High Tea will unite diners with fashion, history and good food.
Anna, the seventh duchess of Bedford, was hungry.
After deciding that the stretch of time between and breakfast and dinner was too long to wait for a nibble, she inadvertently invented afternoon tea.
To satisfy her hunger, Anna (1783-1857) ordered servants to bring her slivers of bread with flavored butters, cheesecakes, tarts and small cakes. When others discovered the duchess' secret, tea became fashionable.
"It was originally for royalty and people in high places," said Norma Leary.
Leary and the Douglas County Republican Women are bringing high tea to the people with "One Hundred Years of Lawrence Fashion and High Tea."
The idea, Leary said, is to combine the delicacy of afternoon tea with the history of Lawrence fashion.
State and local elected officials will display fashions from the 1860s to the 1960s. To avoid damaging the fabric, the garments will be held instead of worn, Leary said.
High Tea is a fund-raising event for the Republican women's group and Watkins Community Museum of History, Leary said.
"We were trying to think of something nice we could do for the museum," she said. "Watkins does so much for the community."
In addition to the fashion, High Tea will include a bit of history and a full menu of meats, flavored butters with pastries, fruits and cheeses and dessert.
"We want people to experience a little of the history of Lawrence," Leary said.
Phyllis Tiffany agreed.
"It's important to the museum to get as much exposure of their artifacts as possible," said Tiffany, president of the Republican women's group. "I want people to learn about the museum. It's a time and opportunity to see other things in the museum, too."
Tiffany, who planned the menu based on books and traditional cook books, said that the idea of high tea differs from the idea of afternoon tea in a number of ways.
"High tea is a light meal but a full meal," she said. "It's a meal that replaces either a large noon meal or a late evening meal."
High tea allows diners to get a satisfying meal without having to dress for dinner, Tiffany said.
"It was sufficient to substitute for a sit-down dinner," she said.
Afternoon tea is more pastry-oriented and does not include meat and vegetable dishes, Tiffany said.
"It's not a balanced meal in its content," she said.
The DCRW High Tea will include finger food, but with salmon, rolled muscatel, eggs and curry, and cucumbers and radishes among the dishes on the menu, diners can expect to leave satisfied.
And lest there be any confusion, tea is not the only drink available. Coffee and lemonade will also be served.
For ticket information, contact the museum at 841-4109.