Growing up with a British mother, Barbara Glauser couldn’t
help but develop a passion for tea. So in 2013, Glauser decided to
take her love of tea – and the British ritual of Afternoon Tea– and
launch the Rolling Tea Cart, a Shaker-based catering company that
provides a tea-room-like culinary experience in her customers’ homes.
“My mother was from England. She met my father, an American soldier, when
he was stationed there during World War II,” explains the longtime resident. After
the war, the couple married and settled in Philadelphia. “My mother carried on all
the traditions she had learned in England, which included drinking tea morning,
noon, and night,” recalls Glauser with a laugh. “It was always tea time.”
During summer vacations, Glauser visited her English family. A big treat:
excursions to nearby tea rooms for a proper Afternoon Tea, a ritual said to have
started in 1840 with Anna Russell, 7th Duchess of Bedford. As the story goes, the
Duchess often felt hungry in the late afternoon and so asked for cakes and other
treats alongside her pot of tea. Delighted with her innovation, the Duchess invited
her friends; soon, sitting down to a formal Afternoon Tea had spread throughout
fashionable British society. Even Queen Victoria partook in the practice.
In its heyday, Afternoon Tea – also called low tea – was typically served between
4 and 6 pm. On the menu: finger sandwiches, warm scones with jam and clotted
cream, and an assortment of sweets – plus lots and lots of hot tea, traditionally a
black tea, like Earl Gray or Darjeeling – all elegantly served with silver, table linens,
and fine English china.
Today, few in Britain have time for such leisure, so Afternoon Tea has become a
treat enjoyed on special occasions, as well as a tourist activity.
That was Glauser’s childhood experience with the formal Afternoon Tea, too.
And she continued the tradition with her own family.
“As my daughters got older, it became entertainment. Every time the kids would
come back into town, we really enjoyed visiting tea rooms,” she says. “It became a
That included both here in Cleveland – Glauser moved to Shaker with her
husband, a physician at the Cleveland Clinic, more than 30 years ago – and during
her frequent travels back across the pond.
“In England, there are certain tea rooms that are just outstanding.” A family
favorite: London’s Claridge’s hotel. “I love the elegance,” Glauser says. “And the
service. The wait staff is always beyond compare.”
In Cleveland, she recommends Quintealia’s Tea Parlour in Burton or the Emerald
Necklace Inn in Fairview Park.
But Glauser also enjoyed preparing Afternoon Tea at home, especially since it was
the perfect opportunity for baking and showcasing her jams, jellies, and even lemon
curd. In fact, Glauser is an award-winning baker and preserves maker, over the years
winning numerous Best in Shows and other top prizes at Ohio’s county fairs.
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