Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Planning In-Home Tea Parties

Tea Party

One of the latest innovations for in-home parties involves tea, according to the blogger at Tea Sippers. She tells about David Pilhirney, who owns a tea store in Calgary, Canada.

He conducts in-home parties with various types of tea, tea history, and conversation. This could generate tea sales at the party and serve as great PR for his business.

This is an idea others might like to try. There are so many variations and possibilities.

Perhaps you've attended or hosted an in-home tea party. Share your experience with us.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Watching for Santa Over a Cup of Tea

Christmas Eve

The grandkids excitedly anticipated the wonders of Christmas and informed us they could watch Santa's progress by satellite. Simply check into the Norad site and follow on the map as Santa makes his way around the world to the United States.

So while I enjoyed a cup of tea, we watched Santa's progress. This also is a fascinating way for youngsters to learn geography and facts about different countries.

They finally gave up and went to bed as Santa headed toward South America. He has a few hours yet to reach our country.

Have you ever watched Santa via satellite? What will they think of next!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tea and Cookies Galore

After Bible Study tonight at church, we had cookies, tea, coffee or punch and conversation...a time to exchange Christmas greetings and enjoy friendship. Several of the ladies contributed homemade cookies of various types:

Cranberry Nut Jumbles
Coconut Drops
Krispy Rice Bars
Sugar Cookies with a dab of jam in the center
Frosted Sugar Cookies
Chocolate Tarts with Whipped Cream
Chocolate Drop Cookies with cherry in the center

(I know there were more, but I can't recall them all right now.)

What kinds of cookies do you serve with tea during the holidays?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Check Out the Quilt Book Giveaway at Quilting and Patchwork


If you're a quilter or simply like giveaways, why not stop over at Quilting and Patchwork and participate in the Giveaway of a Mini Quilt Book. It's in progress over there.

Do you like to sit down over a cup of tea and browse through quilt books or discuss them with another quilter? This can be relaxing and inspiring.

Perhaps you're not a quilter yourself, but know of someone who would enjoy this book by Patricia Mainardi.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tea Cup Ornaments

You can find ornaments for Christmas trees and other types of holiday decorations in the form of tea cups! A friend gave me one a couple years ago that was a tea cup with saucer attached. Another time there was a small teapot.

Recently I saw a tea cup ornament with a tiny dog inside.

Do you have any tea cup or tea party related ornaments?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Enjoy the Offerings of the Food Bloggers - You May Find Something to Serve With Tea

Food Bloggers

Here are the Food Bloggers again, with treats and ideas to share. Enjoy!

BlogTalkRadio's In the Kitchen BlogTalkRadio's "In the Kitchen" features the Women's Day food editors offering their tips and ideas for making the best dishes possible. This week they discussed budget friendly holiday cooking tips.

Busy Family Meals Jenna Pepper shares her expertise on how to get kids to try new foods!

Collecting Tea Pots and Tea Cups Mary Emma, at Tea Time Notes, chats about collecting tea cups and those she obtained from boxes of soap detergent many years ago.

Cooking Gadgets Giftybox is the unique way to give cooking classes or winery tours to those on your gift list...now at a special discount for our readers!

Power Food Follow-Up Following up on last week's Power Foods blog, Jean decided to share a few tasty recipes that “fit the (power) bill”.

Spiced Carmelized Pecans A perfect treat for your holiday parties.

Win Sauce...and a Microwave from Bertolli This week an appliance...next week steaks. Cookerati has a giveaway a week in December.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Tea Pots and Tea Cups

I’ve seen a festive tea pot with holiday design at the local thrift shop where my daughter and I often stop for unique as well as useful items. If it’s there the next time we visit, I think it was meant for me to acquire.

I also look for interesting tea cups for serving tea on various occasions or simply to use myself. Today I found (at our local recycling facility…formerly called “the dump”…a Golden Wheat tea cup and saucer. This brought back memories because that was the first set of dishes Jim and I owned.

Where did they come from? Boxes of soap detergent. There was a promotion for Golden Wheat in the detergent my mother-in-law purchased (to wash laundry for a family of 10) She collected this dishware for us and accumulated a set of 4. The only other item I have left after 48 years is a soup bowl.

What do you collect for tea cups?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tea With JK Rowing...What Fun!

Tea Party

To celebrate the release of her latest book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, famed author JK Rowling invited approximately 200 school children to enjoy tea with her. What an exciting experience!

Read more about this at my One Book Two Book blog. This book is a spin-off of sorts from the latest Harry Potter book, Deathly Hallows.

