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Mad tea party

  • 11th Nov, 2005 at 2:22 AM

Damian and Amanda
Originally uploaded by mricon.

"Self," I thought to myself, "your dinner parties take too much time. You're always bone tired after hosting them and you can't invite very many people."

"This is true," I admitted, "but what can I do about it? I like having people over."

"I don't know," I replied. "Perhaps I can get some sleep and come up with an answer in the morning."

Sleeping is a good idea once one starts talking to oneself.

When I awoke, I took a shower. Thinking in the shower is something I've been trying to do, and this time I was successful. I realised that perhaps I could throw parties with less effort by making them tea parties. It seems like a tea party would take far less effort than a three-course meal.

Salmon memorial
Originally uploaded by mricon.

I looked about my social group and realised that nobody else threw tea parties. So I would have to be a pioneer in this field. I screwed my courage to the sticking post, and invited some select friends who would be excited to come over for tea. I was not disappointed.

On Sunday, people arrived at around teatime. My fairy cakes had just come out of the oven and were sitting on the cooling rack. I made some scones, plopped them on a baking sheet and shoved them in the oven. Ever since the weather got cold, I've had this strange compulsion to keep baking. vierge_en_trop seemed to notice this as well, because she commented on how wonderful the place smelled, and also how hot my flat seemed to be.

What can I say? Ovens are like hearths. They are meant to warm your home.

I enlisted angorian's help to make crustless sandwiches, with cucumber and smoked salmon. I had a nice plate of chocolates for people to nibble on. And once the scones were done, I set them out with some clotted cream. The only thing I forgot were the preserves, which I left in the refrigerator by accident.

En vrac
Originally uploaded by mricon.

We had three types of tea: 龍井, a green tea which I can't convince people to like; a five-year 普洱, which was deemed to taste like a forest floor; and darjeeling which everybody liked because they got asked "one lump or two?" I think my next tea party will have to involve blends like Earl Grey.

I discovered that if you have enough freshly baked goods on hand, people will stuff themselves so that they have no room for dinner. So really, this tea party turned into a rather early dinner party. I quite enjoyed it, especially since we had fewer dishes to wash up. And all of us got our eight-glasses of fluids that day.

I think I shall do it again, with more people and more pre-baking. Some of the scones came out a little underdone, so if I had more preparation time, I'm sure I could lay out quite the spread. Aside from that, everything else seemed to run perfectly. I am tickled about the whole event.


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
11th Nov, 2005 07:50 (UTC)
Do you have some romanized form of 龍井 and 普洱? I think I know what you mean by the second, and for the first, either your guests were the weird kind of people who prefer the strong black darjeelings (which seems to be the case, or they were only easily amused?), or it's some kind of weird green tea.

If you throw another one, I could be interested, since I do like tea muchly (even though I'm having coffee much more often these days). I'm known for my near-maniacal technique for brewing my favourite tea, Tung Tin Nen Yu oolong. Taiwanese oolongs are love. :-)
11th Nov, 2005 14:10 (UTC)
普洱 is Pu-erh; it's one of my favorites. I'm still curious as to what 龍井 is. The only green tea I don't care for is genmaicha.

I'll have to look into hosting my own tea party—I love the idea, although I'm quite inexperienced as a hostess in general.
11th Nov, 2005 16:21 (UTC)
I am also quite partial to 普洱, although usually one is served young, watery stuff in Chinese restaurants. I have been scouring Montréal for a shop that will sell me cakes of it, but nobody stocks such things. I shall likely have to go to China to get any.

I see we have similar tastes in tea, since 玄米茶 has always seemed to be a very common drink to me. The roasted rice masks the flavour of the poor tea, but at least it's fairly inoffensive.

I encourage you to throw a tea party, even if it's an informal one. Just have snacks for people to munch on and tea for people to drink. It's a lot of fun to make excuses to get together and laugh.
16th Nov, 2005 15:48 (UTC)
It happens that a 普洱 community, puerh_tea, has just formed.
11th Nov, 2005 16:59 (UTC)
Ah, Pu-erh, that's what I was thinking about! Thank you!
11th Nov, 2005 12:13 (UTC)
"What can I say? Ovens are like hearths. They are meant to warm your home."

