Wednesday, December 24, 2008


The first picture above is from this week's Consulting "meeting" over tea at the Queen Victoria Building. From the Tea room's website:

Imported by the East India Company, the first samples of tea reached England between 1652 and 1654. By the middle of the 18th century, tea had quickly proven popular enough to replace ale as the English national drink.
Prior to the 17th century, the English had two main meals - breakfast and dinner. It was Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, who first invited her friends to join her for an additional afternoon meal of bread and butter sandwiches, small cakes and, of course, tea. Later, made popular by Queen Victoria, afternoon tea developed into an indulgent cuisine of wafer-thin crust less sandwiches typically of cucumber, smoked salmon and cheddar cheese, fancy cakes and regional British savouries and pastries such as Welsh rarebit, Scottish scones and English crumpets.
Two distinct forms of tea services evolved: ‘low’ and ‘high’ tea. Low tea, enjoyed in the low or early part of the afternoon, was served in aristocratic homes and featured gourmet titbits with emphasis being on the presentation and conversation. The working class originated high tea. Not having the means of two main meals each day they combined afternoon tea with the evening meal, serving meats, breads and cakes with hot tea at the end of the day.
I was surprised to hear that high tea originated with the working class. I had always associated it with the wealthy, but it makes sense that they couldn't just insert an extra meal in their day. This was quite clearly high tea as I almost had to be rolled back to the office.
The other picture above was taken at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's restaurant just before our last race of the Spring Series. Eric is about to eat a bacon and egg roll, one of his favourite discoveries in Australia. He has one every Friday at work and has been telling me about it for months, so we decided we'd both get one to fuel us for the final race. I had thought a bacon and egg roll would be some kind of wrap, but it's actually a large dinner roll or like a deli hamburger bun. The eggs are fried, which gets quite messy, and the bacon is more like a large slice of seasoned ham. The closest thing to what Americans think of as bacon is called crispy bacon here. You slather the whole mess with BBQ sauce, which I think it delightful. I've been trying to figure out how to get BBQ sauce into breakfast for years...Of course, if this was an American invention, it would also involve cheese.

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