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High Tea with Gerri

High Tea with Gerri
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  • High Tea with Gerri

    Post #1 - March 12th, 2006, 10:29 pm
    Post #1 - March 12th, 2006, 10:29 pm Post #1 - March 12th, 2006, 10:29 pm
    High Tea with Gerri

    Just after the first of the year, my Dad dropped on my desk a flyer promising a High Tea in the English style. I contacted Gerri to learn she is an Irish woman who lived some years in England. Today she is a caterer who offers a specialized service of English High Teas in the “proper manner,” which she has not seen otherwise demonstrated in the Chicago area. I took her information, which I pitched to several organizations I belong to, the first tea was yesterday.

    My friends and I were generously lent a Frank Lloyd Wright home for this special tea for 54 people. Walking into the dining room, there was an antique tea cart arrayed with antique bone china tea cups and saucers. There were so many colors and styles of tea cups it was like a dazzling dish of mixed candies.

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    The gentle wave of beauty continues to unfold with the dining room table arranged with food and fresh flowers awaiting the service to begin.

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    The tea commences with the guests collecting a bone china antique plate and antique linen napkin.

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    Walk over to a server who introduces you to the tea sandwiches offered.

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    I inquired would I be considered a ungracious if I simply had one of everything. The server smiled advising it was perfectly fine to have one of everything.

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    With my plate of sandwiches I walked over to the tea table, where my cup of tea was poured through a strainer to capture the leaves. I was offered cream, lemon and sugar for my tea, which had a heavenly fragrant scent. I then found myself a place to comfortably perch in the living room to chat with friends and listen to the piano. No need to wander to collect other treats because the remaining food was brought to my guests and I.

    Image

    The second course of the tea was scones served with Devonshire cream, lemon curd and strawberry preserves. This was presented on an antique plate with a silver knife to apply the cream and sweets to the scone. Your cup of tea was refilled and your sandwich plate was taken away. These scones were moister than most with a hint of sweetness often lacking in scones.

    Image

    The third course was an apple and rhubarb pie draped with fresh cream served on an antique plate with a silver fork. The tea cup was refilled and the scone plate was taken away. The subtle sweetness of this pie is a European characteristic, which tasted wonderfully decadent with the fresh cream.

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    The final course was three tiers of petite fours placed on the coffee table for everyone to select as few or as many as they wanted.

    Image

    The servers continued to circulate with pots of tea and strainers to keep you satisfied.

    The dining table had the remaining sandwiches, scones and tarts to be revisited as guests desired.

    Everyone left this occasion happily from this memorable experience, delicious food and lovely setting.

    High Tea with Gerri
    Phone: 847/948-1724
    Website: www.HTWG.net
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #2 - March 12th, 2006, 10:40 pm
    Post #2 - March 12th, 2006, 10:40 pm Post #2 - March 12th, 2006, 10:40 pm
    C2,

    There is something very attractive about this British tea ceremony, though I have never been to one.

    Eating sugary things with tea makes sense to me (acid balancing sweet), but some of the other items are hard for me to imagine: cheese, veggies and tea seems just odd to me.

    Perhaps someday,

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #3 - March 12th, 2006, 10:43 pm
    Post #3 - March 12th, 2006, 10:43 pm Post #3 - March 12th, 2006, 10:43 pm
    HI,

    I hope to have Gerri do High Tea for Chicago Foodways Roundtable this fall. I hope you will join us then. Of the 54 guests at least 20 were men, who seemed just as pleased with the event as the ladies.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #4 - March 12th, 2006, 10:58 pm
    Post #4 - March 12th, 2006, 10:58 pm Post #4 - March 12th, 2006, 10:58 pm
    Except that it what she is presenting most emphatically isn't a "high tea." *sigh*
  • Post #5 - March 12th, 2006, 11:00 pm
    Post #5 - March 12th, 2006, 11:00 pm Post #5 - March 12th, 2006, 11:00 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:With my plate of sandwiches I walked over to the tea table, where my cup of tea was poured through a strainer to capture the leaves. I was offered cream, lemon and sugar for my tea, which had a heavenly fragrant scent.


    Was the strainer to catch the odd stray leaf that may have been in the pot of (prestrained) brewed tea? Any idea what tea or teas were served? (I realize the focus may have been the food, which btw looks great)

    As for the food eaten at high tea - I was under the impression this was because it was essentially a light supper.
    I found this site which suggests it was actually for the working classes
  • Post #6 - March 12th, 2006, 11:24 pm
    Post #6 - March 12th, 2006, 11:24 pm Post #6 - March 12th, 2006, 11:24 pm
    HI,

    The tea strainer caught a number of tea leaves. I don't know the name of the tea, though it smelled quite fragrant.

