Friday, March 29, 2013

Pride and Prejudice: Afternoon Tea

Mr. Collins's triumph, in consequence of this invitation, was complete. The power of displaying the grandeur of his patroness to his wondering visitors, and of letting them see her civility towards himself and his wife, was exactly what he had wished for; and that an opportunity of doing it should be given so soon, was such an instance of Lady Catherine's condescension, as he knew not how to admire enough.

"I confess," said he, "that I should not have been at all surprised by her ladyship's asking us on Sunday to drink tea and spend the evening at Rosings. I rather expected, from my knowledge of her affability, that it would happen. But who could have foreseen such an attention as this? Who could have imagined that we should receive an invitation to dine there (an invitation, moreover, including the whole party) so immediately after your arrival!"

~ Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice Chapter 29 

At a family dinner last weekend, I expressed some of the wishes I have for the food at my funeral.  No---I am not mortally wounded, I am not chronically ill, I am a pretty careful driver, and I always pay attention to the flight attendant when she is going over the safety instructions.  My death is anything but imminent.  But why leave things to chance---especially when food is on the line?

I announced to my family that if they tried to serve anything "buffet style" in a casserole dish that I would haunt them.

Instead, I wish my life to be celebrated with a tea party.

And this is why.

These are pictures from my recent trip to the Grand America Hotel where I took afternoon tea with some of my sisters and my grandmother.

 And if the lobby isn't stunning enough for you, here is a view of the hotel patio. 

Our elegant table was happily situated next to a window where we could watch the dancing fountains.

We started our afternoon with a tantalizing dollop of fresh berries and cream.

 We then ordered steaming pots of berry tisanes and mint-lemongrass herb tea to accompany our trays of jaw dropping sandwiches and savories.

The mango chicken salad sandwich and the pecan crepe with smoked salmon still visit me in my dreams (where I rapidly devour them while still managing to lose weight).

  It's hard to believe that it tasted as good as it looked!

 We then savored some buttery currant scones.

 I slathered mine with strawberry jam and clotted cream (as if they needed it . . .).

 And just when I thought I would have to roll myself out to the car, our server brought out a dessert tray stacked with candies, cookies, and cakes.

 Don't you just love this adorable little s'more tart?  The crust is made of graham crackers and the dome is filled with chocolate fudge and marshmallow creme.  Yum.

Some days it is hard for me to remember what life is like outside of chicken nuggets, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and macaroni and cheese.

But when I sit down to a tea party, I am reminded that life is brimming with small yet beautiful, exciting moments.  And sometimes, we even get to eat them.

So I ask you:  What better way is there to celebrate a life well-lived than with a tea party?

In 50 years (knock on wood), when that fateful day arrives, I want you to know that you are all invited to my funeral tea.  Bring your shiniest pearls, your loveliest hats, and fanciest heels.  

But PLEASE . . . Leave the casseroles at home.  (Or I'll have to haunt you, too.)

Sharing at . . .


  1. Your tea gathering with family is so beautiful. Thank you for the photos I know everyone had a most enjoyable tea and meal. The chicken mango salad sounds awesome right now. You are too funny about your final comment this is something my sister would say! Have a wonderful Easter weekend.

  2. Oh, so lovely! Now, if I could drink coffee instead of tea (can't abide tea, it totally upsets my stomach) I would sit at that table happily for hours sipping and munching away. And the quote from Pride and Prejudice, priceless! Reminds me sooo much of the scene from the A&E version, which to my mind is the best yet done :)

  3. Wow, what a wonderful place - and the treats look divine! ~Pernilla

  4. It all looks so pretty! And, all the little goodies look divine! Thank you for sharing and thank you for the visit and sweet comment at The Dedicated House. Would love it if you would share this awesome post at my Make it Pretty Monday party. Here's the link if you want to check it out. Hope to see you at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  5. So funny, you! But I couldn't disagree at all -- a tea party on this scale makes the whole idea bearable at least.

  6. OMG, the food looked wonderful!!!

  7. What an amazing looking tea party! I've never been to anything like that but I sure would love it. All the food looks amazing. I think the tea for your funeral sounds like a very elegant idea. Go for it!! :) ~ Jamie

  8. Dear Erika,
    I totally agree with you!!! Hopefully you won't have to haunt anyone now that they know your wishes. What a spectacular meal you were served. I am off to check out where that hotel is. I want to put it on my list.
    Ruthie from Lady B's Time for Tea

  9. Hi there :-)

    I just wanted to say how much I'm enjoying your blog. I found you last week and have been slowly, when I have time, going backwards through the whole blog. Lovely photography, great writing...a total win win. :-)
    Have a wonderful afternoon!

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