An American Tea Party

Americans rarely have teas these days. When one hears the expression “tea party”, the topic of conversation is far more likely to be politics than a social affair. As far as I can tell, the tradition of having tea parties largely disappeared during the social unrest of the 1960’s and 70’s. Probably the main change to have emerged from that period that would have contributed to the demise of the these gatherings was the emergence of working women amongst the middle and upper classes.  My grandmothers, as with most  women of their socioeconomic class, were stay-at-home mothers; I don’t think that either of them ever had a paying job. Starting with my mother’s generation, women entered the work force en masse; and all of the women in my social circle who are my age or younger work.  So, of course, who has time for polishing silver, making finger sandwiches and dainty cookies, and getting all dressed up for a party in the afternoon?

Literally speaking, the 60’s and 70’s are now history, and it is easy to feel nostalgia for some of the social niceties that got thrown away with so many of the inequalities and injustices from that era (and earlier).  I never, even for a moment, wish that I lived in an earlier time; and yet, occasionally it is fun to recapture a bit of refinement from the past. So, yesterday I hosted an afternoon tea party  – using my grandmothers’ china, crystal and silver – for no special reason except for that it seemed high time for a tea.

The Menu

Darjeeling Tea

Milk Oolong Tea

Cap Cette Picpoul de Pinet

Autumn Fruits Punch

Egg Salad Finger Sandwiches with Whole Grain Mustard

White Bean Sundried Tomato “Humus” & Spinach Finger Sandwiches

Smoked Salmon & Lemon Canapes

Cucumber Canapes

Pecan Crackers & Gouda Cheese

Pumpkin Butter & Whipped Cream Tartlets

Pumpkin Cream Puffs

Lemon Curd & Blueberry Tartlets

Gingerbread Teapot Cookies

Blackberry Jammies


Chocolate Rum Balls

Fresh Fruits, Nuts, Dark Chocolate-covered Raisins

(I was so busy yesterday that I didn’t get a chance to take photos. So I staged the one above this afternoon. I wish that I had had a chance to have gotten a shot of the whole spread.)

26 responses to “An American Tea Party

  1. What a wonderful idea! I adore tea and would love a tea party. But sadly as you mentioned, it is hard to find the time. And not only to host the party but to get everyone’s calendars aligned!

  2. How lovely! There are a few hotels that have afternoon tea, but you have to hunt for them. The best one I ever went to was at the Huntington Library in San Rafael, Calif.

  3. Lovely, just lovely! Did you host this for your guests or for friends/family? I love the idea of a tea and you’re the second blogger I follow today that posted about having one. Perhaps it’s catching on again. 🙂

  4. Sounds wonderful, and I love tea parties. They just aren’t done enough 🙂

    Also, wanted to let you know that I’ve changed the name of my blog. Beyond The Green Door is now Green Door Hospitality.


  5. Laurie,
    The tea was a wonderful idea, and you are a such a gracious wondrous person thank you so much.

    • Thank you! My friend Connie made the Pumpkin Cream Puffs. Otherwise, I started making the sweets three days ahead, then right before serving Nicole and I put together the sandwiches and canapes. It was fun, but not something I could do every weekend.

  6. Love it:) Tea is such a lovely tradition:) And tasty too:).. in fact I would rather have tea (with cocktails of course..LOL) than to have brunch… tea food is just better and I love the size of the tea food:)

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