Tea pouring into a cup.
Food - Drink
The Duchess Who Helped Make Tea Sandwiches A Long-Lasting Tradition
Some foods are so embedded in cultural norms that it's difficult to grasp that they weren't always popular. In Great Britain, one beloved tradition is the afternoon tea with dainty tea sandwiches, a practice that goes back to the time of Queen Victoria, though the queen wasn't the one who popularized finger sandwiches.
Anna Maria Stanhope, the 7th Duchess of Bedford and one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting, often felt peckish hours before dinner and began requesting service of a light snack — finger sandwiches or biscuits — in her dressing room. She was so delighted with the little respite that she started inviting friends to join her.
The Duchess of Bedford's habit quickly caught on among Britain's upper crust, and even Queen Victoria decided to host her own daily afternoon tea. Today, food at British afternoon tea still centers on crustless finger sandwiches with traditional fillings like jam, fresh cucumbers, egg salad with watercress, and many more.