Bread & butter and cucumber sandwiches
Posted by Constanza on June 05, 1998 at 12:45:23:
I've been turning this in my mind ever since I first read TIOBE ... I don't know even how to make the questions.
When Algy is preparing the tea for his aunt and cousin visit, he makes the point of having cucumber sandwiches specially prepare for the former.
I've often seen references to cucumber sandwiches in English literature (specially Saki), and they were always served at tea time in fashionable homes. When I asked about it in L&T there were a few who said that it was a dainty dish, while others said it was not so. As Saki is a "sarcastic" writer, perhaps he was making fun of the cucumbers sandwiches, I don't know.
As regards bread and butter, there are the ladies of Cranford, who have them served at tea because they could not afford anything better, and as a consequence, had decided that it was not genteel to have any other additional thing.
Then, in one of the Srewtype letters, there is a reference to a "bread and butter miss", which I think means an unextraordinary down-to-earth woman.
So, why does OW have Aunt Branwell prefer cucumber sandwiches and Gwendolen bread and butter?
Are cucumber sandwiches "dainty things" and, therefore, is Lady Branwell a snob? Or are cucumber sandwiches the usual thing for tea, in which case Gwendolen would be the sophisticated by eating plain bread and butter? Am I becoming paranoid?
- "Bread and Butter Miss" The Mysterious H.C. 10:02:37 6/06/98 (4)
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