I grew up in an inn where my mother ran costumed Victorian tea parties. So naturally whenever we went on vacation my mother would take us for a busman’s holiday, and we’d all go out for high tea. This was something that I got used to at a very young age. We went to tea shops, grand hotels, out of the way inns. If there was a tea in town, my mother found it.
Fast forward to the first time my then fiancée/now husband came on vacation with us to Cape Cod. We were driving around, and my mother spotted a little tea room. We hadn’t had lunch, so we decided to give it a go. I told my husband that we were going to go for tea, and his little face just sank. Like a little puppy who had just figured out that his bowl was empty.
I looked at my mother, and we both realized at the same moment that when we said go to tea, he thought we meant “let’s sit down and drink a cup of tea.” And having my mother’s sense of humor, we silently agreed not to tell my husband that food was in fact a large portion of afternoon tea. He whispered to me as we went into the tea shop, “But I’m really hungry.”
I whispered back, “We’ll get something to eat in a few hours.”
As soon as we were seated, he went to the bathroom, probably to cry tears of vacation hunger or to eat toilet paper to fill his stomach. While he was gone, my mother and I ordered everything so he came back to a nice cup of hot tea. The poor thing must really have been starving, because he walked past tables of people eating and apparently didn’t notice that the place most definitely served food.
He sat there sipping his tea, trying to look happy, and then the tiered trays of sandwiches and cakes came out, and his eyes welled up as he stared lovingly at the food while my mother and I giggled to ourselves cause we’re nice like that. Luckily, we had ordered him his own set of sandwiches because he tore through the whole tray.
And to this day my husband still has a strong affinity for afternoon tea.