Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tea at Somerset

Emma carefully penned "Beloved and Esteemed Grandparents," on the salutation line of the invitation to afternoon tea.

Under cover of darkness, she propped the completed invitation, wrapped in Saran Wrap to protect it from the morning dew, against a vase of pansies on the table on her Somerset grandparents back porch.

So began Emma's experience with her latest tea party book acquisition Tea and Cake with the Saints by Alice Cantrell. The book arrived Monday afternoon; Emma delivered the invitation Monday night. Is this what is meant when a book is described as "capturing the imagination"?

"Some little fairies have been here," Grandma cheerfully informed me the next morning when she called to accept the invitation.

Emma had set the tea party date for Wednesday, the Feast of St. George. While she peeled the eggs for deviled eggs, she told me a legend about St. George that she had read in E. Nesbitt's book, The Book of Dragons and lamented the fact that we do not have a dragon cookie cutter. Life can indeed be trying! We decided that since St. George is the patron saint of England, having a tea party on his feast day would be enough. Emma chose Easter egg, baby chick, and tulip cookie cutters for the sugar cookies that she made.

The menu featured ham, turkey, and tuna sandwiches, sugar cookies, deviled eggs, strawberries, freshly picked blackberries, a gingerbread cake, and raspberry punch. Nathaniel picked the most blackberries but roared away on the 4-trax when I tried to take his picture.

Emma served everyone from a separate table before joining them at the tea table. The raspberry punch looked fabulous once Emma transferred it to Grandma's depression glass "Iris" pitcher and glasses.

"Is this going to spoil our supper?" Grandpa asked when he had seated himself at the tea table and surveyed the abundance of food.

"No," I lied.

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