Mother's Tea

Front: Dianne Spanski Back - Left to Right: Sylvia Croy, Bev Blasen, Nancy Lacey, Marissa McClane (holding Makayla), Allison McClane, Michele Miller

Nancy Lacey
Renton, Washington

On May 19th, 2001, I held a "Mother's Tea". It was not a Mother's Day Tea, but rather a Mother's Tea. My mother died 12 years ago and I still miss her terribly; she was my best friend, also. My friends and I are all mothers. Two of my young friends have recently lost their mothers and one of those friends gave birth to her second daughter just weeks after her mother passed away. This tea was to celebrate both friendship and the love of mothers.

I asked each friend to bring pictures of her mother and to share a bit of memory. It was a touching and poignant time.

Since it was springtime, I wanted sunshine and flowers so I put a lemon-yellow fabric under my lace tablecloth. For each place setting, I made cones out of light yellow vellum paper, tied them with yellow ribbon and filled them with a light-yellow flowered napkin, the silver flatware, and a silk flower. I used a small teapot placecard holder at each guest's table setting. The centerpiece is from our rhododendron bush and put in a special dish that my mother-in-law used for her flowers. I am fortunate enough to have my late mother-in-law's tea service and many of her friendship cups, as well as my own, for serving tea. At each guest's place I had a small gift which I put together. I bought small white translucent vellum bags and some beautiful flower stickers to decorate them. In each bag I put an assortment of items - a small fragrant candle in a glass, a flavored lip glass, a packet of special tea, a chocolate truffle, and special wrapped chocolate candy square, along with a small packet of homemade sugar cookies which were cut in flower and leaf shapes. The handles of the bags were tied with a ribbon attached to a small cross-stitched ornament with a quote about friendship. I had great fun making an ornament for each friend because I feel friendship is so special and I have had the misfortune to lose several dear friends. These young ladies in the photo are very special in my life.

My guests also brought me a gift - a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a special teapot - what a wonderful and touching surprise! One friend came early and helped make sandwiches.

We shared our pictures and memories and then we had lunch and tea. Since I do a lot of canning, I started the lunch with sliced peaches and pears drizzled with strawberry sauce and served it in a crystal dessert glass. We had small chicken salad sandwiches, poppy seed scones and lemon bread. There was homemade jam and Devonshire cream for the scones. For dessert, I made chocolate cups in which I placed a large fresh strawberry and topped it with crème fraiche and a mint leaf.

We actually spent a few hours over tea, visiting and sharing good times and generally enjoying each other's company and the day. And, being such great friends, they cleaned up all the dishes. Isn't that wonderful? The only drawback to the day was that there were four other friends who were invited, but could not attend.

While I did not use any recipes from Sandy's Tea Society book, I am glad to share a special recipe for pear-cinnamon jam that I served. My mother taught me how to can fruit and my father (who is 91) still picks fresh fruit for me from the Yakima Valley when canning time comes around each summer and fall. Quite a few years ago my mother bought me a cookbook published by a church where I attended Sunday school as a child. Of course, I knew quite a few of the ladies who submitted recipes, so my Mom knew I would enjoy the book. This pear-cinnamon jam is a favorite of friends and family alike, so I make several jars to give as gifts.

While it takes planning and a little work to do a tea for friends, it is one of the most enjoyable times there can be. I enjoyed it - from the start of the planning - to the very end of the party. My young friends all work full time and this provides them a time to relax and visit without a time schedule. I would encourage all young women to start a tradition of tea parties for enjoying each other's company and bringing a little gentitlity into their lives.

4 cups peeled and mashed pears
4 ½ cups sugar
½ cup red hot cinnamon candies
2 Tbsp. Lemon juice
1 box pectin

Measure sugar and candy - set aside. Measure 4 cups fruit pulp into large saucepan. Add lemon juice and pectin. Heat to hard boil. Stir in sugar and red hots. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim. Pour into sterilized glasses while hot and seal.

This recipe originated with a lady named Doris Kelly from the Wiley Heights Covenant Church in Yakima, Washington.

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