History & Tradition: You could fill a library with the many books on how to host a tea party. I know, I own several of them. But not one of those books taught me the important lesson I learned from my Mom and other inspiring women who were part of my Southern upbringing. That is the lesson on how to be a “lady”.
No matter whether it’s a tea party, a dinner, or a church social, a “lady” is the woman who puts all others before herself, speaks kindly, and seeks to instill similar values in the next generation. In short, if you want to have a successful tea party, you invite daughters and granddaughters who want to become “ladies” and you share what you have learned from the “ladies” who were part of your upbringing.
And so it was on Saturday. The three generations of Serendipity Farmhouse “ladies” gathered and shared each other’s company, delighted in each other’s stories, and enjoyed fine teas and tasty treats.
Preparation: The Third Annual SFH Tea Party didn’t come about in a single day. It took three months of scheduling, menu planning, and shopping. There was a certain emotional tension in this process. Unlike my hubby who can live with things being “good enough”, I can’t handle the idea of a tea party that is only “good enough”. So, for the last three months hubby has been sleeping fine and I’ve had several sleepless nights.
Fortunately, I have been through this twice before. And even more fortunately I have my friend Nancy to call upon for advice and support. Needless to say, but it is worth saying anyway, Nancy is a “lady”.
Here’s one more essential item. It was also helpful that Mr. Monte was trained in place settings and table arrangement by service staff at Downton Abbey. You will notice his keen eye for measure and placement.
So, preparation for an SFH Tea Party requires only five important things:
- A good plan,
- A good menu,
- A good friend,
- A good hubby to run errands, and
- A good Maine Coon cat with domestic service experience.
Food: So, just what does an SFH Tea Party menu look like? Take a look at the pictures to see just a few of the tasty treats that were offered.
Now that I have your interest, here’s a list of what was served:
- Assorted specialty teas (my favorite was the lavender)
- Mints & chocolates (The 92% dark chocolate was gone in flash)
- Cucumbers sandwiches (with organic butter or cream cheese)
- Pimento cheese sandwiches
- Scones (plain & cranberry lemon – provided by Happy Creek Eatery)
- Lavender tea bread
- Chocolate hazelnut wafer rolls
- Banana blueberry mini-muffins
- Lemon bars
- Lemon and ginger cookies
- Watermelon, cantaloupe, and grapes
Lesson Learned: It is the opinion of all the tea party guests and the soon to be world famous SFH test kitchen staff that the lemon lavender scone mix was a disaster and should be thrown into the garbage – which it was. The lesson is – never, ever, no not ever buy food mixes in the gift shop of any historical site. Why? The food mix may be only slightly younger than the historical site. Scone mixes from 1803 will never be used at an SFH tea party again.
Attire: Now this section is the most important and probably the most sensitive issue to be discussed in this post. I will use myself as an example. You will notice that my attire was comfortable and perfectly suited to the high expectations of an SFH tea party. Furthermore, Saturday was also the day of the running of the Belmont Stakes. My hat would have fit in that setting perfectly. Why? Because it was both traditional and stylish.
Now look at my hubby. He tried to persuade all at the tea party that his hat and other attire were both functional and sophisticated. Is there any doubt in your mind why he was summarily banished to his office upstairs with his son? I think the picture speaks for itself.