Pinky Up or Pinky Down When Drinking Tea?


The Queen enjoys a good cup of tea.

Miss Meredith Sweetpea was invited to partake in a lovely tea last week where the subject arose of whether or not it is proper to raise the pinky when raising the teacup to one’s lips.

Heavens, do people still think that “pinky up” is the proper way to drink tea?

 

Those in attendance were divided as to the correct answer, with each believing their method to be right. This called for an exploration of how to properly drink tea.

The Proper Way to Hold a Teacup

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Pinky up? Wrong!

The proper etiquette for holding the teacup is to pinch the handle of the cup between the thumb and the index finger if the handle is small, or pinching the same two fingers together through the handle.  The finger should not hook through the handle to raise the cup.

The handle should rest on the third finger, using the pinky beneath the cup to stabilize it, or using the 3 open fingers under the handle pressed against the cup to balance it, with the fingers curving back toward the wrist. Never should the pinky be raised.

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Hooking through the handle? Wrong!

In fact, it is considered rude to stick out the pinky, in addition to looking ridiculous. The practice originated from those wishing to elevate their status, however, it is ultimately taken as a symbol of elitism. In social settings, lifting the pinky will surely identify you as unsophisticated rather than what you intended it to mean.

Adding Milk and Sugar to Tea

If you wish to add milk to your tea to lighten or cool it, add the milk after the tea is poured into the cup. If you add it before the tea, you will not be able to tell how much is needed.

When stirring tea, use a back and forth swish of the spoon rather than a circular motion. And never clink the spoon against the side of the teacup to shake off any remaining drops. Simply place the spoon on the saucer behind the teacup.

If you are standing and drinking tea, hold the saucer with one hand as you drink with the other. Look down at your cup while you drink, and not at the others in the room. This will help prevent you from spilling your tea down the front of your frock or necktie.

Need a New Royal Doulton Tea Set?

If you need a new tea set, consider the lovely Royal Albert New Country Roses tea service from Royal Doulton, and its matching cups and saucers.

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Befuddled by the Flatware at a Formal Dinner?


formal-place-setting-silverwareMiss Meredith Sweetpea loves to attend a formal dinner. All the courses, with their delightful tastes, are just a pleasure to enjoy.

Attending a formal dinner, however, can befuddle some who are not familiar with the array of flatware (a.k.a. silverware) that is set upon the table. Often you’ll see a variety of forks, knives and spoons set beside and above the plate setting, along with a number of drinking glasses.

According to Miss Manners Judith Martin, when it comes to silverware,”Ten would be the maximum number of complements that could be on the table at the same time: a seafood (or cocktail) fork (nestling in the soup spoon); the soup spoon; sets of forks and knives for three courses (usually fish, meat, and salad and/or cheese; if more are needed for additional courses, they should be brought in separately); and a dessert spoon and fork above the plate.”

“A teaspoon has no place at a formal table because tea and coffee are not served during the meal; after-dinner coffee, formally served in a drawing room in a demi-tasse cup, requires the small spoon. If people do wish to drink coffee at the table, for example, the appropriate spoon should be put on the saucer.”

Which Utensil Do I Use for Which Course?

As a rule, silverware should be used from the outside in. In other words, the pieces farthest away from the plate on either side of it should be used first. After each course in a formal dinner, the used silverware should be placed upon the plate to be taken away, leaving the next set of flatware available on the outside of the serving plate. Soup spoons are often served on the plate with the soup, a butter knife usually rests on your bread plate to the left of your forks, and dessert utensils are generally placed above the plate and should remain there until the dessert arrives.

Follow the Host

If you are still befuddled by the array of flatware, the simple rule is to watch the host and do what he or she does.

–excerpted from “Miss Manners’ Guide for the Turn-of-the-Millennium,” by Judith Martin.

 

 

A Meredith Sweetpea Visit to Glenfiddich Farm Cookery School


meredith-sweetpea-chef-olwen-woodier-glenfiddich-cookery-school-virginiaFood is certainly one of the joys of life, and what better way to enjoy food than to learn from a professional. Miss Meredith Sweetpea had the pleasure of attending a cooking class at the Glenfiddich Farm Cookery School this past week. Located on a lovely acreage in Loudoun County, Virginia are the gardens from which chef Olwen Woodier selects her fresh produce for the menus she so lovingly prepares. The gardens are filled with vegetables, fruits and herbs to delight any palate.

The Glenfiddich Farm Cookery School was started in February 2005 in a stone-walled 1840s home that was formerly a dairy. The rustic elements of exposed beams and stone only add to the allure of the large, modern kitchen where Olwen conducts her classes many a Wednesday morning. The farm was originally called Gobblers Knob after the multitude of resident wild turkeys, then later was renamed Glenfiddich Farm (Celtic for “Valley of the Deer”) to celebrate the many local deer.

meredith-sweetpea-Glenfiddich-Cookery-Class-mealThis day, I, along with 3 other ladies, prepared a feast consisting of:

  • Potato spinach gnocchi with prosciutto, parsley and parmesan
  • Cucumber tomato gazpacho
  • Sauteed shrimp
  • Eggplant tomato caprese salad with red pepper basil pesto
  • Strawberry fool with homemade waffle cone accompaniments

It was quite the treat to gather the fresh herbs from the garden, and tour through the maze of plantings in Olwen’s backyard. The beautiful landscaping was accented throughout by flowers, birdhouses and sculptures to form a refreshing retreat. And there were baskets of fresh produce and eggs awaiting us in the kitchen. Olwen makes it a point to cook organically whenever possible, so freshness was abundant.

Each month, Glenfiddich features different menus, based around what is in season, and special classes can be held by request.

meredith-sweetpea-Olwen-Woodier-cookbooks

Order Olwen’s cookbooks!

Olwen Woodier is also a cookbook author, with award-winning cookbooks including:

Prior to running the Cookery, Olwen was a publicist and journalist, with hundreds of articles featured in national and regional magazines and newspapers including Woman’s Day, Gourmet, Family Circle, National Geographic Traveler and The New York Times.

If you are ever visiting Virginia and want a real taste of our Commonwealth, plan to take a cooking class at the Glenfiddich Farm.meredith-sweetpea-Glenfiddich-Farm-VA

Order Olwen Woodier’s Cookbooks for Yourself!

–Photography by Linda Barrett

 

 

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