This British tradition is a late-afternoon or early evening meal, usually quite substantial. It originated in the 19th century as a simple, early workingman's supper. High tea can be served buffet-style or set on a table. It includes a variety of dishes such as cornish pasties, welsh rabbit, scotch woodcock and various other meat and fish dishes. There are also plenty of buns, crumpets, biscuits, clotted cream and jams, as well as an elaborate array of cakes and pastries and, of course, steaming pots of hot tea. See also cream tea.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.