I love tea! Sweet, unsweetened, herbal, hot, iced, flavored, doesn’t matter as long as it ain’t instant.

But when I’m hungry, I want food. According to some light research on my part, Anna, 7th duchess Of Bedford, got hungry in the mid afternoon and wanted a light snack to tide her over until dinner which was apparently always served quite late. So, the practice became popular amongst both the poor and the wealthy. I’m guessing the menus weren’t even similar.

Since I’m obviously easy to please with tea, I want a substantial selection of food. I occasionally do teas for folks but I assure you that the emphasis is on the food. I know folks who love food and hate tea.

I’m offering some of my favorites today and hope you’ll add them to your list of favorites. Add your favorite pound cake, sugar cookie or cupcake for a sweet ending. Since it isn’t officially a tea, cappuccino squares will make a delicious addition.

Crunchy Egg Salad

Compliments of Lynn Cassell

4 hard boiled eggs, cooled and finely diced

1/2 cup grated raw carrots

1/4 cup finely diced celery

2 slices bacon, crisply fried and crumbled

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1 teaspoon grated onion

Salt and pepper to taste

Mayonnaise sufficient to bind ingredients

Stir all together in order given. Cover and chill until serving time. Spread on sliced bread. Serve as desired.

Aunt Elsie’s pimento cheese

1 pound American cheese, grated

1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos, lightly drained

Mayonnaise enough to bind

Spread on bread for sandwiches or crackers for a snack

Easiest Cucumber

sandwiches

1 (8-ounce) carton whipped cream cheese

2 teaspoons dry ranch dressing mix

Thinly sliced cucumbers

Combine cream cheese and ranch dressing mix. Set aside for thirty minutes or so to blend flavors. Spread mixture thinly on slices of bread. Cut off crusts. Cut into two or four equal parts. Top with one two thin slices of cucumber. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Cappuccino squares

For the crust:

1 1/2 boxes Nabisco chocolate wafers, finely crushed

1 1/2 sticks butter, melted

For the custard:

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 tablespoons instant espresso powder

Pinch of salt

6 cups half and half

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped cream for topping

Preheat oven to 350°. Pour melted butter into crushed crumbs.

Mix well and press firmly into a rimmed 15x10 inch sheet pan. Bake 15 minutes.

Cool completely.

In a medium size heavy saucepan, whisk together sugar and next four ingredients.

Whisk in milk until well blended. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce to simmer and cook 6-8 minutes, stirring often, until thickened.

Remove from heat, stir in chocolate chips and vanilla until smooth. Pour filling into crust.

Cover with plastic wrap right on the surface. Refrigerate 8-10 hours.

Miss Olivia Sipe is the owner of Miss Olivia’s Table in Maryville.

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