Faskanatin' stuff! I found this via Cindy's Cuppa Tea links -- humorous old media snippets from the common domain. (You'll need Quicktime to view these, but they offer several different file sizes and download options.)
Arranging the Tea Table - A short (5 minute) "how-to" film. Looks to be from somewhere in the mid fifties? Talk about yer strict guidelines. The result sure is pretty though.
A search on "coffee, tea" turned up quite a few more. Take a trip down memory lane:
Let's Give a Tea Party - A 20 minute "how-to" from the same source (Atlanta Board of Education?) and time period.
Classic TV Commercials Part VIII- These clips contain several commercials. First and second in this collection: 1. Maxwell House coffee (the perculator song brought back memories), and 2. Butter-Nut Instant Coffee (rather obvious subliminal advertising had me chuckling)
Classic TV Commercials Part IV - #27 - Another Maxwell House Instant coffee commercial (with "flavor buds"!) - if you download the file, jump to the 4:40 mark, and #28, a tea ad from Tea Council, Inc. - the lift that leaves you with a nice warm glow.
I sure got a laugh out of these. We've come a long way, media-wise. I wonder what they'll think of today's commercials 50 years from now. There are many more collections for download. I just picked the prominent tea/coffee ones. If you like vintage stuff of all kinds, check out Internet Archive.
No tea party would be complete without some of those little sandwiches with the crusts cut off. These are a few of the simplest sandwich recipes we like to use at our tea parties. Simple, but tasty.
Almond Mushroom Chicken & Cream Cheese (There's the ubiquitous cream cheese, I know, but I can't help it, I love cream cheese.)
2 cups finely chopped chicken (breast is best) 2 tbsp Finely chopped almond slivers 2 tbsp minced mushrooms 1-2 tbsp mayonnaise Dash of salt to taste Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Spread cream cheese on one side of bread, and spread chicken mixture on top. Cut into triangles and arrange on platter.
Havarti Garlic Delight (This is actually your basic cheese and tomato, but using creamy Havarti cheese makes it special.) Thinly sliced havarti cheese Tomato slices (thin) 1/4 tbsp minced garlic 1 cup butter or margarine, softened Lettuce pieces - any kind of lettuce
Mix together garlic and butter until soft and creamy. Lightly spread on one side of bread, and place cheese slices on top. Place tomato slices on cheese, and top with bread slice lightly spread with mayo. These are delicious served warm. Place in oven at 300 for about 10 minutes, just long enough to lightly toast the top of the bread and soften the cheese. Yum! If you're worried about the fat content of havarti and dieting and such, you might want to just use a slice of swiss, or eliminate the cheese altogether, but that doesn't sound like much fun to me.
Regarding Bread You can use any kind of bread for these sandwiches, it doesn't have to be thinly sliced. But thinly sliced is nice, if you can find it. One thing we've tried is buying unliced bread, but that's a lot of work, and unless you're practiced at bread slicing, you end up with uneven slices. Some stores with bakeries will slice the bread for you. Ask for 1/4 inch slices. If you're in the UK, you can also buy some Hovis no-crust bread and eliminate one step - find a Somerfield store near you, or order online through Tesco.
Another recipe from the Tea Party Lady - great for afternoon tea, and a cool way to use up those old bananas.
Banana Walnut Bread
3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup shortening 2 eggs 1 cup mashed banana 2 cups sifted flour 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp baking soda 1 cup chopped walnuts
Combine shortening, sugar and eggs - beat until light and creamy. Add flour and other dry ingredients and continue beating until smooth. Stir in banana (leave slightly chunky if preferred) and walnuts. Pour mixture into a greased 9x5 loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 60-70 minutes. Cool, slice and serve on a platter with honey-sweetened whipped butter on the side.
Note: you can pop those old bananas in the freezer until you're ready to use them. Browner bananas are sweeter, so don't throw them away just because they're a little brown.
I had one of those "a-ha" moments this morning. I was paging through the book I wanted to review today - Tea Celebrations: The Way to Serenity by Alexandra Stoddard - looking for something specific I had read earlier and mourning, as usual, the lack of photographs. Suddenly my pea-brain made the connection between my desire for photographs and what I was reading.
This book is all about the spiritual aspects of the tea ritual, what the tea-master would call "sacred ceremony" as a means of finding serenity. Alexandra writes:
Tea is about slowing down, about reacquainting ourselves with our selves. When is the last time you gave your imagination free rein? When was the last time you sat and simply daydreamed? It is these moments of dreaming that bring us in touch, once again, with our earliest goals and fantasies. ... Spend a few minutes and relax over tea doing nothing. Think of it as exercise for your spirit.
