In the words of my dear pen friend, Michelle Gil,
“The elegance and natural hospitality of the past are preferable to the sloppiness modern society has slipped into. It is one reason I host so many dinners and parties and it’s a great way to showcase culture and manners without saying a word.”
And so every month I too enjoy inviting friends and would-be friends to my home for the lovely ritual of afternoon tea. These teas can be as simple or elaborate as time permits. The most important thing to me is taking time off to share good conversation with others in my private world, my home.
If my antique tea cups could talk they’d have all sorts of stories to tell, stories that my friends and I share. Sharing doubles the joy and divides the sorrow. As hostess I delight in being of service to others. Some people volunteer at homeless shelters, schools or hospitals. I’ve done some of those things in the past myself, but these days my manner of service to others happens when I take their comfort into my own hands and provide them with food, drink and pretty things.
Things like flowers
I can’t imagine any party without flowers.
For years I’ve been collecting china. Some women love shoes. I love collecting china, crystal and table linen and unlike some people I use all of my collections. I use these pretty things on ordinary days when I’m alone or when it’s just my husband and me so of course I would use these pretty things when I have guests too.
Each party gives me the opportunity to set one of my tables in a different way using different items. There are those who create with oils and watercolor paints, but I create with my table designs and the menus I choose for my teas or dinner parties. Years ago when I lived in Boston I loved strolling through Bloomingdale’s china department for there I saw many tables set in many different ways with a variety of china and crystal. Now, all these years later, I have almost as a large a collection of these pretty things as Bloomingdales. (Not really, but almost.)
Today’s china is Bavarian. The pattern is called Old Meissen. I decided to use a lace tablecloth to compliment its graceful old world style.
The menu for this tea consisted of spicy chicken sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, orange raisin scones, chocolate bread served with vanilla butter and cake which I purchased from a neighborhood bakery.
Of course there was tea – 3 kinds of tea. I served Earl Grey (my favorite), Jasmine and Apricot. After tea I offered my guests a house favorite, CarolAn’s Irish Cream. This seems only right for one of Carol Ann’s teas, don’t you think?
I decided to use a lot of crystal items for this tea so the sideboard would have a uniform theme.
The room was now set, all ready for guests. Food was placed on the sideboard. Small candles were placed on the table ready to be lit.
Now for the guests
First Celeste and Sandra arrive
And then Noreen arrived
The rest is tea history.
Another fun afternoon tea with friends. I hope you enjoyed it half as much as I did.