In the 1930’s world of ‘Modern Practical Cookery’ one always had a maid, so tea brought to the drawing-room would be your ‘maid’ so called even if she was in her fifties. A previous piece of advice suggested that ‘the mistress’ make sure her maid had rubber heeled shoes if the floor was polished!
Tea is usually brought into the drawing-room on a tray. the plates remain stacked on the tea-table, the knives being placed beside them, each person taking a plate and a knife as required. If it is a dining room tea, though, each plate and knife is laid separately.
The kettle boiling on the tea-table adds to the charm of its appearance. have your spirit-kettle filled with almost boiling water before it is brought to the table, though, and save a long wait. If you make tea in this way, you must have a pretty tea caddy with its spoon of some quaint design placed on the tea-tray.
If rolled bread-and-butter and dainty sandwiches, sweet and savoury, are served, there will be no necessity for tea-knives to be provided.
I’ve looked at the sandwiches section of the book to see if there are any suggestions of what might constitute ‘dainty’, and was interested to see that ready sliced bread was available then; I had thought it was a post-war thing! before I share some of the more unusual fillings suggested, here is the introduction to the section:
Sandwiches can be varied in all kinds of ways, brown as well as white bread can be used, and bridge rolls should sometimes be included. Ready sliced sandwich loaves can now be bought, which is a saving of much time and labour.
Liver sausage makes an excellent filling; it should be thinly sliced and the skin removed.
Minced ham flavoured with a few chopped chives makes another good filling, as does cold scrambled eggs, well seasoned and flavoured with a little chopped pimento.
Sandwiches should not be made long before they are required as they so soon get dry.
For picnics, they are best wrapped in greaseproof paper, then put in an airtight tin; failing this, wrap them in a cloth.
Liver sausage? Even sliced thin with the skin removed I’m not sure it is to today’s taste – even if you could still get it – however, it’s actually not much different from paté. Scrambled eggs is not something I have ever thought of as a sandwich filling, even flavoured with a little chopped pimento… and can you still buy bridge rolls? I used to love them! No cling film, no plastic airtight boxes, just greaseproof paper,a tin or a cloth!
So how about, these,, dainty enough?
- banana and jam
- beef dripping
- hare and cranberry
- honey and walnut
- paste (home-made – fish or meat paste beaten with butter and cooked egg yolks)
- tongue and ham