What kind of tea do you serve at a Mother-Daughter Tea Party?
My personal opinion is that loose teas are far superior to bagged teas in the grocery store. But I know that most folks are only familiar with bagged teas. If you are a bagged tea user, go for it! Use a favorite tea such as Bigelow Constant Comment or Ashby's. I would recommend serving two flavors: one caffeinated, the other decaffeinated; one black and one herbal.
Personally, I am a huge fan of flavored, loose teas. But I try and play it safe when I'm serving a variety of women with a variety of tastes. Buckingham Palace is a very popular tea that almost everyone loves. It's a blend of black, green, and jasmine teas. It has a full-bodied flavor without being overpowering. This would be my caffeinated choice. For the second tea, I would opt for a mild-flavored Rooibos, such as Hawaiian Colada or Peach Rooibos. These are great choices that offer a fruity alternative, which children will also appreciate; and they are decaffeinated.
My Web site, Sconey Island, has links to several different tea suppliers that offer literally hundreds of flavors of tea. It's always nice to have a tea guide around, or to read the customer reviews when trying to choose because there are so many choices! Additionally, some of the suppliers I work with offer smaller sizes of tea, so you can sample the goods before committing to buying a large quantity of tea.
What kind of food do you serve?
Well, I am big-time into simplicity. I want to be a part of the tea party—I don't want to be serving the whole time. I might make a simple quiche (recipe below), fresh fruit, and scones with jam and Devonshire. That's about it. The scones I make are from good quality, boxed scone mixes (like Iveta). They can be whipped up in less than five minutes. I rarely use my scone pan. I prefer patting the dough out on a tart pan or small baking stone. I sprinkle the top with sugar crystals, and bake for 20 minutes. Let it cool for five minutes before slicing into wedges.
Is there such thing as "proper etiquette" at a tea party?
I am not going to get into this so much because it is up for much debate as to what is and is not proper tea etiquette. My goal is, and always has been, to bring women together and not to terrify them about the rules. I want my guests to be relaxed and feel utterly blessed, in every sense of the word, when they come to tea at my house. The only stipulation that I do make is that NO CELL PHONES ARE ALLOWED ANYWHERE IN THE VICINITY. I don't want to see them or hear them while we are at the tea table. We will give our undivided attention to the guests around the table who we are sharing the afternoon with.
Simple Quiche Recipe
1 Marie Callender's Pie Crust (Available in the frozen food section at grocer).
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup Monterrey Jack Cheese or Cheddar
3 small beaten eggs
1.5 cup milk
1 lb. chopped ham, or crumpled cooked bacon, or cooked sausage pieces
Onion or red pepper, chopped (optional)
Brush pie crust with butter and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over crust when it comes out of oven. Mix flour and meat together and sprinkle over cheese. Blend eggs and milk together and pour over top of all. Return to oven and bake 35 to 50 minutes, checking to see when quiche is set firm. You may also add a few chopped onions or red peppers if desired to add texture and flavor.