I wonder what they had for tea and refreshments. Possibly something with a Scottish influence since this was to take place in Edinburgh.

More Tea Time with Alzheimer's Patients

If you are considering tea parties for the Alzheimer's patients or other caregivers in your life...and they can be such fun activities for all of you...you might like to check out these posts at my Alzheimer's Notes blog.

Tea Time at Alzheimer's Notes - Caregivers Sharing
Tea Time at Alzheimer's Notes - Tea Time With Mother

Enjoy Giveaways? Here Are Some With Gifts for the Youngsters in Your Life

One Book Two Book Giveaways

If you're a fan of giveaways, you'll find a series of them at a blog I co-author, One Book Two Book, running from Dec. 2-7.

Check out the rules and leave comments at the following links. You can enter any or all of the giveaways. These will make great Christmas gifts for youngsters, too. Enjoy!

Book Swim Giveaway
Readeez DVD Giveaway
Baby Can Read Giveaway
Wii Pop Star Guitar Giveaway
Fly Me To The Moon Giveaway
Giveaway - Celebrity Arthur Book from Speakaboos
Giveaway - Countdown to Bedtime Soundbooks
Giiveaway - ECO Baby Organic Playdough
Baby Potential Teacher Onesie Giveaway
Natural Pod Giveaway
RideMakerz Giveaway
Happy Green Bee Giveaway
Mead Writing Fundamentals Giveaway

Friday, November 28, 2008

Snowy Day Tea Time

When the snow flutters down, lightly and softly this morning in New Hampshire, it's time for another cup of tea. What flavor shall I choose?

Perhaps a cup of Chai spice black tea. This should keep me going at my writing and business bookkeeping. Also, the aroma is so nice. My grandson comes into the room, "Nanny, what smells so spicy and good?"

What tea would you choose for a snowy day?

Also, you might like to read about our first snowfall of winter, which occurred earlier in the week.



Thursday, November 27, 2008

Suggestions & Lists to Aid Your Christmas Shopping

Super Shopping

To aid you in preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and your other shopping, I've compiled lists and suggestions at my b5media blogs: One Book Two Book, Quilting and Patchwork, and Alzheimer's Notes.

One Book Two Book:2008 Holiday Gift Guide (Mary Emma)

Quilting & Patchwork:2008 Holiday Gift Guide for Quilters & Fabric Artists

Alzheimer's Notes:Holiday Shopping for Alzheimer's Caregivers

Did you find one list more helpful than another? If so, which one?


Happy Thanksgiving from Tea Time Notes

Happy Thanksgiving

We've been busy this morning getting the turkey ready. Yes, we're having the traditional turkey. My hubby selected it so has been monitoring the preparations. After I made the stuffing ("like Mother used to make!"), I left the rest to him. The engineer in him cooks to precision.

My daughter has been preparing her special recipes to add to our menu. She made her daughter's request of "glop" for breakfast...a combination of bread cubes, eggs, sausage, cheese, and milk. Some of us like that, while others have something else. (We live in a multi-generational home with six family members, a dog, guinea pig, and rabbit.)

Yes, I had my cup (actually two by now) of English Breakfast Tea with my serving of glop.

Perhaps you'd like to see my Thankful Poem, a project on my Quilting and Patchwork blog.

How about writing your own Thankful Poem this weekend? Or any time of year?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tea Time Mystery Parties

What fun! Tea Time Mystery Parties!

Have you ever thought of holding a mystery tea? I'd never thought of it either until I learned about the murder mystery teas in a kit that Maxine Holmgren organizes at Maxine Mystery Tea Parties. In fact, she's made a business of this, providing mystery scripts she's written, along with recipes, invitations, and other items for the complete tea party.

There's also an interesting article, Tea, scones and a murder mystery, by Hope Pierson that gives some details about Maxine and her parties, which now have become popular beyond her home area of Sun City, AZ.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sources of Tea Cups

Tea Cups & Saucers

Since it's not so easy to find fancy tea cups and saucers nowadays, when mugs are so prominent, I'll offer a few suggestions here. The ease of finding them depends on whether you want complete sets (of 4 or 6 or more) or will settle for single ones you mix and match.

Check out:

  • Stores that sell china

  • Second hand stores

  • Antique and collectibles shops

  • Auctions and estate sales

Also look here for:

Portmeirion Botanic Garden Tea Cup & Saucer; set of 6

Soul Mates Cup & Saucer

Camouflage Cup & Saucer - Butterfly Design

Demitasse Cups & Saucers; set of 6

Tea Glass Set of 2

Do you have a favorite tea cup and saucer?

