Afternoon Tea Circa 1935

This post is in memory of my Grandmother, Alfreda Teresa Deeble, 13/1/1908-27/5/1991. Today would have been her 102nd birthday.

During 1935 the Great Depression was at its worst, Hitler ruled in Germany and Wallis Simpson was Prince Edward's mistress.

Clark Gable and Shirley Temple ruled the Box Office.

And in 1935 my grandparents were married in sleepy, sunny Melbourne, Australia.

Despite troubling events elsewhere in the world, like all new wives my grandmother had more personal issues to deal with, not least, her inability to cook. Gran was a career girl; for several years prior to her marriage she had worked as a legal secretary and had not needed domestic skills.

Many years later, having becoming an excellent cook, she narrated a cookbook in which she shared her favourite recipes.

Here is how she described her first afternoon tea as a married lady:

I remember my first afternoon tea as a married lady. I didn't know what I was going to do because I didn't know how to cook. Luckily a lady came to demonstrate my new stove and I got her to make everything I needed: a sponge sandwich, scones and little cakes. The day she came,Uncle Norman was there laying the second hand lino with a great big hole in the back of his pants. I'll never forget he had to keep backing out of the room so that she wouldn't see it.

She left me a little book called
100 Tested Recipes,compiled by Miss Thelma Crump and Miss Helen Potter of the Home Service Department of the Colonial Gas Association. It's dated 1935, the year I was married so it must have come out especially for my benefit. Most of my cakes and scones are still based on recipes from that book.

My first afternoon tea was a great success, though one of the aunts asked me how many eggs I'd used in the sponge and I didn't have the faintest idea!

On her 102nd birthday this post is a tribute to a charming lady, a fantastic grandmother, and most of all, a terrific cook.

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