I don’t know about you but there’s a certain feeling I get when I walk into a library. Even if I’m not there to get a book, I just like being among them. I love how every library is different. Aside from when I was in college trying to find ONE library that had the book I needed for an assignment, I also love that you can find different books in different locations. I’m a library nerd if you couldn’t tell. My public library is Schenectady but I follow the Clifton Park Library on Twitter (@cphpublib) and earlier this year I saw that they had Will Shortz who writes the crossword puzzles for the New York Times there. He taught us about how one makes a crossword puzzle, took our questions and we even played a few games. It was a lot of fun.
I also got my first look at the Clifton Park Library (475 Moe Road, Clifton Park) and it’s beautiful! Very clean and organized, I couldn’t wait to see what other programs they were going to have. Earlier this year, I went to another program about the History of Tea. I know I like tea but I don’t really know much about how it came to this country, how there are different kinds and especially not proper tea manners. I didn’t know there were any!
The woman hosting the program was Sue McLane “The Victorian Lady” who specializes in Victorian Cultural Education. She was not only very knowledgeable about that particular era but wore proper, authentic, attire from that time. First we learned about the Lu Yu or high tea ceremony in China where they steam the tea over the perfect wood picked at the perfect time. They only used tea leaves, the kind you would be in an infuser. Tea bags weren’t invented until the early 20th century and still don’t taste as fresh as the raw leaf. If you’re looking to have a tea get-together you could host or take part in high tea or afternoon tea which are very different from each other, she explained. High tea is a heavier meal, a supper with the possibility of having meat and you are allowed to use a fork. Afternoon tea is very light with no meat and the only utensil you use is a teaspoon.
She brought various teas for us to try, but beforehand we had to learn the polite tea manners when one is having a tea party. First, ladies are always seated first, eldest to youngest. Always place you napkins on your lap. Next, keep your elbows off of the table and feet firmly on the floor. Put milk and sugar inside your cup before the tea is poured in. Bring the cup to your lips and do not slurp! When chewing, remember to close your lips so as to not offend others. Keep the pinkie finger in check and use the napkin liberally. Conversation should be light and polite. Your teaspoon inside the cup means you’d like another by lying it across the top means no more for you. Finally, always thanks your hostess for the tea. I learned a lot about not only tea but the entire Victorian era, it was very interesting. Sue McLane is available to teach you and your friends about tea for private tea parties, contact her at 518-736-2855. We eventually were allowed to eat some tea sandwiches with our cups of tea and I recommend making a light mayo and cucumber sandwich on white bread for your next tea party, it really paired well with each tea I tasted.
For more events at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library, check out their EVENT CALENDAR.