Tea Cups & Saucers

Cups and Saucers

"What's a saucer?" a youngster asked me. "Is that a flying saucer?"

Nowadays, most children don't know what saucers for cups are. Most people drink their hot beverages from mugs, whereas we ALWAYS used saucers for tea and coffee cups when I was growing up.

The coffee cups were larger than the tea cups and not so dainty. However, they usually came with saucers. My dad used the saucer for cooling his coffee and tea, pouring some of the hot liquid into the saucer, blowing on it, then taking sips from it. (Mother objected to his doing this when we had guests!)

Mugs for Beverages

Then mugs gradually came into being. When these larger cups (generally coffee cup size) without saucers appeared, my mother thought they were "uncivilized."

She gradually changed her mind and began using decorative mugs herself. Mother kept the tea cups and saucers for serving tea to guests.

Do you use cups and saucers or mainly mugs?

(c)2008 Mary Emma Allen

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tea Time With Tasha Tudor

A Special Memory

When someone mentions the custom of afternoon tea, my thoughts often go back to sharing tea with children’s author Tasha Tudor in her country home many years ago. I was an aspiring young writer at that time, and this well known children’s author/illustrator invited me to meet with her to discuss writing.

Why she decided to make time for me in her busy schedule, I'll never know. However, I'll always be grateful for that lovely afternoon and the encouragement Tasha Tudor gave me which kept me going when I sometimes wondered if I'd become a published children’s author/illustrator.

Tea at the Fireplace

Tasha Tudor heated the water in a tea kettle hung on a crane in the large fireplace of her rustic living room. Once the water had boiled and we waited for the tea to steep in the pot, the author made cinnamon toast on a rack over the fire.

When my parents, who were visiting from another state, stopped to pick me up after their drive around the countryside, Tasha Tudor insisted they come in for a cup of tea.
That was one of the highlights of my mom’s life, too...tea with an author.


As I've become a published author, I've always remembered the time Tasha Tudor spent with me that fall afternoon and have tried to encourage beginning writers, too. She's an example of a author who unselfishly gave of her time and knowledge to a fledgling writer.

Her encouragement, and words of caution about the tough times, helped keep me going when I wondered if I'd ever be published.

(c)2001 Mary Emma Allen

Books for further enjoyment:

Pumpkin Moonshine: Tasha's first published book

Drawn from New England by Bethany Tudor (Biography of Tasha's life written by her daughter;

The Private World of Tasha Tudor by Tasha Tudor and Richard W. Brown

The Tasha Tudor Cookbook: Recipes and Reminiscences from Corgi Cottage by Tasha Tudor

Tasha Tudor's Garden by Tovah Martin; Richard W. Brown, photographer

Monday, November 10, 2008

Vegan Cookies With Your Tea

Would you like to serve vegan cookies with your tea?

The 20 Most Delicious Vegan Cookie Recipes Ever ebook features recipes for the vegan lover who wants to "Eat a Cookie! Save a Planet!"

Developed vegan Kirsten Nissen, this ebook offers you cookies made from organic ingredients for many occasions and tastes.

Check out what Kirsten has to say (link above) about these recipes and why she developed them.

Do you have vegan cookie recipes to share?

Tea Pots, Tea Cups & Accessories

Tea Pots & More

Where do you find your tea pots, tea cups, and tea accessories? Do you have a favorite store or online outlet?

Do you collect matching sets? Or do you collect whatever strikes your fancy and serve odds and ends, hit and miss?

Have your items been handed down from previous generations? Did you find them in antique and collectible stores? Do you buy yours from upscale or discount stores?

No matter where your items come from, they can be special to you.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Traditional First Lady Tea

First Lady Tea

Apparently it's traditional for the First Lady to invite the First Lady Elect to the White House after Election Day for tea. So, according to this, Laura Bush will be entertaining Michelle Obama for tea and talk.

I wonder if the menu will be posted anywhere. What kind of tea did they sip? Did they have tea cakes and sandwiches? It would be fun to know and perhaps even a recipe or two.

When did this tradition start? A lovely one to carry on.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Controversial Tea Time Gatherings May Be Banned

Tea Time Controversy

Can you believe it? Tea time gatherings and chats may be banned for this group of seven seniors, ranging in age from 69 to 96. They are deemed too noisy and anti-social as they gather on the benches outside their living complex in England.

