Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Year in Review: Autumn Afternoon Tea

Remember when we took Grammy to the tea room? While we were comparing our cups and plates and playfully arguing over who was using the prettiest ones, Grammy remarked that she had a beautiful teacup collection of her own and lamented that her lovely cups and saucers sat on a shelf and were never used. "Why not have a tea party?" asked Dan, and so a plan was hatched.

Grammy and I worked out the menu and settled on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for a date, since many people (including Dan and I) would be back in Maine that weekend. I printed invitations at the letterpress studio on campus. The day after Thanksgiving, the three of us shopped for ingredients and prepared the table. The hardest part of this was choosing our ten favorite cup and saucer sets out of Grammy's collection of around three dozen.

The next morning, I made two batches of scones while Dan and Grammy made all the sandwiches. Grammy had already made some cookies and I had previously baked an applesauce spice cake with cream cheese frosting.

The full menu:
-Earl Grey scones
-cranberry-almond scones
-blueberry muffins (brought by Aunt Gail)
-lemon curd, clotted cream, and apricot jam for the pastries
-chicken salad on French bread
-cucumber sandwiches (no crusts)
-rye toasts with cream cheese and olives
-almond-raspberry cookies
-applesauce spice cake with cream cheese frosting
-cream puffs (purchased)
-Swiss rolls (also purchased)
-three kinds of tea: Earl Grey, Scottish Breakfast, and classic orange pekoe

We had a wonderful time! We sipped and nibbled and chatted the afternoon away. As the only female out of seven grandchildren, I've always been surrounded by boys. I like boys, I really do, but having a room full of women at Grammy's house was a refreshing change.

Dan was allowed to attend, despite not being a woman, because, well, the party was his idea! But he's also a wonderful man who can appreciate a nice, civilized tea. However, he did spend most of the party in the other room, having been dragged there by our niece, Leah, who, at two years old, has better things to do than sit at a table while we drink tea. Instead, she and Dan played bedtime: she ordered him to lie down on the couch, covered him with a blanket, said goodnight, and then commanded, "My turn! Switch!" This was the pattern for about an hour and a half, although at one point, Dan asked for a lullaby and was gifted with a rare live performance of Leah's hit John Denver cover, "Sunshine on My Shoulders Makes Me Happy."

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