On Saturday, April 4, at 1:30 in the afternoon, 13 guests gathered at our home to experience Serena’s class project for “Tea Room 101”. This is a half-credit class which has included 5 sessions with Debra Richardson, the proprietor of The Yellow Carriage House Bed and Breakfast (who also conducts periodic teas), and work assisting her with teas in December. Although Serena has put on at least 5 high teas before, this was the first on which she was to be graded, and therefore Mom kept her own help to a minimum. Serena had her friend Caitlin come to help with last minute preparations and serving during the tea. I was the official hostess — getting to greet guests, sit at the table and enjoy scrumptious treats, and leave all the cleanup to Serena and Caitlin. I like this kind of entertaining!
The decorative highlight of the tea, and the table centerpiece, was an Easter Bonnet Cake. Serena made and iced the cake, but let me trim it with flowers and bow. We did actually eat it, seeing as how it was one of the 4 sweet items in the menu, but oh, how I hated to cut it!! Here are several views of the cake.
Speaking of the menu, here it is: 4 savory items — English Garden Tea Sandwich, Goldenrod Sandwich, Tuna-stuffed Cherry Tomatoes, and Scones with lemon curd (home-made) and whipped cream. The sweet items included the Easter Bonnet Cake, Berries served in miniature chocolate teacups, KY Transparent Pies, and Totally Chocolate Cake (a flourless cake, and Sarah, it is totally excellent! Thanks for the recipe.). Serena served Earl Grey Tea with the Savory, followed by Blood Orange for the Sweet, and also a wild berry tea for those who wanted it. The culinary highlight, in my non-biased, chocoholic opinion, was definitely the Totally Chocolate Cake!
The table was set with Serena’s 12 place settings that we have collected from various family members, or acquired and matched up at several of Shelbyville’s antique stores over the last 3 years. I added one from my Aunt Bobbie’s Brazilian tea set when one of the girls called asking to also bring her mother.
We had a wide range of guests, from several high school-age girls, through those in their 50’s to mid-90’s! (Family might be interested to hear the names: Nicole Carlson and her mother Carolyn [Nicole is Lydia’s friend from Karate], Cecilia Piccini and granddaughter Keira Lopez who is Serena’s friend through Guardian Angels, Linda Powell [S. art tutor], Debra Richardson, Pat Hornback, Betty Weakley, Rosella Davis, Else Matthews, Bobbye McCarthy, and of course Nana and me. Serena has quite a few elderly acquaintances through her Nana, and has visited and helped Nana entertain them at times in the past. Unfortunately, once we sat down at the table, I got too busy eating and “hostessing” to remember to take pictures of the guests. I only have one of Serena saying goodbye to Pat Hornback, with Bettie Weakley, Nana, and Rosella Davis looking on.
I had all the guests fill out an evaluatory card before they left. The comments were fun to read, and encouraging to Serena. Serena’s teacher, Mrs. Richardson, was also one of the guests. I sent her home with an evaluation sheet to fill out and return to me with a grade. By all indications, Serena will receive a resounding “A” for her efforts.
The weather cooperated beautifully. Serena picked buckets of daffodils on Thursday before the forecast rain. (I was the designated arranger). Besides the few more that I picked Sat. morn for the “bonnet,” that was plenty. Now, two days later, it is below freezing with snow flurries forecast, and the daffodils aren’t happy at all. So glad we were able to use them at their peak.