And, hoorah for tea parties. Sounds like yours was a lot of fun.
11th Nov, 2005 12:13 (UTC)
Oh, and I meant to write that I agreed about the ovens. Oops.
11th Nov, 2005 14:23 (UTC)
Talking to oneself isn't so bad. It's when you reply that one should start to question things. ;-)

Your dinner parties sound awesome!

As a side note, I have been meaning to have a tea party for *years*. I'm fairly envious you've gotten the opportunity/ time/ friends to do it.
11th Nov, 2005 16:23 (UTC)
Have one. I compel you!

It's easy to do a simple one. Buy some biscuits, get some tea, invite friends over. Have arrowroots on hand, as everyone likes those, and the Peanut probably will too. I used to dunk them in my tea.
11th Nov, 2005 15:25 (UTC)
So sorry I had to miss it! Sounds like a smashing, crustless, success. Next time...

Also, if you enjoy 普洱, the teahouse on Émery, between St-Denis and Sanguinet has a great selection of "forest floor" teas. If only I could remember the names of the ones I enjoyed the most.
11th Nov, 2005 16:18 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll look into that place.
11th Nov, 2005 16:34 (UTC)
The store in question is Camellia-Sinensis.
11th Nov, 2005 17:02 (UTC)
Oh, I haven't been to Camellia Sinensis in so long! Tell me when you go, I might join you.
11th Nov, 2005 16:03 (UTC)
i love darjeeling (no sugar or milk), but i don't think i've ever had forest floor. and green tea is yummy too. and chocolates. hmm. now i'm curious; i'm going to see if i can find me some forest floor tea here in the middle of nowhereland (we do have a tea shop here though)
11th Nov, 2005 16:17 (UTC)
It's not really called forest floor tea. You'll do much better at your tea-shop if you call it Pu'erh.

It's a naturally fermented tea which gives it a wonderfully earthy flavour. This, I think, is why my guests were reminded of dirt and forests.
11th Nov, 2005 16:20 (UTC)
i assumed that; my plan was to copy the kanji but perhaps the pu'erh would be better for finding it. i'm curious b/c i tend to like earthy a lot.
11th Nov, 2005 16:16 (UTC)
I want to come to a tea party!
11th Nov, 2005 16:17 (UTC)
If you come to Montréal, you are welcome to have one with me.
11th Nov, 2005 18:00 (UTC)
What a lovely idea! Where did you find clotted cream? Dave always raves about it but he won't buy the 2 ounce containers we can get at the grocery store because he feels that that's only enough for one scone and then he'll have none left for the rest of the batch. Do you think clotted cream is much different from creme fraiche? I think I could happily eat a scone with creme fraiche and preserves regardless.
11th Nov, 2005 18:07 (UTC)
Creme fraiche is more like sour cream, whereas clotted cream is more like butter. I like how clotted cream melts cloyingly into scones, with its deep and creamy goodness.

I find clotted cream at the health food store, although there appears to be a supermarket nearby that carries some. It's in a 125mL jar which you have to shake vigourously to properly mix. I had to try pretty hard to find it here, so I wish you the best of luck.
13th Nov, 2005 06:46 (UTC)
Tea Report
Went to Camellia Sinensis today with Jeff, Angie, Mark, and Scott James Remnant (in town for Ubuntu thingy.) Bought 1992b pu-erh and grade 3 Long Jing. Later on, brewed some pu-erh at Jeff and Angie's, which everyone tried except Jeff. It smelled weird (mouldy, bad) but tasted good (interesting, earthy.) Glad I bought it, can't wait to try the Long Jing.
13th Nov, 2005 06:50 (UTC)
Re: Tea Report
I'm glad you enjoyed it!
1st Dec, 2005 00:41 (UTC)
Re: Tea Report
I've also been meaning to mention.. I've had the Long Jing a few times since buying it, and I really like it. It's unusually sweet and smooth, adjectives I don't normally apply to tea, and there's something weird in the taste too that I can't quite place. The rest of your friends must be defective :)
1st Dec, 2005 03:47 (UTC)
Re: Tea Report
I'm sure they merely have to get accustomed to good tea; having drunken inferior beverages all their lives.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )