My friend, Pauline, who originally hails from Holland, introduced me to the idea of afternoon tea 20 years ago. Not the stuffy, "wear white gloves and hold your pinkie just so" kind of tea, but the homey, "come sink into my sofa and chat" kind of tea.
It's a habit I have loved sharing with others over the years, and even enjoyed by myself. Midafternoon can create a lull in energy, so taking a short break, brewing a cup of tea and having a small bite is the perfect pick-me-up. It's no wonder millions of people around the world wouldn't consider missing tea!
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Today's recipe for sliced tea cake is the perfect small sweet; it goes well with brunch, but also works as an after-dinner delight. Leftovers that are wrapped tightly will keep up to four days, so there isn't pressure to eat the whole thing. But, best of all, the cake is a cinch to stir together; you don't even need a mixer.
If you've never enjoyed teatime, then take an afternoon to sample this simple, elegant snack cake with a cup of tea. You will wonder why it hasn't been a habit for years.
• Alicia Ross is the co-author of "Desperation Dinners!" cookbook series. Write her at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or firstname.lastname@example.org. More at the Kitchen Scoop website, kitchenscoop.com.