Have High Tea in the 1800s and We'll Tell You How High Maintenance You Are

HISTORY

Zoe Samuel

5 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

High tea is a British concept that was originally about hunters returning too late for a regular teatime, typically between 4-5 p.m. As they would come in cold, probably wet, and hungry, they didn't always want to wait until a formal dinner time (usually 7.30 p.m. or even 8.30 p.m.) to munch on something. 

It was also the name of a meal eaten by poorer people who couldn't take a break for teatime and had to wait longer to have their afternoon tea, meaning they needed something a little more substantial. In Scotland, it is more like a regular afternoon tea, but instead of just typical teatime fare, it includes a savory item or too like a cheesy pastry, to fill you up against the damp and cold. It was so popular in England that many people from working-class backgrounds still refer to their evening meal as "tea."

High tea is thus a glorious combination of "low" tea - that is, the kind you eat on comfy chairs or, weather permitting, in the garden - and dinner. It involves a delicious pot of hot tea to heat your chilly insides, as well as teacakes such as Swiss roll and French fancies, and perhaps a couple of scones and some sandwiches. What makes it really amazing is the way it also includes something more hearty, like a meaty pastry, Scotch eggs, or a slice of meat pie.

Time to nosh on your own high tea, and we'll see how hard you are to please!

What time is high tea?

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What are you going to wear?

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Who else is there?

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How will the tea be served?

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What sandwiches will there be?

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Where will you eat?

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Who will serve the food?

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What will you talk about?

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How long will it last?

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What will the sandwiches rest on?

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Will there be coffee?

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What lighting will there be?

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Where will the dog sit?

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What will you put in your tea?

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How will the tea be brewed?

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Will the china match?

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What sweet items will there be?

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What will the table look like?

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How will people be invited?

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What entertainment will there be?

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This being the 1800s: does the house have heating?

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If politics comes up, what will you discuss?

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Will you have any guests from different social backgrounds?

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Who will tidy up?

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Will the kids be welcome?

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What sort of savory item will there be besides sandwiches?

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Will you ever go out for high tea?

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Will the men have time to change?

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Who are you trying to impress?

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What is the worst thing that could happen at high tea?

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