Tea and Crumpets

Americans are missing something, not having the concept of "tea time." I said to someone this morning, "I’ll be there around tea time" and got a blank look. I’m not saying we need an extra meal. (I mean, the last thing American’s need is to eat MORE.) But the chronological concept of tea time is very useful. We say all the time "I’ll be there by dinner. I’ll stop by at lunchtime." It’s just useful to express a non-specific but generally socially agreed upon time of day.

Mr. RCM get’s irritated with me when I say "Americans need to this…" or "American’s don’t that." He’s like, "You’re American. You were BORN here." Yes, and when I say "Americans" I totally include myself in that. As it happens, however, I was raised by my eccentric Dutch family, I don’t even have an extended American family (I have an uncle and cousins on my Dad’s side, but they lived far away), and my dad adapted much more to my mom’s European habits than vice versa. Mostly where culinary matters are concerned.

So I grew up with some eating idiosyncrasies that might have blended in better in other parts of the country, where there’s more Dutch and German influence, or a more diverse cultural melting pot. But in Texas, you get looked at a little weird when you put jam on your pancakes instead of syrup. Or eat your pizza with a knife and fork. (Though I actually stopped doing that pretty quick, because the mocking was intense.) Oh, and here’s a shocker: I don’t believe you need to eat meat at every meal. Heck, I don’t even think you need to eat meat every DAY. And that was before I went vegetarian. I really do not understand the American obsession with meat.

Heh. My inner 12 year old snickers.

ANYWAY. By "tea time," I’m not talking about high tea, with scones and jam and Royal Doulton. (At least, not as a general rule, because I do love my scones and jam. And my Royal Doulton.)  I know a lot of people who stop mid day to have a cup of coffee or tea and a snack, to have a break, or tide them over for dinner. This is not a unique concept. But there’s no name or agreed upon time for this mini-meal. But I think we need one.

I wouldn’t mind adding Elevenses to the American lexicon, either. Though I’d be willing to go with what we call it in my house, which is "second breakfast."