Bilbo as Mr. Bennett? and an explanation of the difference of high tea vs low tea.
A lot of people (if not most) have the wrong idea about what a Victorian (1800s) ‘high-tea’ is, when people say high-tea, they actually mean low-tea … it has been wrongly termed for nearly 70 years because to us ‘high’ sounds more upper class than ‘low’ … Yet high-teawas a working man’s hearty tea and supper after a long, hard day of manual labour. It was the combination of afternoon tea and the evening meal, of various dishes and cold cuts of meat and cheese, eaten on a high table, (usually the only table in the house).
Afternoon tea on the other hand would often be served for guests sitting around smaller, lower tables in the parlour with dainty desserts and fine china on them, and was always referred to as low-tea. This was the tea preferred by the upper classes, who had a much later evening meal in the separate dining room on the higher tables.
includes this 18th century instruction on how to brew a proper cuppa tea:
Note: There is very little art in making good tea; if the water is boiling, and there is no sparing of the fragrant leaf, the beverage will almost invariably be good. The old-fashioned plan of allowing a teaspoonful to each person, and one over, is still practised. Warm the teapot with boiling water; let it remain for two or three minutes for the vessel to become thoroughly hot, then pour it away. Put in the tea, pour in from 1/2 to 3/4 pint of boiling water, close the lid, and let it stand for the tea to draw from 5 to 10 minutes; then fill up the pot with water. The tea will be quite spoiled unless made with water that is actually ‘boiling’, as the leaves will not open, and the flavour not be extracted from them; the beverage will consequently be colourless and tasteless,—in fact, nothing but tepid water.Mrs. Beaton's book on household mangement can be downloaded from Project Gutenburg
or listened to from Librivox
headsup Scifi writer Sarah Hoyt at instapundit: