Afternoon tea in the 1930’s

Yesterday’s task on Masterchef was to prepare afternoon tea; there were six contestants and they had an hour and a half. Everything looked delicious and I’m sure it all was, but some looked and no doubted tasted better than others. Some of the delicacies weren’t very delicate, someone had forgotten sugar in a mille feuille, someone had used bought flat breads instead of making her own, someone’s offering was too chunky, another too dry…

I wondered if afternoon tea made an appearance in Modern Practical Cookery, published early 1930’s but provably with recipes from the previous decade.  couldn’t find a section on it, but did find recipes for afternoon tea cakes, afternoon tea fancies – left over cake trimmings cut in tiny shapes and covered in coloured and flavoured icing, afternoon tea scones and a whole section of three pages on sandwiches.

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…
Liver sausage makes an excellent filling; it should be sliced thinly and the skin removed.
Minced ham flavoured with a few chopped chives makes another good filling, as does also cold scrambled egg, well seasoned with a little chopped parsley…

I’m not sure you can still buy liver sausage, and although I love egg sandwiches I don’t think I would like scrambled egg as a filling. Many of the sandwiches listed are what you might expect, cheese, cucumber, ham… but there are some which to our taste sound distinctly odd to be served to guests:

  • banana and jam
  • egg and anchovy
  • honey and walnut
  • pineapple
  • sardine

I wonder what the Masterchef judges would think of a selection of these sandwiches!


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