...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tea Party Day

 A year ago, I worked at a tea parlor in a wonderful old Victorian house downtown. There I learned much about the art of hosting tea parties; what's more, I discovered I had a deep appreciation for an area of hospitality work that had never occurred to me.
I learned I loved serving tea.

The owners were wonderful about allowing me to borrow from their library, and soon I had an accordion file of notes about serving teas--notes filled with recipes, theme ideas, etc. I began to envision myself incorporating tea service into some ministry initiatives that were already taking shape in my life.

For one thing, I started attending school to become a spiritual director. And, I began running my appointments with directees in a little bistro corner of the library/music room in my house, a corner that was easy to transform into a mini-tea parlor.  We would start sessions with the ritual of choosing and brewing a pot of tea. I also began serving tea during knitting lessons and pretty much any time someone came over for a chat.

Meanwhile, I continued learning to serve scrumptious tea meals; right up until the owners of the tea parlor decided it was time to retire, and the tea parlor closed up shop.

Mother's Day, 2013

By that time, friends had learned of my "tea ministry" plans and were feeling prompted to send support my way.  Beautiful offerings came in the form of gifted tea pots, recipes, a listening ear during my brainstorming sessions and specialty pieces--like this Christmas tea set given to me by a dear friend.

I've been making good use of those gifts, too! Today I had the opportunity to serve my third Christmas tea of the season. One tea was a larger party for a group of five, but the other teas were quaint two-person affairs. Whether large or small, each time I set to work preparing for a tea, I get nostalgic for the days at the tea parlor. The bright sunny kitchen, the dark lustrous serving rooms--it was altogether a delightful place to work.  A delightful place with delightful people, and I miss them all dearly. Part of me sees every humble little tea I serve as a tribute to that lovely time and place.

Coming up, I'm going to run a blog post or two with a few "staple" recipes and menu plans for a basic tea. But first, I felt that this introduction was appropriate. 

Happy tea party!

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