The Ladies' Tea Guild

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A picnic with the Pre-Raphaelites.

Pre-Raphaelite Tea Picnic table.
Photo: Elizabeth and Virginia Urbach
The South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild enjoyed almost perfect weather and surroundings at the Pre-Raphaelite Tea Picnic and Artistic Salon.  The popular Japanese Friendship Garden was full of families -- and even a wedding party taking photos -- but the Guild was fortunate in securing a shady picnic table near the back entrance to the garden (and more importantly, near the restrooms!).
another view of the table.
Photo: Elizabeth and Virginia Urbach

The table was set with a green cloth, with a bunch of roses for a centerpiece, and fresh rose petals scattered around.  Plain white plates and clear glasses, along with a few colorful platters, were the serving and eating utensils, with the addition of fly-proof food covers!  Five lovely ladies attended in colorful summer dress, three of them in costume appropriate to the theme and occasion.  The artistic and literary world was represented by two antique books -- one full of poetry and quotations -- as well as period fashion illustrations and a book about traditions and customs from the past that should be brought back into style.  This is the menu:

Pomegranite tea punch
The ladies in attendance. 
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.
Blueberry scones
Homemade Meyer lemon curd
Homemade fig jam
Imported Devon cream

Pear-cardamom chutney and water crackers
Cucumber sandwiches with fresh mint and rose petals
Chicken salad sandwiches with garden tomatoes
Pastry bunches filled with spinach and cheese

Brown sugar spice cookies
Sugared raspberries and cream

It was a relaxing afternoon tea in the garden, a perfect way to spend a late-summer day! 

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)