    There is another thread on high tea, where I quote a website MAG identified on History of Tea

    During the second half of the Victorian Period, known as the Industrial Revolution, working families would return home tired and exhausted. The table would be set with any manner of meats, bread, butter, pickles, cheese and of course tea. None of the dainty finger sandwiches, scones and pastries of afternoon tea would have been on the menu. Because it was eaten at a high, dining table rather than the low tea tables, it was termed "high" tea.


    There are three basic types of Afternoon, or Low Tea:

    Cream Tea - Tea, scones, jam and cream
    Light Tea - Tea, scones and sweets
    Full Tea - Tea, savories, scones, sweets and dessert

    In England, the traditional time for tea was four or five o'clock and no one stayed after seven o'clock. Most tea rooms today serve tea from three to five o'clock. The menu has also changed from tea, bread, butter and cakes, to include three particular courses served specifically in this order:

    Savories - Tiny sandwiches or appetizers
    Scones - Served with jam and Devonshire or clotted cream
    Pastries - Cakes, cookies, shortbread and sweets


    It is abundantly clear what we were served what is known in England as Full (Afternoon) Tea. While most Americans are generally uninformed and refer to all these occasions as high tea, which is really the working man's tea. I think if Gerri put out a pamplet stating 'Low Tea' with so few knowing what that means as opposed to 'High Tea,' she was better off simply rolling her eyes and stating 'High Tea' instead of Low or Afternoon Tea.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #7 - March 13th, 2006, 4:50 pm
    Post #7 - March 13th, 2006, 4:50 pm Post #7 - March 13th, 2006, 4:50 pm
    Oh sundevilpeg,
    My sigh too was extremely heavy when I first saw this post regarding
    the infernal and incorrect usage of "high tea ".Could it not have been called
    " Afternoon Tea with Gerri? The misuse of High Tea when referring in
    fact to Afternoon Tea is so prevalent among Americans, as to be
    bordering pandemic proportions ! I have waged a single-handed
    battle for years, sending letters and emails whenever possible to try
    and offset this perturbing nationwide faux pas. The ease of use for
    Americans is no excuse for perpetuating the continued misue of this
    term . However, this place looks adorable, so I guess I should just hang
    it up and start calling it high tea like everyone else* sigh*.
  • Post #8 - March 13th, 2006, 5:29 pm
    Post #8 - March 13th, 2006, 5:29 pm Post #8 - March 13th, 2006, 5:29 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:HI,


    In England, the traditional time for tea was four or five o'clock and no one stayed after seven o'clock. Most tea rooms today serve tea from three to five o'clock. The menu has also changed from tea, bread, butter and cakes, to include three particular courses served specifically in this order:

    It is abundantly clear what we were served what is known in England as Full (Afternoon) Tea. While most Americans are generally uninformed and refer to all these occasions as high tea, which is really the working man's tea. I think if Gerri put out a pamplet stating 'Low Tea' with so few knowing what that means as opposed to 'High Tea,' she was better off simply rolling her eyes and stating 'High Tea' instead of Low or Afternoon Tea.

    Regards,


    I think this is probably true most places, not just the US - just the words
    "high tea" are used for pretty much any tea service in many parts
    of the world. The times hold true however - tea is usually considered
    to be about a 3 or 4 pm thing. (In test match cricket, there is actually
    a tea interval every day - even that seems to be about 3ish in most
    places. Basically it is 2 hours after lunch ends, in cricket - in "real
    life" tea would be about 3 or so hours post-lunch, Id guess, but
    not much more. Certainly not 7pm).

    There is a "Tea Center" in Bombay, which serves various teas all day
    long, as well as breakfast, brunch and lunch. However, they too do a
    "High Tea" at 3:30 every day. A very Indianized one, obviously :-)

    ----------------
    From 3.30 p.m., it is High Tea, the waiters going around with their tea
    services, the aroma of tea gardens in the air, lemon sponge cakes and
    banana-walnut loaves, the tea sandwich platter, pakodas and samosas
    (unfortunately not the Bombay kheema samosas), and the finest french
    fries in town (putting into shade McDonald's), to be eaten with the
    Bengali mustard.
    ----------

    The place itself (and the service) is probably more authentic, however -
    since the British first really started their "afternoon tea" in India anyway,
    I think :-)

    -----------
    It's bright, well laid out, air-conditioned, waiters in turbans, fine silver,
    bone china, the charming Shaheen Adenwala as manager, piped music,
    a grand piano, which opens up at 3.30 in the afternoon, in time for High
    Tea, and any customer can play it (they are looking for a regular pianist).
    ---------

