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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Mad Writer’s Tea Party—For the Love of Tea Parties

Thank you for stopping by The Mad Writer’s Tea Party. Sit down and let me pour you a cup. One lump or two? Milk or lemon?

I’ve been a fan of tea parties for most of my life. Witness this photo of me from a very, very long time ago, taking tea with my doll, Sweetie Pie, and our stuffed collie.

Yes, this really is me. Little Orphan Annie meets the Campbell’s Soup Kid.

It’s hard to tell from the photo, but that’s a lovely Blue Willow china tea set. It’s long gone, but I still have the furniture. Over the years, my children have had numerous tea parties at that table, sometimes with real tea and sometimes with the make-believe kind.

Have you noticed how good imaginary tea can be? I hope you’re enjoying yours now.

When I was a teenager, I started collecting a real set of china.

It’s hopelessly impractical, but it looks so romantic and it’s a perfect tea service, don’t you think? For grown-up tea parties with real tea, of course.

As I wrote these tea blogs, I tried to remember tea parties in various books I’ve read over the years. I didn’t come up with a very long list, but I have to say my all-time favorite is in Anne of Green Gables. Remember the disaster when Anne invited Diana for tea?

“Oh, Marilla, can I use the rosebud spray tea set?"

"No, indeed! The rosebud tea set! Well, what next? You know I never use that except for the minister or the Aids. You'll put down the old brown tea set. But you can open the little yellow crock of cherry preserves. It's time it was being used anyhow—I believe it's beginning to work. And you can cut some fruit cake and have some of the cookies and snaps."

There was also half a bottle of raspberry cordial in the closet and Marilla said they could have that, too. Of course Anne unwittingly gave her friend a bottle of homemade current wine. Diana drank three glassfuls and became completely intoxicated.

For Afternoon Tea, it’s quite common to offer guests a glass of sherry, but usually just one, and a small one at that!

Poor Diana. In the film version, she staggered home and threw up in front of the minister’s wife.

In my first book, The Man for Maggie, it seemed perfectly natural to have a heroine who drank herbal teas and ran a natural spa. I was especially thrilled when the Silk Road tea shop and spa agreed to host my book launch party. Isn't that a beautiful display of teapots?


If you're planning a summer tea party, your guests might enjoy a nice tall frosty glass of iced tea. This one’s delicious.

Green Tea Lemonade

3 parts freshly steeped green tea
1 part lemonade concentrate
ice

Put the ice in a pitcher. Pour the green tea over the ice, add the lemonade concentrate, and stir. Fill those tall, frosty glasses and garnish with a twist of lemon or a spring of mint.
You’ll find a wonderful recipe for Lemonade Concentrate on my website. I much prefer it to the frozen kind from the grocery store.

I’m giving away a variety of my favorite teas today, and most of them are organic teas from Silk Road. To be eligible to win one of these awesome prizes, simply post a comment.

After you've done that, please follow these links to find out about Afternoon Tea on the Harlequin American Romance Authors blog, and some interesting tidbits about exotic teas on the Wet Noodle Posse blog.

Lee

26 comments:

Gillian Layne said...

Lee what a sweet picture! :) Thanks for the lemonade link.

Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks, Gillian! I adore old photos. The quality is often not great, and paper and color don't really stand the test of time, but the memories are priceless.

I hope you try making the lemonade. I like it way more than the frozen kind.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely charming picture, Lee.

Imagine giving children china tea sets – one of those wonderfully grown-up things we tend not to give kids any more.
My grandmother gave me what I thought was a perfect child-sized real teacup when I was little. It's actually a demitasse, now that I look at it. Wasn't that brilliant of her?

Rachel

Diane St Jacques said...

Hi Lee! I LOVE the picture of you when you were a little girl. So sweet! Oh how I remember tea parties when I was little! I used to love hosting them. To me it was a make-believe time in that I pretended I was someone a lot older and worldly! Both my grandmothers were English and I used to invite them to my tea parties!

It seems tea parties have gone by the wayside with our children's generation, as I only recall a "tea party" with Michelle once or twice. However, they seem to have made a comeback with the newest generation.......I've had a few tea parties with our 3 granddaughters. Like most other things, they've come full circle.

I’m sorry you’ve been dealing with health issues, but I’m glad to hear you are on the mend. Good for you. Spring is here and summer's around the corner. Life is good!

Take care and it was nice to hear from you again.

diane

Alexis Morgan said...

Lee-- (waving at you big time)

I just stocked up on my latest favorite tea--Prince of Wales. And my next Paladin book takes place in an old Victorian with a tea shop on the first floor, so you can add that one to your list.

