Friends are a key part to hosting a successful afternoon tea. I am pretty sure I violated the first rule of tea etiquette when I decided to use the online tool “EVITE” to invite my guests. Emily Post (or whoever) would not approve unless, of course, she saw my handwriting which is illegible on my best day. Only a couple of my friends pointed out the possible confusion of the term “tea party” in this day and age. I am not personally very political so this did not occur to me. Evite is magical-you create your invitation, put in your guest list by email address and hit send. It goes out immediately and then tracks your RSVP’s so you have a constant pulse on your count. Afternoon tea requires a lot of prep work, so it was nice to have a tool that allows people to invite others easily, and sends the host a nice message if invitees have to decline. It even sends reminders to those who have not responded.
This made that part of the process painless so I really don’t care if I didn’t send formal, handwritten note cards with a stamp on it. It is pretty much the only corner we cut.
I invited my girlfriends and invited them to bring their daughters, mothers, sisters or just come by themselves. On a lovely Saturday afternoon the week before Mother’s Day we gathered together, 25 of us between 11 and 80 years old. Afternoon tea was such a fun way to get together and (let’s be honest) show off my new/old house.
Of course there had to be last minute drama. My wonderful contractors finished the kitchen floor on Friday night at 6pm. So there was no prep time whatsoever-not even time to clean the house in advance.
Kaitlin and I set the alarm for 5am Saturday and READY, SET, COOK! We divided up the items to be prepared evenly and I don’t think we spoke much for the next 6 hours. It’s a good thing we watch a lot of the IRON CHEF and CHOPPED. At least from the comfort of the couch we are FAST! Kaitlin mused later that it was a bit coincidental that I tend to throw parties when she is home with me. She is an educated girl but not the sharpest knife in the drawer sometimes. I guess she never saw herself as a key part of the entertainment team.
At 1:45pm (guests due at 2:00pm) I was still in my pajamas vacuuming. Allison and Mario walked in and were immediately put to work. Mario swept the front porch and Allison made a sink full of dishes disappear as if she had a magic wand. Kaitlin never got to finish her hair to her satisfaction but when the first guests arrived we were at least dressed and pretty much done except for carmelizing the brulee’. (Truth be told I completely forgot I had made 24 blueberry crème brulee’s just chillin’ in the fridge). It was fun though as the torching is dramatic. Mario, as the only man, could not wait to exit stage right and got his photography job done in record time. Allison took over for the party pics and provided the shot of the Luscious Lemon Blueberry Cake after it was sliced, just in time, as there were only crumbs left at the end. This cake has been ordered for Christine’s wedding and Dana has already taken it to a dinner party. The recipe is a keeper. I “borrowed” it from the fantastic blog Pretty.Good.Food.com. You should check it out!
As you can see the food was devoured. We made 5 savory bites and 5 sweet items. We included a few Weight Watcher friendly choices and had an alternate beverage to tea-Blueberry Sparkle.
This post is the second of three about hosting afternoon tea. You can learn more about the history, etiquette and health benefits of tea in my first post. Check back on Thursday for the menu and recipes in today’s post. This may be a new Mother’s Day tradition but next year we will wear hats!!