    The teas served are mostly Darjeelings (my own regular tea there was
    none of these however - it was a "kullad ki chai", served in an
    earthen cup, and containing the Indian "gud", jaggery instead of
    sugar). A nice relaxing spot it is, too - serving the purpose of all
    tea services. More at:

    http://mumbainet.com/eatinout/teacentr.htm

    c8w
  • Post #9 - March 13th, 2006, 5:35 pm
    Post #9 - March 13th, 2006, 5:35 pm Post #9 - March 13th, 2006, 5:35 pm
    c8w, Sundevil and Baronness,

    You will be pleased, I hope, this tea was served from 3 PM to 5 PM in keeping with tradition.

    Someday whenever I do go to India, I hope to visit the tea room you described above.

    Regards,
    Last edited by Cathy2 on March 13th, 2006, 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #10 - March 13th, 2006, 5:40 pm
    Post #10 - March 13th, 2006, 5:40 pm Post #10 - March 13th, 2006, 5:40 pm
    I wonder whether the American misuse of "high tea" comes about because we think of "high" as "formal" or "ceremonious" (as in high church), and there is a conception of afternoon (full) tea being a formal, white gloves kind of event.
  • Post #11 - July 26th, 2011, 8:14 am
    Post #11 - July 26th, 2011, 8:14 am Post #11 - July 26th, 2011, 8:14 am
    There is a WeDeal coupon for Gerri's today. http://wedeal.com/deals/728

    I'd love to go if we could get a group together.
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

    I write fiction. You can find me—and some stories—on Facebook, Twitter and my website.
  • Post #12 - July 26th, 2011, 8:52 am
    Post #12 - July 26th, 2011, 8:52 am Post #12 - July 26th, 2011, 8:52 am
    Pie Lady wrote:There is a WeDeal coupon for Gerri's today. http://wedeal.com/deals/728

    I'd love to go if we could get a group together.

    I don't want to register, what is the deal?

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #13 - July 26th, 2011, 9:19 am
    Post #13 - July 26th, 2011, 9:19 am Post #13 - July 26th, 2011, 9:19 am
    It's $25 for a $50 Tea. Expires in 6 months. You don't have to register to view the deal, only if you want to buy it.
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

    I write fiction. You can find me—and some stories—on Facebook, Twitter and my website.
  • Post #14 - July 26th, 2011, 12:47 pm
    Post #14 - July 26th, 2011, 12:47 pm Post #14 - July 26th, 2011, 12:47 pm
    If she's swamped 6 months isn't long enough to get a date in, IMO.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #15 - July 26th, 2011, 1:01 pm
    Post #15 - July 26th, 2011, 1:01 pm Post #15 - July 26th, 2011, 1:01 pm
    Hi,

    I have contracted Gerri for a tea on October 23rd with Mrs. Bertha Palmer hosting. It won't be $25, though I think you will like it.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #16 - July 26th, 2011, 1:18 pm
    Post #16 - July 26th, 2011, 1:18 pm Post #16 - July 26th, 2011, 1:18 pm
    I'd love to see what that's like. I've been to the Russian Tea Room but this sounds way cooler. I hope I can make it on that date!
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

    I write fiction. You can find me—and some stories—on Facebook, Twitter and my website.
  • Post #17 - July 27th, 2011, 4:37 pm
    Post #17 - July 27th, 2011, 4:37 pm Post #17 - July 27th, 2011, 4:37 pm
    So Cathy, Can we use the deal to attend the Oct tea?
  • Post #18 - July 27th, 2011, 5:55 pm
    Post #18 - July 27th, 2011, 5:55 pm Post #18 - July 27th, 2011, 5:55 pm
    If you didn't buy it already, better hurry - the deal is over in 5 hours.
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

    I write fiction. You can find me—and some stories—on Facebook, Twitter and my website.
  • Post #19 - July 27th, 2011, 6:16 pm
    Post #19 - July 27th, 2011, 6:16 pm Post #19 - July 27th, 2011, 6:16 pm
    AnneK wrote:So Cathy, Can we use the deal to attend the Oct tea?

    Sorry, no. I am paying full price plus an actress and room rental.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #20 - September 2nd, 2011, 12:17 pm
    Post #20 - September 2nd, 2011, 12:17 pm Post #20 - September 2nd, 2011, 12:17 pm
    Hi,

    As promised, I have posted a tea using Gerri's services: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=32653

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #21 - September 3rd, 2011, 10:23 am
    Post #21 - September 3rd, 2011, 10:23 am Post #21 - September 3rd, 2011, 10:23 am
    This sounds absolutely delightful.

