Our Afternoon Tea, An Oasis

Ellen's tea cup
Welcome to our tea!

Edition 3

Emilie Loring Tea Week concludes today with submissions from “Peggy in Illinois” and from Laurie.

Peggy’s Nice Tea

Peggy’s tea was certainly “nice,” and it also alluded to Nice, France: rich blue, golden sunflowers, a hint of abandon, and simple style.

3 Peggy in Illinois, EL Tea 2020
Peggy’s “Nice” tea

Peggy’s placemats are souvenirs of her honeymoon in Nice. With those sorts of memories, a selection of Emilie Loring books, tea, and an assortment of simple snacks, what more could one need?

Nice and its Promenade des Anglais were the very center of the Côte d’Azur, so it’s no wonder that Emilie Loring had a little tie there, too. Her dear friends, Louise and Lizzy Hallet, lived in nearby Menton for many years, occupying an apartment with their mother at the palatial Hotel Orient. Imagine “dropping by” to visit friends here!

Love Came Laughing By, which Peggy has on her table, also relates to the Hallets. They lived at the Mayflower Hotel when they were in Washington, D.C., and Emilie enjoyed many teas with them there. Maybe now is a good time to re-read Peggy’s guest post, Tea at the Mayflower.

Laurie’s Colorful Tea

Laurie provided two teas this year–one fancy and another rustic.

This is “the fancier side, (where we are going to pretend I got my whole bistro set cleaned and painted the same color.)” We needn’t even ask how Emilie would have enjoyed it–bright yellow, three shades of happy blue, and a green vase filled with pink, red, and white flowers!

3 Colorful table and chairs
She stopped at a flower shop. Its color and beauty were like a soothing hand on her smarting conscience. With Banners

“I thought this represented Emilie’s love of flowers and colours well, even though my table still has the two sample colours I was considering… There is mint tea in the hummingbird teapot, to go with the butter tarts and excellent chocolates from a local sweet shop.”

 

On the rustic side, she says, “we are going to pretend there is a Maine coastline in the background, rather than tarps and my neighbor’s shed…” 

“There is orange pekoe and peach tea in the yellow teapot, to be made into iced tea when it cools. Alongside, a juicy Niagara peach, and on the plate (drum roll, please), luscious cinnamon toast, cut into shapes.”

Flowerdale teapot
Prized Flowerdale teapots

Laurie’s teapot is vintage Flowerdale, made in Quebec. Its Aladdin’s lamp contours spur the imagination.

“What’s under that silver cover? Cinnamon toast, and José has brought some of his luscious lobster salad sandwiches, I could die eating them. You have the best eats here at Brick Ends.”  It’s a Great World!

3 Snack-gigapixel-scale-2_00x
… she ate with increasing relish, sharing her toast and sandwiches impartially between the two dogs. It’s a Great World!

“That is Snack the German Shepherd from It’s a Great World! (Snack the snack, ha!)”

The Boston regarded her steadily with large, round, dark eyes; Snack’s, the shepherd’s, expressed only bored indifference, though his lower jaw grew suspiciously moist.  It’s a Great World!

We’ll let Jeff Kilburn and Eve Travis conclude:

“Drink your tea and eat something before you talk. I’ve lived years enough in the next place to you, Kiddo, to know that you go savage when you are hungry.”

… “There! the world does look different, not so drab.”

It’s a Great World!

Our tea comes to a close.

Thanks to all of you who sent photos, comments, and good wishes. I’ve heard from many of you that this event, virtual though it is, provides a welcome oasis from the business and concerns of the day, the week, the month. I’m glad. We’ll do it again, same time, next year!

Thanks for joining us. Happy Landings!

Edition 2

Welcome back! It’s been quiet for tea today, but I’ve heard from some of you who are planning your teas for the weekend. Good plan! In covid-time, that’s only seconds away, right? Or at least, it will seem that way. (How can it be August already?!)

I do have a little more to share, one contribution that’s especially dear to my heart, plus the recipe for Vicki’s almond tea, and some musings on tea cups and tea pots.

Molly’s first Emilie Loring garden party

My granddaughter, Molly, is only four months old, so she’s starting with the “garden” part of this experience. Daisies on her dress and roses all around, she explored the garden, and her mom enjoyed the beverage.

My two girls in the garden on Emilie Loring Tea Day! This bodes well for the future.

Molly with roses and tea
Molly’s garden party

Vicki’s almond tea recipe

Thanks to Vicki for sending in her recipe for us to try:

1 large can of lemonade, 2 tablespoons of instant tea dissolved in 6 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of almond extract.

“It is incredibly refreshing and addictive,” she says.

Teacups and teapots

I never know which teacup to use when we have our Emilie Loring tea. It’s lovely to treat myself to an actual teacup and saucer–which generally sit on a high shelf in the cupboard. Emilie and my grandmother both had collections of dainty, porcelain teacups.

My sister Judy gave me my first set of dishes when I graduated from college. By then, the trend was stoneware–mine was Johnson Brothers–and I chose a pattern that I thought would age well and become a beloved set for my future family.

To Patti from Judy
My first teacups

I still love them for sentimental reasons, but I switched over to bistro-style after that, and for the most part, my friends and I use mugs more often than cups. Who doesn’t have a cupboard full of them, collected from near and far?

My Emilie Loring mugs serve when I want a big cup, and lately, my bright yellow, library card mug has provided a cheery start to the day. But my dear friend gave me a set of lovely, porcelain mugs that have the sense of preciousness that original teacups did.

Teapots have changed over the years, too. In Blue Hill, I use this traditional, ceramic pot. It feels cozy. But at home, my son treated me to this thermostatically-controlled beauty with an oh-so-slender pouring spout. It’s an absolute pleasure to pour with it, and I can have precisely the right temperature for my tea or coffee.

