Tea, Though the Heavens Fell

“I was brought up in a family which had to have its afternoon tea though the heavens fell.” There Is Always Love

Dover Castle
Dover Castle in Kent, England

Emilie Loring’s  five-times-great-grandfather, Richard Baker, arrived in Boston aboard the ship “Bachelor” in 1635. He was from Kent, where tea was a principal import but so expensive that nearly two-thirds of the local supply was smuggled.

Richard Baker signature 1689
Richard Baker’s signature and seal

Baker settled in Dorchester, where tea remained a luxury, the equivalent of nearly one hundred dollars a pound! Alternative “teas,” like sage, were sometimes substituted.

Boston Tea Party
Boston Tea Party–not like ours!

Of course, we know the complicated history of tea in America, and especially for Bostonians. But the temperance movement, mass-produced tea sets, and cheaper tea prices made tea drinking attractive again during her parents’ childhoods. Not insignificantly, the water was boiled for tea, so it was safer to drink than many beverages.


Silver tea service, like Emilie’s and her mother’s, could be simple or elaborate. There was always a teapot, creamer, and sugar bowl, but there could also be an elegant tea kettle, a coffee pot, and all manner of small dishes and larger platters for serving.

Today’s more common, ceramic and porcelain sets can be just as elegant, just as beautiful, even when they are child-size.

Child's tea set
“Yes, that’s it,” said the Hatter with a sigh. “It’s always tea time.”

Tea doesn’t need to be fancy; but one wants it to be a comfort. If that means a big mug and a cozy chair, or an afternoon gown and silver service, then you have only to feel the pleasantness of it to know you have it exactly right.

Remember, our Emilie Loring Tea is June 30th at 4:00 p.m. in your time zone. See the invitation and particulars here:

You are cordially invited to our annual Emilie Loring tea

I’m making this recipe for my Emilie Loring tea. It has its origin in Dundee cake, but it makes bars instead… and there’s chocolate!

Tea Squares:

Combine 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar and 8 oz butter until crumbly. Add 1 egg and 1 teaspoon almond extract; stir only lightly. Save 1 cup of this dough.

Press the remaining dough into a greased and floured 9″x13″ pan. Spread 1 cup raspberry jam (or any flavor you like) over, leaving 1/2″ free on the edges.

Mix the reserved dough with 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup slivered almonds. Distribute this over the jam, pressing lightly.

Bake at 350 degrees, 35-40 minutes, until golden brown. Cool slightly and cut into squares.

I can’t wait to see what you all come up with! Send your photos and stories to:


2 thoughts on “Tea, Though the Heavens Fell

Please write your comment here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s