In Argentina, where I grew up, tea time is an honored tradition carried out by grandmothers and elderly aunts everywhere. Families with children usually have a merienda, a meal that consists of a hot drink (tea, a latte, chocolate milk, hot chocolate, mate cocido) with cookies, toast or pastries, perhaps relegating tea time for weekends or for when they have guests. But practically everyone has a tea pot and a nice set of tea china waiting to be used.
When I was growing up, I had tea time at my grandmother’s house twice a week or so, when I visited her. By necessity it was at a little after 5, when I got off school, though the more usual time for tea was 4 PM. Everyday tea, served in a regular pot, was served, like a merienda, with cookies and toast or scones with butter and jam. On special occasions, most commonly when we had guests, special pastries (masas finas) and delicate sandwiches (s