Apparently they talk too loudly for the satisfaction of some neighbors. For most, this is their main pleasure of the day...gathering with their friends for a cup of tea and chat and fresh air.

Hopefully, if their benches are removed, another place to gather will be found.

What do you think of the situation?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Collecting Tea Time Accessories

Tea Accessories

Tea lovers often enjoy collecting tea accessories, those items that accompany tea use and tea parties. Such as:

  • Tea strainers
  • Teaspoons, antique and/or souvenir ones
  • Tea balls
  • Cups and saucers
  • Mugs
  • Teapots
  • Christmas tree ornaments shaped like teapots
  • Tea strainers
What do you collect?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Do You Have a Special Tea Cup?

Tea Cups

Do you have a special tea cup that you like to use when you enjoy your tea?

  • A mug
  • A fine china cup with saucer
  • A mug or cup with flowers
  • A unique shaped mug
  • A cup you received as a gift
  • A cup with special saying
  • A different cup for different occasions
  • Seasonal cups

Years ago, we always used saucers with our cups, whether the smaller, daintier tea cups or the larger coffee cups. Nowadays mugs are so very popular. In fact, I don't think I have any saucers except with a dinner set of my aunt's.

What do you prefer?

(c)2008 Mary Emma Allen

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What Is Your Favorite Tea?


With so many teas to choose from, it's difficult to name just one favorite. I also enjoy discovering new teas, too.

If I had to choose one, I'd probably have to say English Breakfast Tea (or Irish Breakfast Tea) for the all around standard. Darjeeling runs a close second.

Earl Grey is nice for a change, but usually not for breakfast. It's a nice afternoon refresher.

If I'm in the mood for a tea without caffeine, I can find a wide range of herb teas to choose from. Something with raspberry in it is always nice.

Let's hear about your favorite(s).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tea Time at Bloggy Giveaways Carnival

Bloggy Giveaways

We're participating, here at Tea Time, in the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival. This periodic event looms large in the world of bloggers, both for those who host giveaways on their blogs and those who visit thorughout the blogosphere.

At Tea Time, I'm offering a box (100 tea bags) of Zsenso Orange Pekoe & Cut Black Teas as the giveaway, the recipient chosen in a random drawing. It's a tea I enjoy.

Giveaway Guidelines

The giveaway is open to those who live in the United States or have a mailing address here. The dates are Oct. 27-31, at 11:59 AM eastern.

Leave a comment below. (Include your e-mail address in the sign-in procedure, so I’ll know how to contact you. E-mail addresses are not made public.)

Share with us your favorite tea and/or tea time tradition.

(c)2008 Mary Emma Allen

Sunday, October 26, 2008


"Cream Tea" Time

Scones typically are served with English "Cream Tea, " I've been informed. Two scones accompanying a pot of good tea, form the basis of this meal.

You split and butter the scone, then spread it with a big dollop of strawberry jam and cover with whipped heavy cream.

SCONES - Sift together 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt. With pastry blender or knives, cut in 1/2 cup butter or margarine.

Add 2 slightly beaten eggs and mix with a fork until mixture forms a ball. Roll into a circle about 1/2-inch thick and 8 inches in diameter. Cut into 8 wedges.

Bake at 400 degrees F. about 15 minutes or until golden. Split and serve with butter, jam, and to be truly English...whipped cream.

(c)Mary Emma Allen

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Various Recipes for Scones & Bannocks

Numerous recipes have evolved for scones with some calling for rolled oats along with flour. In another recipe for dropped scones, the cook stirs hot mashed potatoes into the ingredients before booking.

(Some cooks do not consider the dropped scone, spooned onto a griddle or baking sheet, as you drop cookies, a true scone.)

Scones with Currants

When I described a scone recipe calling for currants, an English acquaintance said that true scones are never filled with currants. There are “Fruit Scones,” she said, but they use golden raisins. Or sultanas.

However, some scone recipes (which therefore may not be completely English) do contain dark raisins, currants, and even dried fruit.

More Scone Variations

An Englishman told me his mother always left a pint of milk to sour and separate. Then she used the curds in her scone recipe.

Some variations he mentioned have glace or candied cherries in them. Another recipe calls for a tablespoon of black treacle (molasses in American recipes).

SCONES – Sift together 2 cups flour, ½ cup sugar, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and ¾ teaspoon salt. With pastry blender or knives, cut in ½ cup butter or margarine.

Add 2 slightly beaten eggs and mix with a fork until mixture forms a ball. Roll into a circle about ½-inch thick and 8 inches in diameter. Cut into 8 wedges.

