, and so inexpensive. Fancy being able to lunch to repletion on 6 pence that's 12 cents of our money, you know; and where too, the girls with a taste for sweets can indulge in it for the same price, since nearly everything in sight is sweet!

Every variety of bread known to Scotland– scones, potato scones, sweet milk scones, currant scones, brown scones

"Fancy a table spread with every variety of bread known to Scotland– scones, potato scones, sweet milk scones, currant scones, brown scopes, all rather heavy and suggesting indigestion, but so good: bread and butter with carvies (caraway seeds covered with sugar), "bawbee baps," oatcakes, and endless other varieties of doughy confection. Then come cakes, and cookies, and buns, and little tarts, and then, best of all, arranged in a neat square in the center of the table, diminutive pots of jam each holding enough for one person of good, but not too greedy, appetite."
                               
Take a small cup of tea for two pence, on the chance of not wanting another, or to take the large cup  for three pence in the beginning, and in the end save a penny!  ~ When stirring your tea, do so quietly, without clinking your spoon on the cup. When done stirring, quietly place your tea spoon to the right of the cup on the saucer, in the 5:00 position. Always leave your saucer on the table if you are seated. Do not lift it up with the cup. Lastly, keep your pinky finger curled! A pinky finger up in the air exhibits an affectation and poor manners when drinking from a cup, regardless of what you've heard or read!


But after your artistic sense has been delighted by a birds eye view of all these glories your real difficulties begin. In the first place it is a most distracting matter to decide whether to take strawberry, raspberry or black currant or damson jam, and having decided to chase the last to lose the berry around and around the bottom of the jar before catching and depositing it on your plate."


"Then, unless you are of such extravagant turn of mind that you disregard the price list propped up in a neat frame in the middle of the table, there are other most complicated calculations to be made. If a potato scone and butter cost a penny and a sweet milk's scone cost two pence, and a bun also costs a penny, shall I eat a sweet milk scone, which I like, or a potato scone and a bun, which I do not care for, but which will appease my ravenous appetite better than the sweet milky scone? It is a dreadful problem, but no more so than to decide whether to take a small cup of tea for two pence, on the chance of not wanting another, or to take the large cup  for three pence in the beginning, and in the end save a penny."
                   

Oh yes, they drink tea in Edinburgh too!
"On the whole, the better way is to say 'never mind expenses,' and eat regardless, and then, when having consumed so many scones and cakes, that the suggestion of 'another bun' is horrifying, you begin a laborious calculation of what you have really eaten, and experience and unexpected thrill at discovering you have devoured the enormous sum of eight pence, half penny."

"Oh yes, they drink tea in Edinburgh too, but then Edinburgh is so beautiful that you do not need anything like tea to brighten you up. Edinburgh is conceded by globe trotters to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and the view from Calton Hill is always a favorite with the tourist." – San Francisco Call, 1909


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