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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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High Tea is a substantial late afternoon or early evening meal with tea, as the name implies, as the principal beverage. It is a meal in its own right, not a stop gap, as might be thought afternoon tea. Its character underlines the emergence of tea, in a daytime and family context, as the major stimulating drink of a large proportion of the British population. High tea is also a consequence of the rapid industrialization and urbanization of British life in the 19th century. As work was increasingly separated from the domestic environment, so workers required sustenance on returning home. High tea was the working man’s dinner. It might be succeeded by a light supper just as were the dinners of the upper classes.