Sunday, August 25, 2013

And Don't Forget To Crook Your Little Finger, Just So

Yesterday afternoon we had the pleasure of tea and visiting with Next Door, our former neighbors.  They were just back from a visit to his parents in the Northern England and she decided to serve us two traditional English tea foods.

First up was a plate of cucumber sandwiches.  Normally I don't eat cucumbers, but in the interests of research, I took one.  They are good!  I had to restrain myself from slinging an arm around the plate and firmly announcing, "This plate is mine."

You, too, can have one -- you'll need a quality, soft-ish white bread, crusts neatly removed and spread with thin cream cheese which is then dusted with salt and pepper and see-through thin slices of cucumber.  Fold the bread over and serve. 

Cucumber sandwiches began their popularity during the Victorian era when the upper clawss didn't have all that much to do physically so they could afford to gorge on not-so-nutritious foods at tea and other meals.  The working class ate much heartier - boiled eggs and various meats being a part of their teas.  They needed the energy.

Then along came the Edwardian age when ample supplies of coal (and cheap labor) made greenhouses popular and cucumber sandwiches became an all-year treat. 

Nest our hostess gave us individual short squat glasses that held "Fool" which is a mix of equal parts stewed seasonal fruits and whipped cream.  It is believed by some that "fool" is a derivation of the French verb "fouler" meaning "to crush."  Historians can't agree on where the word really did come from, but eaters will probably agree it doesn't matter -- just "Some more, please" does.

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