Afternoon tea with Scarlett O’Hara

news: Afternoon tea with Scarlett O’Hara

THESE HOT and lazy days make me think of the times when the southern belles of Charleston, Savannah and the great plantations would gather to talk of their beaux and the eligible young men of society before they got ready for the next debutante ball. They would keep as cool as their cucumber sandwiches by sitting in the shade, sipping iced tea and nibbling tiny cookies.

Charleston Benne Cookies

This recipe was given to me by one of my lovely daughters-in-law, a real southern belle herself. We know benne seeds as sesame seeds, but in the Old South, they are considered good luck, or beneficial, hence the name.

1/2 cup (200g) butter

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup toasted benne (sesame) seeds

To toast the seeds, put in a heavy pan over a medium flame and toast gently until they become dark brown. Cream butter and sugar together and mix with the other ingredients, in the order given. Drop with a teaspoon on waxed paper on a baking sheet, spacing them well as they will spread while baking.Bake for 30 minutes in a moderate oven (325F½ – 150C½).This recipe will make about five dozen small cookies.

Cucumber Sandwiches

If you ever wondered how they cut the bread so thin, the answer is that they use day-old bread and, having cut the front crust off, they butter the end and then, with a very sharp bread (serrated) knife, they gently saw the slice off. It is the butter that holds it together. Failing that, buy the thinnest sliced bread you can and butter it, layer with very thin slices of cucumber and salt and pepper. Instead of salt and pepper, you can spread a very thin layer of marmite on one buttered slice before making the sandwich.