Tea service, tea-time, high tea, tea and mystery, tea and crumpets, tea and sympathy, tea and whimsy, tea for two, a spot of tea, tea and fancy, tea rooms, coffee or tea, the Mad Hatter's tea party, tea and thee.
Don't roll your eyes, although I know it's tempting. I know I chattered away about the mystique of Afternoon Tea in previous posts. (I'm actually writing the bulk of this post on October 6).
What's the appeal? First off, tea service is outside of the typical American breakfast/lunch/dinner schema (or breakfast/dinner/supper, or brunch/late supper, or what have you) and has a civilized yet indulgent aura. I like the idea, obviously, and have nothing but positive highly romanticized associations with it.
I keep thinking I'll introduce an abbreviated but still pleasing afternoon tea ritual to those days I'm home alone and writing, but as of yet I haven't made that committment. Today's wonderful rain has me daydreaming about such things.
It's tempting. To keep this additional meal break from turning into a weight-gain program (or programme) I'd have to have a very light breakfast (which I already do), no second breakfast (like Hobbits, I'm afraid I sometimes like a mid-morning treat), and I'd have to stick with just some fruit or veggies for lunch. Teatime's shortbread cookies and finger-sandwiches are indulgences with a price; but frankly I've been known to grab a fistful of Fritos or peanut butter pretzels around that same time anyway. A cup of steaming Earl Grey, gentle piano music, cloth napkins, and a few tasty treats would be a real improvement.