“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” – Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
The second year of the What’s Cooking at Westwood Cook Book Club got off to a shining start with an English Tea Party. I polished Granny’s tea service and cutlery and ironed the linen tablecloth. I felt as if I belonged with the downstairs staff at Downton Abbey. One of the members kindly brought china cups and saucers.
The books explained tea ceremonies, etiquette, folklore, and tea growing practices in addition to recipes. Joanna compared a story from Arabian Nights to her tea drinking experience during a recent trip to Turkey.
We samples 3 kinds of savoury puff pastry; chicken and mushroom in Madeira Cream Sauce and Roasted Vegetable with Cheese. Irish Soda Bread was served with homemade apple jelly. We tasted 4 types of cookies; Shortbread, French Macarons, Dulce de Leche, and Pumpkin. We finished with Creamy Blackberry Tarts.
Three new members joined the 10 regulars from last season. I have never participated in a more enthusiastic book club. I anticipate a very interesting year for this book club.
And, yes, tea does taste better when served in a china teacup.