Ralph Waldo Emerson found that "There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.”
I wouldn’t call myself an avid reader, but perhaps an ‘at-my-leisure’ reader. I hope to make reading a habit and part of my daily routine…someday. For now, I enjoy a good read when I feel I can afford the time. I have dabbled quite a bit in writing for children. These little stories wait in my journal to be edited and reproduced for my granddaughters.
My most favourite story that I must have read 10 times as a child was A Little Princess by F.H. Burnett. I haven’t been able to make a connection on the family tree yet, but I'm working on it! I found my copy while exploring my grandmother’s cousin’s attic in Albany, NY!
As I was thinking about Tea and Literature, I looked back at many literary-themed teas I catered. Sometimes I invited a local author to share his or her experience in getting a book published. Other times, I researched the era to come up with an appealing menu. I was lucky to find readers and actors to help make tea time memorable. These teas happened in heritage homes, museums and in my own backyard. For those of you interested in hosting your own literary tea, I have shared some of my menu plans from past Literary Teas below:
Tea with Emily and Jane
(a combination from 2 Emily Dickinson teas and a Jane Austen party). They never knew each other and lived a continent and years apart.
Chutney Chicken Tea Sandwiches
Minced Ham & Honey Butter
Cheese and Ginger Marmalade Pastries
Maple Pecan Scones with Devonshire Cream
Regency Pound Cake
Emily’s Favourite Black Cake (there are many recipes to be found)
Peter Rabbit Tea Party
Peter’s Peanut Butter and Carrot Ribbons
Cotton-tail’s Country Scones with Jam
Mopsy’s Cheese Munchies
Mrs. Rabbits Cake
Flopsy’s Flower Cookies
Fruit and Veggies
Camomile Tea & Lemonade
Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
"It's the stupidest tea-party I ever was at in all my life!"
I love to learn the details and stories behind phrases and words. Did you know that psychiatrist Dr. Wm. Tuke in the 18th century had tea party therapy for his insane patients? Many hat makers went mad from the highly toxic fumes from the solvents they used. Likely Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party was inspired by this information.
Speaking of having a Mad Hatter's Tea Party, there is one happening right here in Charlottetown on July 11th at the Prince Edward Island Farm Centre's Legacy Garden! The tea party will feature fresh picked strawberries from Penny's Farm and Garden with Cow's ice-cream, WI shortcake, Purity Dairy chocolate milk, Caledonia House gourmet roasted coffees and Lady Baker's Teas, as well as live music, games and more! For full details on this fun event click here.
March Hare’s Maple Scones with Mock Devonshire Cream
Dormouse's Cheese Treats
Alice’s Cranberry Tea Bread
Queen of Hearts Lemon Tarts
Hatter’s Chocolate Drops
Tea & Poetry
Share a favourite poem while taking tea with your friends! This is one of my favourites because it invites participation. Choose a theme, and ask everyone who comes to bring a well-loved poem to share!
Apricot Scones With Lemon Curd
Southern Date Bread
Chicken Salad Croissants
Asparagus Hors d’oeuvres
Cucumber & Dill Cream Cheese
English Breakfast & Lady's Slipper Blend Teas
I celebrate literature and tea times with readings from L.M. Montgomery, Rudyard Kipling, T. S Eliot and many other authors and poets. What are some of your favourite works of literature to savour while you sip a cup of tea?