Where do I put my napkin? Do I stick out my pinky finger when using a tea cup? What do I do with my spoon after stirring my tea? So many questions to be answered concerning tea party etiquette.
Magness Library held a morning tea party recently for mothers/grandmothers and their daughters where they had the opportunity to practice their party manners.
Approximately 40 guests gathered in the Children’s Library for storytime and a craft activity with Mary Humphrey. She read “Fancy Nancy Tea for Two” to the girls, and they each made tissue flowers to adorn hats provided by the library.
Mary Albritton presented common party tips with the group and shared historical facts concerning various teas before attending the party held in the library auditorium.
The tea was presented by the Lt. James Sheppard Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, and library staff. Tables were covered with white linen cloths, with each holding a variety of tea pots and tea cups, some filled with fresh flowers. Personalized place cards marked each guest spot at the table.
An assortment of refreshments were prepared by DAR members, along with hot tea served from pots. Soft piano music was played by library volunteer, 14-year-old Dalton Burks. They prepared strawberry cake, lemon blueberry cake, cucumber and pimento cheese sandwiches, banana streusel mini muffins, sugar cookies, cupcakes, chocolate dipped strawberries and fresh fruit.
A lovely, flower-decked backdrop provided a spot for taking souvenir photos.
Some basic manners that work for teas and every day dining include:
Don’t start serving until everyone is seated.
At a formal tea, the hostess pours the tea for everyone. At an informal gathering, set out a couple of tea pots and let guests help themselves.
When you are finished stirring, place your teaspoon on the saucer.
Take small bites and enjoy conversation with your friends.
Put you napkin on your lap. Blot or pat you lips, rather than wiping your napkin across your mouth. Sip the tea without gulping, and don’t drink if you mouth has food in it.
Remember to say “please” and “thank you” when asking others to pass you dishes. At the table, pass dishes to your right.
Sit up straight and don’t tip the chair.
And last, but not least, when holding a tea cup with your thumb and index finger, it’s necessary to stick the pinky finger out. In fact, it’s classed as rude in England because it came into existence as a way of putting one’s self above others.
A few of the featured recipes follow:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill weed
20 sandwich bread slices
20 thin wheat bread slices
Process cream cheese and mayonnaise in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides.
Combine cream cheese mixture, cucumber, garlic salt, and dill weed.
Spread cucumber mixture evenly onto white bread slices, and top with wheat bread. Using a 2- to 3-inch round cutter, cut sandwiches, discarding edges. Or cut crusts from bread, discarding crusts, and cut sandwiches into quarters. Store cucumber sandwiches in an airtight container for up to 1 hour before serving.
25 to 30 strawberries with stems
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
Wash strawberries and let them dry. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside.
Put chocolate chips in a small microwave bowl. Heat the chips in the microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes; stir. Heat for 30 to 45 seconds more and stir again.
Holding from the top, dunk strawberries halfway into the chocolate, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Lay them on the baking sheet. Reheat the chocolate if it cools too much and begins to harden. Cover the strawberries and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. You can also roll the chocolate-covered strawberries in mini chocolate chips.
Lemon Blueberry Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
zest + juice of 3 medium lemons
1 and 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces full-fat brick style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 and 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 - 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour three 9 x 2-inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Make the cake: Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy - about 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is completely combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
In a large sized bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then add the milk, lemon zest and lemon juice. Remove from the mixer and stir lightly until everything is just combined. Toss the blueberries in 1 tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter. Batter is extremely thick. Do not overmix at any point. Overmixing will lend a tough, dense textured crumb.
Spoon batter evenly into 3 prepared cake pans. If only using 2 cake pans, your bake time will be longer. Bake the three layers for about 21-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting: Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 full minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add 1 more tablespoon of cream to thin out, if desired.