Love the pictures and the china. My newest teapot is a bit odd. I had just had DJ (one of my Paladins and a computer-hacker extraordinaire) blog about programing someone's computer so that whenever the guy hit enter, dancing pigs appeared. That same week, I was at a tea shop and found a teapot with dancing pigs on it. It was fate--I'm sure.

Take care,

Alexis

Lee McKenzie said...

Rachel, can you still buy children's china tea sets? I'll bet they're mostly made of plastic these days. More durable, for sure, but somehow not the same as the "real" thing.

Lee McKenzie said...

Hi, Diane! I'm so glad you stopped by! It's good to know that grandmas are introducing their grandchildren to the art of "taking tea." Memories in the making.

Lee McKenzie said...

Dancing pigs? I LOVE it! I hope you'll drop back and give us a link to DJ's blog. And is there any chance we can see a picture of the teapot?

Ros said...

Oh, Lee, what an adorable picture! My mom has a Blue Willow china set. I loved tea parties, especially dressing up in adult sized clothes--big hats, big shoes, over-sized dresses. One of my favourite childhood memories is having tea during special occasions--usually Christmas. My mom has a wonderful collection of teacups, all different. How I used to love getting to pick my cup first! (The one with the big fat pink roses and gold trim was usually my favourite.)

Thanks for the cuppa and the trip down memory lane!

Ros

Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks, Ros! That old photo always makes me giggle. I've had poker-straight hair all my life, but my mother was a master at pin-curls.

My daughter had a huge box of dress-up clothes, and she and her friends had hours of fun getting all glammed up. One year somoeone gave her $5 for her birthday, and she took it to the thrift store and bought an old bridesmaid dress!

Diane St Jacques said...

Pin-curls!!!!! Oh my goodness, that sure brings back memories. My mom used to curl my hair that way and take each strand and pin it with two bobby-pins, diagonally! They each looked like stars! Oh the memories!!

And then the next phase of curling were those pink foam rollers with the plastic arm that flipped over and held it firmly.

Thanks for these beautiful childhood memories.

diane

Lee McKenzie said...

Pin curls are a definite blast from the past, Diane!

I remember that my mother would do them in the evening and put me to bed so my hair would dry while I slept. The pin curls were easy enough to sleep with, but I hated roller. Even the soft pink spongy kind were way too lumpy!

Anita Birt said...

I love your tea party and the photos. You were a darling little girl who became a bigger version of the same. I am drinking a cup of tea between typing. Plain Tetley's, Orange Pekoe (sp?) The Mad Hatter's Tea Party is a joy to read, as are the Alice books.

Tnanks for the post. It was full of warm feelings. I'm glad your health has improved so you can return to your writing. Your first two books with Harlquin American were great. They are on my book shelf never to be given away.

Lee McKenzie said...

Sending you big, warm, squishy hugs, Anita. Your comment brought a couple of tears - good ones! - to my eyes.

penney said...

Your picture reminds me of when I was little the tea parties I had and also the ones my 2 girls use to have. My Mom would take a bunch of teas and mix them up they were good we all love tea.
Penney

Lee McKenzie said...

Penney, your family sounds like a true testament to the timelessness of tea parties!

Beverly Carstensen said...

Hi Lee! I'm so happy to get your newsletter, and know that you are much better! Thank you for inviting me to your Tea Party! I'm enjoying my tea very much, I didn't realize I was so thirsty! The pictures are great, I had a little blue table and chair set that has been passed down to many generations of cousins.

I'm eager to try all the recipes, and the chocolate facial. Yummers!

Glad that you are working on your next book, can't wait to read it. Pop in and see me soon. Love Bev xo

Lee McKenzie said...

Hi, Bev! Thanks for coming to my tea party! So good to "see" you.

I hope you enjoy all the receipes. If you try the chocolate facial I've posted on my website, I'd love to hear how you like it!

Estella said...

I enjoy an occassional cup of tea.
Thanks for the lemonade link.

Alexis Morgan said...

Lee,

I just posted a picture of the dancing pig tea pot on DJ's Blog. It should show up in a couple of minutes. The link is here:

http://alexismorgan.com/wordpress

Alexis

Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks for stopping by, Estella. Enjoy the lemonade!

Lee McKenzie said...

Alexis, what a wonderful teapot. Want one!

Alexis Morgan said...

It is cute, isn't it? I took one look at it and just had to have it. Makes me smile every time I brew a pot to savor while I write.

Thanks for stopping by DJ's place.

Alexis

Lee McKenzie said...

This link should take everyone directly to Alexis’s dancing pig teapot.

:)

Jane said...

I usually have a cup of tea in the afternoon with a snack. I haven't had a chance to try white tea yet.

Lee McKenzie said...

Jane, afternoon tea - whether it's just tea and cookie or the whole spread - is so dignified. Also a great way to unwind in the midst of a busy day. Good for you!