The Ladies' Tea Guild

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Victorian enigma.

Can you discover the answer to this riddle?  It is an "enigma" from Godey's Lady's Book from July 1855.

Enigma 25. 
TAKE a cross letter, and two-thirds of the sea,
Unite them together; the product will be
What some people say gives to scandal a zest,
And oft is found worst where they say it is best;
A traitor’s its doom—for ‘tis quartered away,
And for such execution too dearly we pay;
Yet ‘tis treated still worse, for, by royal desire,
In the palace ‘tis “drawn” through hot water and fire. 

The clue to the answer is in the photo above!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Picnic recipes from Godey's of July 1855.

Lemon balm at History Park,
San Jose, Ca.
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.
Wow, the weather is really starting to heat up around here!  June is usually not a really warm month in this area, but I think we'll be breaking some heat records in the next few days or so ... This is when we should air out the house and get outside in the cool mornings and evenings, and then shut ourselves away from the heat in the afternoon with something cold and refreshing to drink.  To get a break from sodas, make some iced tea or tisane (you can make it by the pitcher and just keep it in the fridge all the time) or some lemonade, which are not only good for hot weather, but for the sick and invalids, as recommended by Godey's Lady's Book in 1855:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New costume plan: a sheer dress from the 1840s!

Image from Wikipedia.
Well, I've settled on the 1840s as one of my favorite fashion eras, and now that I've made a nice wool gown from 1848-ish, I need a sheer gown for summer, right?  Of course.  My costume guild's upcoming Victorian Picnic in the garden of the Fallon House in San Jose gives me the perfect excuse reason to make what the Victorians called a "clear muslin gown".

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Celebrate the Queen's Jubilee with a special afternoon tea

Cherries Jubilee, Wikimedia Commons.
 Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria are the longest-reigning monarchs in the history of the U.K. -- amazing that they beat out all the men!  There are a lot of events and festivities scheduled for this weekend in the U.K., the Commonwealth nations, and in households where Brits, Canadians, and their friends live, including the Sunday Lunch (tomorrow).  Red, white and blue bunting, ribbons, and flags are used to decorate homes, businesses, and even cakes this year!  Many people are decorating regular cakes with the Union flag in fondant, or red and blue sprinkles, but why not adapt a recipe or two invented for Queen Victoria's Jubilee back in 1897 and bring some history into it?

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)