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.
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
Pecan Crackers & Gouda Cheese
Pumpkin Butter & Whipped Cream Tartlets
Pumpkin Cream Puffs
Lemon Curd & Blueberry Tartlets
Gingerbread Teapot Cookies
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.)