I suppose I ought to eat or drink something or other, but the great
question is what?
I’m a sucker for a proper English “high” tea, and wish I lived in a society civilized enough to take time for an elegant meal in the middle of the afternoon. When she was still young enough to play pretend games, I was always trying to get my tomboy daughter to have tea parties, but she was more interested in hot wheels and building elaborate cities out of blocks--both of which are swell but don’t involve food (and there were no prop cookies at my tea parties).
So with a bit of thought and a cup of PG Tips, this was the menu I came up with:
Roast Beef, horseradish crème fraiche and watercress on pumpernickel
Irish cheddar and tomato chutney on whole grain
Herbed egg salad on Pullman white
Radish on buttered French bread with sea salt and parsley
Curried chicken salad with Marcona almonds on fennel raisin bread
Ham and cucumber with chive Dijon butter on rye
Polenta cookies with lemon and golden raisins
Orange madeleines dipped in chocolate
Currant buttermilk scones with butter or clotted cream and jam (strawberry & kumquat ginger)
Cranberry orange bread
Zucchini cake with ginger and hazelnuts
Tea and Coffee
Sounds pretty good, right? Delicious fun woulda been had by all, no? Notice the past conditional or whatever that tense I just used mighta been? Because the father-to-be’s boss (the bossfather?) co-opted the location of the party (to be fair, it was great to have it in his spacious home) and then the menu, suddenly we were having chili, spicy peel-and-eat-shrimp, guacamole, and clam dip. No comment.
Do you ever sit down for afternoon tea? What are your favorite things to pair with it?
Although Carolyn Grifel has been cooking, baking, and devouring cookbooks since she was old enough to read, it took her four decades to finally devote herself to professional cooking. She received a degree from The French Culinary Institute in 2009, while working at Epicurious.com. Since graduating she’s been a chef for Sweet Deliverance, as well as the executive chef at the historic TA Ranch in Buffalo, Wyoming. She’s currently a private chef for a family of four in NYC, and the enchanted mother of a 10-year-old named Stella.