Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Tea Etiquette in Bachelor Apartments

You will need a covered sugar bowl filled with block sugar, a pretty, shallow dish for sliced lemon, with a lemon server on it... (these) may find a permanent place on this table.

Afternoon Tea and Unexpected Callers

The following suggestions are offered for those who have no maid or who live in bachelor apartments, and wish to extend their gracious courtesy in an informal way to unexpected callers. Some of the needful things are, first, a kettle, usually of brass, with a lamp for burning alcohol, so that the water may be boiled freshly and the tea made at once, without absenting yourself from your guests for any part of their call, except to bring in the plate of wafers, or the fresh water and any other articles not practicable to keep on the table. 

Of course, if you have a gas stove in a room near by, and all your needful things close at hand, you may do all the necessary work outside, in a brief time. But unless you can do it quickly, do not attempt it, for anything which savors of time and trouble for the hostess detracts from the guest’s enjoyment, and the pleasure of the guest is greatly enhanced by watching the process in the hands of a graceful hostess. If you have no table convenient to keep in readiness in your room, or you do not approve of the custom, you may easily have a table, light in weight and easy to lift, or one with a handle made expressly for this purpose, which may be fitted with the tea service and kept in some convenient place ready to be brought in at short notice. 

A covered sugar bowl filled with block sugar, a pretty, shallow dish for sliced lemon, with a lemon server on it, a plate or small metal tray under the lamp, a fancy bottle holding half a cup or more of alcohol, a small caddy for the tea, a tea ball with an extra cup to hold it when not in use, small sugar tongs, as many cups and saucers of your prettiest patterns as you will need, and spoons in the same proportion, may all find a permanent place on this table. If you prefer to have the tea steeped longer than is practicable with a ball, you may provide a teapot, since in this case, if there are many to be served, it will be convenient to put the tea in small bags made of thin muslin, which may be removed when fresh tea is to be made, with less trouble than when the tea is put directly in the pot, or when the tea ball is used and has to be emptied frequently. 

Milk and cream are not often served with afternoon tea, but as many persons do not enjoy the tea without one or the other, it will seem more hospitable to provide them. Do not omit the small bowl which will be so handy for the tea bags, or any portion which may be left, if a second cup is desired. Small hemstitched napkins of the finest linen, or, if your means will not permit this, the dainty paper napkins, will give your guest a measure of enjoyment far in excess of your labor in providing them. — Mary J. Lincoln, Copyright, 1901

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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