    My family always referred to a nosh (I've married a NY Jew, now half our references are Yiddish) in the late afternoon as "high tea", at least semi-humorously. My grandmother's family was British, and it could be that there was family history to it, or not.

    Cathy, your distinction about high dining tables vs. low tea tables is a revelation that makes everything clear. I always assumed that "high" meant class.
  • Post #22 - September 3rd, 2011, 6:08 pm
    Post #22 - September 3rd, 2011, 6:08 pm Post #22 - September 3rd, 2011, 6:08 pm
    I thought it meant classiness too. What I don't get is why they eat at different tables at different times of the day. Do they explain that on the tour? I'm going to try to make it to this.
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

    I write fiction. You can find me—and some stories—on Facebook, Twitter and my website.
  • Post #23 - September 4th, 2011, 11:34 pm
    Post #23 - September 4th, 2011, 11:34 pm Post #23 - September 4th, 2011, 11:34 pm
    JudyH wrote:I always assumed that "high" meant class.


    Pie Lady wrote:I thought it meant classiness too.


    Me, too, until I did some research.

    Pie Lady wrote:What I don't get is why they eat at different tables at different times of the day. Do they explain that on the tour? I'm going to try to make it to this.

    The working class tea at a dining room table is far more attractive and comfortable arrangement. Leaning over (a coffee?) table to daintily sip and eat your food would make my back scream.

    Gerri will be available to answer your questions.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #24 - May 14th, 2017, 1:50 pm
    Post #24 - May 14th, 2017, 1:50 pm Post #24 - May 14th, 2017, 1:50 pm
    Thought I'd add a data point: the Lovely Dining Companion and I together with my sister and brother-in-law took Mom out for high tea this morning (only reservation we could get) for Mother's Day. Very nice rooms, attentive service, and remarkably mediocre food. The sandwiches were fresh but completely unexceptional. Average at best. Too many of the little sandwiches were not well made: smushed/compacted bread isn't a particularly attractive presentation and the filling combinations/preparations were, by and large, in the C or C- range. Some were pleasant, but nothing was better than that. The petit fours and macarons were generally pretty good but we all suspected they were made elsewhere. The scones were just flat-out not good. The baker either completely forgot the sugar or made some other odd decision. It's not that they weren't sweet--it was that they had no flavor at all. Five out of five of us did not care for them. The tea was their single variety black tea--indeed, we were not even asked about tea, they simply started pouring. Very odd for a high tea that there would be no choice whatsoever.
    $200 for five people, which included a mimosa rather heavier on the orange juice than the champagne. Again: service was fine (though it's always nice to have hot tea when you get a refill, not lukewarm). Mom seemed to enjoy it, so there's that. Otherwise, I don't think we'll be returning.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #25 - May 15th, 2017, 8:12 am
    Post #25 - May 15th, 2017, 8:12 am Post #25 - May 15th, 2017, 8:12 am
    Gypsy Boy wrote:Thought I'd add a data point: the Lovely Dining Companion and I together with my sister and brother-in-law took Mom out for high tea this morning (only reservation we could get) for Mother's Day. Very nice rooms, attentive service, and remarkably mediocre food. The sandwiches were fresh but completely unexceptional. Average at best. Too many of the little sandwiches were not well made: smushed/compacted bread isn't a particularly attractive presentation and the filling combinations/preparations were, by and large, in the C or C- range. Some were pleasant, but nothing was better than that. The petit fours and macarons were generally pretty good but we all suspected they were made elsewhere. The scones were just flat-out not good. The baker either completely forgot the sugar or made some other odd decision. It's not that they weren't sweet--it was that they had no flavor at all. Five out of five of us did not care for them. The tea was their single variety black tea--indeed, we were not even asked about tea, they simply started pouring. Very odd for a high tea that there would be no choice whatsoever.
    $200 for five people, which included a mimosa rather heavier on the orange juice than the champagne. Again: service was fine (though it's always nice to have hot tea when you get a refill, not lukewarm). Mom seemed to enjoy it, so there's that. Otherwise, I don't think we'll be returning.


    Who was offering tea service in the morning?
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #26 - May 16th, 2017, 7:17 am
    Post #26 - May 16th, 2017, 7:17 am Post #26 - May 16th, 2017, 7:17 am
    It was Mother's Day. I suspect they were looking to have a good day and, by the time we figured out our plans, all the afternoon times were gone. High tea at 11:30 is strange enough, but sometimes you take what you can get. So we did it.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)

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