We are family of tea lovers. It's not so much the tea itself (although we do enjoy a good cuppa), rather our love affair with tea has a lot more to do with the indefinable aspects - the routine, the relaxation, the relationship.
When Maid Elizabeth was a little girl, we would have Mad Hatter tea parties. We all wore hats (even Sir Knight) and when the mood struck, we would randomly exchange our hat with another. It was a sight to see Sir Knight in a pink straw hat with yellow lilies, but he bore his burden well and our days of Mad Hatter tea parties evoke fits of laughter still.
As our family grew, our Mad Hatter tea parties gave way to "tea time", when Sir Knight and I would shew all of the children out of the house or to their rooms, and we would spend a half an hour reconnecting after our days work. The parties grew calmer, but the relationships grew deeper.
Tea time still exists in our home, but has evolved once again. The older children - Maid Elizabeth, Master Hand Grenade and occasionally Miss Calamity now share our tea table. While Princess Dragon Snack and Master Calvin play, color or read in the other room, Sir Knight, the older kids and I share our lives with one another. We talk about what is most important to each of us. Problems come to light and victories are shared, hearts are mended and characters are shaped. As our teacups are emptied our lives our filled.
Over the years, we have perfected our tea time. Although our tea selection may vary, our routine never does. We start our tea time with a heated tea pot. Heating the pot is the difference between a tepid, mediocre brew and a pipping hot cup. I then put on fresh water (always use fresh water - never water that has been boiling away on the stove - previously boiled water loses it oxygen and provides a very inadequate cup of tea) and prepare my tea table. The tea pot I prefer is a Chatsford pot. It has an infuser basket for the tea, allowing the tea to fully expand, producing a much better flavor. There are other option for loose tea, however, the most common, a tea ball, is a very poor substitute. If I don't have my Chatsford pot with me (when we travel), I always make sure that I have a tea sock. A tea sock will fit in any pot and allow the tea to expand properly.
|Chatsford pot with Infuser basket|
|Pre-heat with boiling water|
|Putting the basket into the pot|
|Tea filter or tea "sock"|
|Pouring water into the infuser|
|Taking the tea filled infuser out|
of the pot after the tea has steeped
|Tea time aftermath|
White Wedding Cookies/Russian Tea Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, cream together butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy.
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually stir flour into butter mixture. Add pecans, stirring until the nuts are evenly distributed.
If dough is too sticky to handle, refrigerate until firm. Break off 1 inch pieces of dough; roll into balls.
Place on ungreased baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until set but still pale in color.
Cool slightly, then roll in confectioners' sugar. When cookies are completely cooled, roll in confectioners' sugar again.
|White wedding cookies|