I’m not sure how I feel about mother’s day. I suspect that someone has snuck into card shops across the nation and made up another meaningless holiday devoid of sentiment, but I’ll agree that does perhaps sound a little cynical. So putting aside my anti-fake public holiday principles I am taking mum for afternoon tea, to demonstrate through pastry and cream just how much she means to me.
Tea in Britain (or at least in London) has benefited from the resulting ripples caused by a new wave of interest in coffee. Since tea overtook gin and ale as the drink of the masses in the mid 18th century it seems only right that we have finally realised that there is more to tea than breakfast or builders. You can now find exciting loose leaf teas ranging from Oolong to Lapsang Souchong without having to leave the aisles of your local supermarket.
Still Britain wouldn’t be Britain without the addition of some alcohol into the mix. As well as the now common glass of champagne, at Tate Modern we offer tea cocktails. You can take your choice from a ‘Honeyed words’; bourbon, lemon verbena syrup, honey and apple juice, or a ‘Pretentious Gent’; vodka, mint and Earl Grey Syrup to accompany your Battenberg slice. So not only could you start with a lovely cup of Bohea Lapsang but you could finish with a ‘See no Monkey, Hear no evil’ which surely is something worth trying.
I have sent my mum the menu in an affectionate but succinct email mentioning something about how it would be lovely to see her and does she like the idea of doing afternoon tea? I’m pretty sure that I have just signed myself up to an hour of bickering with biscuits, but I don’t know what would pay homage to our relationship better than exactly that.
Emma Marks is Project Coordinator at Tate Catering.