The point is, of course, to enjoy your tea, enjoy your experience, and if it takes a moose mug or a picnic blanket to make that happen, go for it. No rush, though. I’m officially re-naming this the Emilie Loring Tea Week… Treat yourself.

.       .       .       .       .       .       .

Edition 1

Welcome to our annual, Emilie Loring Tea! By now, our friends on the west coast are getting started, so I’ll get this post underway, and we’ll add photos as they come in and keep on going, through tomorrow.

Our Oasis

An oasis is a pleasant, peaceful place in the midst of hard and troubled times. Physical oases are fertile, because they have water. Our tea party oasis is fertile, too, because when we allow ourselves to relax awhile, our ideas flow and inspiration returns. Our relaxed minds see more, appreciate more, and when the time comes to step back into our tracks, we feel refreshed and ready.

“Refreshed–it’s a great word, isn’t it?”  Give Me One Summer

I took a look back at things that bring refreshment in Emilie Loring’s novels: Books, comedy, color, a garden, … and tea.

Patti’s tea

Here in Kansas, it’s been a dreary, drippy day, but I was determined to set a cheery table for my solo tea. Maine was my inspiration, and I chose Give Me One Summer for company. I brought out a shorebird tray that I bought in Blue Hill and a blueberry jam pot from the Rackliffe pottery. I even had a “lighthouse” in view! With hydrangeas, daylilies and hosta blooms from the garden, all I needed was something to serve.

As planned, I made cucumber sandwiches–some with dill, some with mint. I sliced fresh peaches and strawberries for the shorebird tray, and I made both of Emilie’s kinds of stuffed dates–some with cream cheese and walnuts and others with orange marmalade. I can attest that both are delicious. (The super-duper one in the center, with cream cheese, marmalade and chocolate chips, was a spur-of-the-moment decision; I’ll let you know later if it was a good idea or not.)

Finally, it came to the Emilie Loring Brownies. I’ve called them that in my home for years; my children grew up on the name. I’ve called them that, because the recipe appeared in Emilie’s 1914 book, For the Comfort of the Family. She introduces them:

As Brownies always call forth a round of applause, I record here the formula for their manufacture, which is the result of much experimenting.

The recipe she shared was the same as in Fannie Farmer’s 1912 cookbook, the same that I shared last night with Kathleen in our comments section. Ha! Caught you, Emilie!

To be fair, she never says it was her own experimenting that produced the recipe. As I’ve quickly put it together, Fannie Farmer’s first brownies were maple bar cookies. Someone, maybe a Chicago hotel chef (here the history is murky), tried chocolate brownies, Fannie made adjustments, and this was the result. “A lady in Bangor” added more eggs and flour to produce the cake-like brownie we often expect, but these are the earlier version.

Emilie’s Brownies are almost a confection; if you don’t slice them while they are hot, you’ll have a time of it. But I like them for these covid-times when pantry staples are scarce. They use only 1/2 cup flour, only one egg, and you can substitute three tablespoons of cocoa powder and one tablespoon of vegetable oil for each square of Baker’s chocolate.

I brewed a hot cup of the tea my son gave me for Christmas–a blend of black tea, dried peaches, ginger, blackberry leaves, calendula and sunflower petals, and papaya and apricot pieces. Wonderful for a summer tea!

I sat down with my treats before me and sampled each of them as I read, transported to Maine, as I’d hoped:

Patti's tea
Tea with a good friend: Emilie Loring

How still the world was, so still that she could hear the croon of the tide, could hear birch leaves stirring with the sound of lapping water to the accompaniment of the shrill singing of locusts…   Give Me One Summer

Pat’s tea

Colorado Emilie Tea

My husband, Pat, produced this lovely tea in Colorado with nary a drop of rain to spoil his outdoor setting.

“I baked some simple cinnamon raisin cookies and whipped up some semi-pureed frozen berries topped with a dab of sour cream and strawberry halves to go with the Irish Morning tea.” 

He may be in charge of our tea next year! I’m trying to remember if any of Emilie’s leading men were cooks…

Vicki’s tea

Vicki is one of the most faithful commenters on our blog, and she intrigued me with her offering: almond tea. Have you tried it?

almond tea
Vicki’s almond tea

I love the taste of almond in cakes, ice cream, and pies, but I hadn’t heard of almond tea. I dashed to the internet and found all manner of different types. Most seem to be a blend of iced tea, lemon juice, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract. A few simplified things by blending iced tea with lemonade and then the vanilla and almond.

As soon as I get some more lemons–or lemonade concentrate–I’ll give it a try!

Lynn’s tea

Lynn is my friend, which explains our matching lighthouses. She made a game try at having her tea outside today, but that break in the rain was only temporary, so she set up anew indoors.

Lynn's lighthouse
Lynn’s lighthouse tea

Her dining room setting looks very Emilie Loring-ish to me. Which book does it remind you of? Maybe this could be a room in Today Is Yours?

Lynn's dining room tea
“The musical notes of the Westminster chimes stole in from the hall…”

Next additions:

I’m hearing chimes from my computer, so I’ll go and see who else has photos for us! I’ll update the “Edition” at the top of the post each time that I add, so you’ll know there’s more to see.

If you haven’t found your own oasis yet today, I hope you will give yourself that gift–that lift.

Keep those photos and stories coming in!  (contact@pattibender.com)

Happy landings, everyone!

 


4 thoughts on “Our Afternoon Tea, An Oasis

  1. I am enjoying everyone’s pictures. I love the various decks and patios in the green and sunny outdoors. You did a great job weaving together the Nice France theme. Great story. Sunflowers are indeed big there in the landscape and artwork. It is such a beautiful place by the sea.

    Happy Birthday Emilie. Happy Landings to you all!

    Liked by 1 person

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