The healing power of a british cream tea

In the words of a, errr, wise musical scholar, lately I have felt like saying, “Wake me up when September ends.” It’s an overly dramatic sentiment in my case, I know. Plus, I’ve actually relished these first few days of September; Mother Nature has turned down that faulty thermostat and the beginnings of Autumn, the prelude to my favorite season, have quelled some of my pandemic-related anxieties. 

But, like many, a part of me wants to fast-forward through 2020. Though the days are no longer limited by the COVID-related restrictions put in place in Slovakia back in March, there is a certain drudgery to the weeks that have followed. There is not much that separates a Tuesday from a Friday, nor April from September. This collective COVID-induced confusion is hard to shake.

But, there are ways to cloak 2020’s mundane face with something a little more colorful and comforting. One only needs some clotted cream and British resolve.

Cream Tea 101

“Under certain circumstances there are few hours more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”


In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess that I am a coffee drinker through and through. However, I am also the greatest advocate of a classic British cream tea, during which all of life’s woes are obliterated under the weight of thick, sumptuous clotted cream.

Once you pair rather unexciting breakfast tea with piping hot scones smothered in clotted cream and jam, coffee breaks suddenly seem so lame, so unfulfilling.

In tribute to the many cream teas I shared with my grandmother during my childhood summers in Somerset as well as the cream teas my mum has recreated in New Hampshire, I decided to make my own.

I unearthed the jar of clotted cream my sublime British mother had sent me a few moths ago for my birthday and got to work.

The scones, though misshapen and rather bulbous, turned out quite well. And the clotted cream was simply divine. I brewed some tea mostly for ceremony in my Big Ben teapot and tipped back in my chair in deep satisfaction. Henry James got it, Granny got it, Mum gets it, and I, a wayward half-Brit playing the pandemic blues, finally get it too.

So, let me rescind my opening statement. There’s no need to wake me up when September ends because I’m here for it so long as I’ve got my clotted cream.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

PS: Watch some wilty

For the testing moments between cream teas, I highly recommend hopping down a YouTube rabbit hole and watching reruns of one of my favorite British panel shows, Would I Lie to You?

Here’s a hilarious clip of British comedian Bob Mortimer trying to convince his laughter-inducing cohorts that he performs his own dentistry with the help of a leather maker’s drill and a curvaceous Indian musical instrument.




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