What would a vacation to England be without a traditional afternoon tea? Our family enjoyed this quintessentially English ritual at our accommodations. To unwind after our transatlantic flight, we relaxed in the elegant drawing room of the Duke’s London with a spread of H. Forman’s smoked Scottish salmon, ham and tomato, cream cheese and cucumber, coronation chicken finger sandwiches, a selection of pastries, and warm fruit and plan scones, clotted cream, and strawberry jam.
Once we left the topsy-turvy of urban life behind, we had a pared-down afternoon tea on a lovely courtyard overlooking the gardens at the Ensleigh Hotel in Devon.
Who would not want to sit down with Jane Austen and join her in a cup of tea? Here for the first time is a book that shares the secrets of one of her favorite rituals.
Tea figures prominently in Jane Austen’s life and work. At the centre of almost every social situation in her novels one finds tea. In Emma, does Miss Bates drink coffee? Of course not: ‘No coffee, I thank you, for me-never take coffee.-A little tea if you please.’ In Pride and Prejudice, what is one of the supreme honours Mr. Collins can envision Lady Catherine bestowing on Elizabeth Bennet and her friends? Why, drinking tea with her, naturally.
Tea with Jane Austen begins with tea drinking in the morning and ends with tea in the evening, at balls and other gatherings. Each chapter includes a description of how tea was taken at a particular place or time of day, along with history, recipes, excerpts from Austen’s novels and letters and illustrations from the time.
Kim Wilson is a writer, editor, and gardener who lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and is a longtime member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Her other titles for Frances Lincoln are In the Garden with Jane Austen and At Home with Jane Austen.