She suggests that all the rituals and beautifications we perform in preparation for tea are part of the slowing down. The placement of flowers in a vase, pressing a tablecloth, laying out china... all can be done with a slowness, a living in the moment, and a kind of reverence for beauty and ritual.
I realized that she's talking about the part I call the Tea Party Lady, the part of us that can stop and smell the flowers... and the tea. I translate that to be the soul, not the spirit. To make a bigfat generalization, perhaps coffee feeds the spirit, the mind, the energy, the yang parts of us. But these kinds of tea rituals and ceremonies - especially in the Asian traditions - feed the soul, the emotions, the yin parts of us. This is how it feels to me, in my own relationship to coffee and tea.
This book helped me clarify what it was I was doing. When I do "tea", I do it from my soul. And that helped me understand why I long for beautiful pictures in these books. When I pick up a tea book I'm looking for soothing and beautiful imagery. I believe the soul speaks primarily in feeling and images, and so for me, the photographs are more than just occasional adornment. They're necessary! Primary!! Or should be. IMO, talking about tea with wordswordswords just doesn't cut it. That's why I love the Victoria magazine and The Pleasures of Tea books. The photographs speak to my soul.
So, pardon me when I complain about the lack of pictures in this book. It's a lovely book, and the sentiments are well expressed. She discusses types of tea, etiquette, and rituals, and there are some recipes. It's a book I would recommend for anybody who wants to understand how a tea-master sees life and relates to the tea ceremony. But it is just wordswordswords, front to back. It's not the kind of book that will draw me back again and again. Unless they republish ... with photos.
I did a search on Technorati for "tea party" to see what other bloggers are posting about. Some good, some weird, some are just mentions, and some have nothing to do with an actual tea party at all:
The March Hare's Mad Tea Party blog - looks brandy new, so who knows if it will really be mad or about tea. But I like that she says "hubs" too.
Simon posts about a band called Tea Party, the movie Neverland, and his own creativity.
There's a meme going around of "things I've done", a great long list that you're apparently supposed to post and indicate which of the things on the list you've done, one of which is "have a tea party". Must be a popular meme, there are thousands of posts with this on it. Here's one.
This blogger's daughter had a tea party with a friend
Valerie hosted a tea party for some friends - no details, and the photo looks like the table was sparsely laid. Where's your Tea Party Lady, Valerie? Well, it sounds like weight loss and exercise is the focus here, so I guess lavish food-filled tea parties wouldn't be the thing.
A history tidbit, via Gleeful Gecko: Today in history the Townsend Acts were passed in 1767. This was a broad import tax placed on English colonists living in North America. The acts were repealed in 1770, except for the tax on tea, which lead to the Boston Tea Party.
In mom's collection is a children's book called The Tea Party Book, by Lucille Recht Penner. This book has a whole bunch of "theme" tea party ideas, recipes and activities for children's tea parties. And one of them is the Teddy Bear Tea Party.
Other than the name and the bringing of teddy bears to the party, we didn't use any of the other ideas in this book. I kind of wish we had. We could have made teddy bear cookies and eaten on teddy bear place mats. We could have worn brown cardboard teddy bear ears on our heads and been truly silly. Alas, we were only half as silly as we could have been. But that was still an admirably high degree of silliness, if I do say so myself.
I also found this sweet little piece of artwork while setting up one of my affiliates. "Teddy Bear Tea Party", by artist Stewart Sherwood. I thought I'd get one for each of my nieces, in remembrance of that party and how much fun we had. It's not the same as having photos, but it's close.
Oh, and yes, these pics are affiliate links, so if you click and buy, you'll be helping to support me in a manner to which I would like to become accustomed. Or at least helping to keep my doggies in kibble.
I wanted to post some of the tea party memories I have of my mom, on this day of mothers, but I'm having trouble choosing. It's hard not to get steeped in the memories, with all the accompanying bittersweet sadness of missing her. To keep this from becoming a novel, I will try to just touch lightly on a few of the best ones. I'll do a little a hummingbird flitting, savoring the barest taste of these rich flowers and then moving on to the next.
It's not easy being a tea party lady on a budget. But it is possible to create a setting elegant enough for even the most demanding TPL, without spending a whole lot of money. This was important to me, because I didn't want lack of funds to stifle my inner TPL! I needed to find ways to make things pretty and satisfy my TPL, without breaking my budget. Some creativity was required, however, and a bit of time.
Many people discover their inner Tea Party Lady during childhood. There's a favorite picture of mine that I'll post here, showing children having a tea party. I remember envying other children who talked about having tea parties and who had homes and toys and dishes and such. But we never stayed in one place very long, and when we left a place, we were often fleeing and had to leave toys and clothes behind. So the idea of having a tea set, and a table, and other pretty things, was quite foreign to me.
I didn't really understand the joy of a tea party, or the concept of the Tea Party Lady, until much later.