Bake at 400 degrees F. about 15 minutes, or until golden. Split and serve with butter, jam, and to be truly English…whipped cream.

Related Post: Tea Time With Scones & Bannocks

©2008 Mary Emma Allen


Tea Time Discussion

Scones and bannocks for tea time set the stage for a memorable occasion. I recall my mother-in-law relating the break for afternoon tea when they toured England and Scotland. Two of the foods they raved about were scones and bannocks.

Stories vary about the origin of these items. Some research indicates Scottish cooks first made scones. However, the origin of this simple food is hazy. It’s served throughout England, Scotland, and Wales with regional variations.

An English reader of my cooking columns said there are two ways to pronounce scones. Some people say it rhymes with stone and others rhyme with corn. You can use either, he says.

Scones vs. Bannocks

In general, scones are rolled into a circle, then cut into triangles and put onto a greased and floured cookie sheet to bake. Sometimes they’re cooked on a griddle and called “griddle scones.”

Also, some English cooks cut scones into 2 or 3-inch rounds with a cookie cutter. Then they bake the scones as we do biscuit in America.

Bannocks usually are baked as a whole circle, in the oven or on a griddle. After they’re cooked, the bannock is cut into triangles. It’s generally agreed that bannocks probably originated in Scotland.

I was told that true scones are never baked as a large circle. If someone did want to shape it this way, they should cut deeply into the top of the scone and divide it into eighths. In other words, score the scone before baking.

(In my next post, I'll discuss variations of scones and bannocks, with recipes.)

©2008 Mary Emma Allen

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Updates at Tea Time News & Notes

I find so many people are interested in tea, tea accompaniments, and tea parties. So I'll be updating this blog more frequently as I delve more into this topic and look for items that will enhance your tea parties.

Also, where can you find a tea party to attend?

Where can you learn about tea party etiquette? Do they have classes?

What are the different types of tea parties throughout the world?

Share in the comments your tea party experiences.

(c)2008 Mary Emma Allen

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Glove Boxes and Tea Parties

Tea Time News and Notes

“Those were glove boxes,” the gentleman remarked when I showed him two wooden boxes (about 5 x9x2-inches) connected by a 24-inch piece of wood.

They had set on the dresser in the guest room of the farmhouse where I grew up. I’d always thought they had been used for storing jewelry and handkerchiefs.Apparently ladies stored their several pairs of gloves in these boxes. Probably the ladies also placed hankies here, too, as my aunt did when she visited and used the guest room.

Why Mention Glove Boxes?

Why am I writing about gloves boxes? This reminded me of Victorian tea parties when ladies and young girls wore gloves and hats if they visited someone’s home. When I was a girl, we weren’t considered well-dressed for church and formal occasions unless we wore gloves and hats.

No, I’m not of the Victorian tea party era, but I grew up with a tea tradition in my family. It was a sign of hospitality to offer a cup of tea. Even after Mother lived in the nursing home with Alzheimer’s, she enjoyed the tea parties when my grandchildren (her great grands) and I visited her.

So…when the gentleman, who was looking at some of my other old furniture, noticed the glove boxes and told me about their use, I was reminded of tea parties and tea time traditions.

Tea Parties Popular Topic

I’ve also discovered that tea and tea parties and accompanying recipes are popular topics. One lady remarked that reading my Country Kitchen newspaper column was like sitting down and chatting with me over a cup of tea.

I hope I make you feel welcome and that you enjoy our “chats” on the many and diverse topics I discover to share with you.

Tea party foods are varied

There are traditional English teas. Then Americanized versions. My grandmother and aunt might have freshly baked bread with churned butter and homemade jelly. Auntie usually had cookies, too.At the nursing home, Mother enjoyed muffins we picked up at a fast food restaurant. The grandchildren liked them or cookies we might bring with us.

CRAZY QUILT BREAD might be a fun recipe to try for serving with tea. Mix together ½ cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 ¼ cups milk, 3 cups biscuit mix; beat quickly for 30 seconds. Batter should be somewhat lumpy. Stir in ½ cup mixed candied fruit and ½ cup chopped nuts.

Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45-50 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. There probably will be a crack on the top. Cool before slicing.(Variation; You may want to bake it in a 9-inch square pan at same temperature but for less time.)

©2008 Mary Emma Allen

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her NH home or during her travels. Visit her latest blog The “Green” Vagabond Traveler (http://greenvagabondtraveler.blogspot.com/).