Though I’m not a tea drinker, or maybe because I’m not a tea drinker I thought this would be a good event to help out with (since they were looking for volunteers). I’m not sure if this is only the second year they’ve held it, but I definitely didn’t attend last year. Fr. Bob (who is British) stopped in while we were setting up and reminded us the proper way to clean out a teapot when you’re done with it, is to just rinse it out since any residual matter just adds to the taste of future pots of tea. Also, it’s proper to heat up the teapot before making tea inside it so the water doesn’t go cold quite so quickly. I told Fr. Bob I had to learn all these nuances when making tea for my bosses at Pearson May (in Bath, England) when I used to have to assist with catering meetings at work.
We had pretty good attendance at around 45 people total (including children and those of us who were assisting as well). The only snag to the plan was the fact that there weren’t (round?) tables set up for us, so we just borrowed some of the cafeteria tables and the show went on!
How this whole thing worked was we provided tea pots with boiling water for each table (which was heated inside the school kitchen), a tray of assorted cookies & pastries (I made lemon blueberry scones, so those were the pastries), tea bags, sugar cubes, and creamers. People were asked to bring their own teacups (saucers optional). For those who didn’t we had a table with extras people could borrow. There was also a table with paper and crayons to keep the little girls occupied.
|my lemon blueberry scones|
After we made sure everyone had been served and had enough hot water, we sat down next to friends, neighbors, and acquaintances and had a chat while enjoying some tea and refreshments ourselves. I admit I had a couple chocolate chip cookies and a tiny cupcake while enjoying the lemonade meant for the children. I probably should have brought some of my cold Chai Tea drinks I have in my refrigerator, but I didn’t think of it.
With about a half an hour left to go Donna, the one who organized the tea party, stood up and spoke about the various ministries (clubs/organizations) at St. Brendan and the contact details for each, which were listed on sheets distributed amongst the various tables. If any representative from any particular ministry were present they were asked to speak about it. Since I am the unofficial co-chair of the Arts & Environment Committee I stood up and spoke about that.
Probably the best part of the afternoon was meeting new people and getting further acquainted with others I only know casually. I met a lady named Rose who I think is from Dundalk, Ireland (she said she was from a city north of Dublin near the border of Northern Ireland, and the city started with a ‘D’). Rose told me the only restaurant that actually serves boiling water adequate for enjoying a good cup of tea is, funnily enough, McDonald’s. I told her I’m not surprised. After all, they once had a lawsuit on their hands when someone spilled hot coffee on him/herself and got scalded.
I told Rose I hoped to someday have proper afternoon tea at a tea house with my husband, Andrew. Our best option is the Cambridge Tea House in Grandview, but you need to get there early (not sure if they take reservations) on a Sunday and definitely dress up. We were going to go there on my birthday weekend, but we weren't dressed up and there was no parking (so we went to the Chocolate Cafe instead where I had a chocolate tea drink that I'm sure I probably liked more than if I had had a proper tea).
The next best part was the easy clean-up. It’s true what they say, ‘Many hands make for light work.’ All I did was organize the leftover cookies so they got returned to whomever baked/bought them if they so wished. This is how I got to take home a few leftovers (quite a few actually). We were done and dusted in less than 15 minutes after the event was over. I will definitely pencil in this event for next year since it was really fun and not really that much work (one short meeting to make plans, one even shorter meeting to make the centerpieces, and then the event itself), less than five hours in its entirety.
Have a great week everyone!