The idea for a Mad Tea Party has been floating in my head for quite some time. The Tea Party scene is one of my favorites from Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, right up there with the Caterpillar conversation and the Duchess’ house. I’ve had this daydream of hosting a tea party in my backyard (The front yard would be more accurate to the book, but I don’t want to scare my neighbors too much.) with a long table and an array of mismatched chairs, linens and china. There would be pots of various teas, cookies, scones, and other assorted tea-time yummies, and of course, a few rousing, “Let’s all move one place on!” trips around the table.
While considering in my mind how to commemorate my 30th birthday, I mulled over the idea of a “get-wrecked” event, a quiet dinner with husband, a trip out of town, or an informal gathering of friends. Then, the Mad Tea Party re-emerged in my brain. Luckily I have a husband willing to indulge me in these weird flights of fancy and friends who are game enough to show up for a goofy gathering such as this.
Friday night, Adrian and I made a few preparations for the MTP with a run to World Market, a place where I could spend some serious cash. We bought a few more bits of china, some loose and bagged tea, jams, and scone mix. I decided against buying clotted cream or the $5.99 can of “Treacle”, however, now I think they would have been worth it justfor the full effect. Saturday morning, Shana and Chad (our very first overnight guests!) were game enough to be conscripted into helping set up the table. Such troopers.
The weather was totally erratic Saturday, so an outdoor MTP was out of the question. We turned our dining room table lengthwise and added a folding table to stretch into the kitchen. We covered the tables with white and patterned tablecloths. Twelve place settings were put out using a variety of cups and saucers. Down the center of the table, I put a mish-mash of serving dishes, tea pots, and various other tea things. The White Rabbit was in attendance, as was the Dormouse, popping his sleepy head out of a tea pot. I filled some vintage sugar bowls and cream pitchers with carnations, and a tall vase full of daisies.
Once everyone arrived, we sat down to a spread that included lavender sugar cookies, amaretto cookies, strawberries, blackberries, plain scones with a sampling of jams for spreading, and boursin with crackers. Plus, dishes of Chinese “White Rabbit” candy I picked up at World Market. In my collection of tea pots, we made Darjeeling and Assam tea (straight from India!), as well as pots of Lavender Earl Grey and English breakfast. After everyone had sampled the various teas and annihilated the scones and the boursin, Adrian passed around birthday cake, ice cream, and champagne.
Good thing I cleaned two of our bathrooms. With all that tea and champagne flowing, they were well-used.
I had a blast hosting the MTP. Adrian was concerned about the work I was doing baking and preparing for my own birthday party, but in some sick way, I enjoyed it more than I would had someone else put it all together. The Mad Tea Party was my idea, and besides, I love to throw soirees. It’s the Martha in me coming out. Sitting at the head of our elongated tea table, looking out at my close friends enjoying tea and each other’s company, I couldn’t have thought of a better way to commemorate my 30the birthday. My husband, good friends, Alice in Wonderland, and Ukrop’s birthday cake. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Plus, if anyone is thinking about buying me anymore tea pots, please don’t. Trust me; I’ve got more than enough.
If anyone would like to make a contribution towards my next, rather expensive Alice collectable, I prefer cash. Seriously, I bought a doll magazine, because this was on the cover. A doll magazine. It’s a sickness, I know.