Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I remember when you didn't meet up for coffee, you went to someone's house for morning tea (or afternoon tea depending on the schedule). Traditionally there would be three to five options available for guests. There was always hot scones, scalded or whipped cream and homemade jam (two varieties). And from there the creativity of the hostess took off. My personal favorites were: lemon marshmallow slice, shortbread with passionfruit icing, hedgehog slice, orange syrup cake, vanilla slice and custard creams with real butter icing and a touch of passionfruit.
There was mugs for the coffee drinkers and cups and saucers for those partaking in tea.
Any unlike today's High Tea tradition, you didn't need to get poshed up. Okay you didn't go in your gardening clothes either but you get the idea. And this wasn't an "event" it just, well, "was". The hostess didn't go to any trouble as such (it is no big deal to whip up a batch of scones or bake a cake) because baking was a regular part of life - you always had a cake and a slice or biscuits around the house.
Some of these women worked from home, others part time - all worked at the school canteen, the local show and a dozen other community events. And all were members of at least two community groups, and then there was the sporting clubs and maybe even a church group or two.
I remember the first time someone served Tim Tams - there was a mixture of shock that she served a "bought" item to serve to guests and relish that this holy treat was sitting in front of me, and that the plate would soon be offered in my direction. I had a similar experience with Kingstons :-)
At these morning teas (usually for between 5 and 15 guests - plus little kids) there would be lots of chatting about life and gardens and family and the goings-on of the world. There would be support for those who needed it. There was the organizing of babysitting swaps, recipe swaps, clothes swaps, magazine swaps and general advice swaps. It was women being a part of the sisterhood that has carried through generations since time immemorial.
This was a time of history that has well and truly gone - the sisterhood is still there, we just have recreated it to suit our world and lives - but I am so glad I got to experience it before it vanished completely.
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