Tag Archives: tea sandwiches

Downton-inspired tea for “Downton Day”.

1920s silver teapot and cup and saucer on display at the Ainsley House in Campbell, CA.

1920s silver teapot and cup and saucer on display at the Ainsley House in Campbell, CA. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Today is the last “Downton Day” of the year  – the final episode of Downton Abbey Season 5 airs tonight on KQED/PBS at 9 p.m. Pacific time. This season’s plot has brought the Crawleys and their servants into the mid-1920s, and nobody’s lives are settled and secure, as usual.  What better way to catch up on the doings and happenings in this fictional world than with a cup of tea and some treats at the ready?  Look in the tea party pantry for some English tea-time favorites, like scones (you can use a mix or buy them ready-made), cream, jam, and cakes.  You can make an elaborate spread suitable for the Dowager Countess, or a simple tea table that would make Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes, or Lady Rose’s Russian refugees comfortable.

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Give thanks over tea for Thanksgiving!

Mini Yorkshire puddings, a great Thanksgiving tea table item. Image: FreeFoto.com

 Thanksgiving in San Jose is a very busy holiday time.  Stress levels can go through the roof, what with the struggling economy, the high unemployment, and the long hours that Silicon Valley workers put in at the job, on top of the general holiday activity.  This means that taking a break with a pot of tea is a very good idea!  Now is a good time to use your tea party pantry to ease some of that stress, as well as to take advantage of sales to re-stock!

In the Santa Clara Valley, people often turn the traditional Thanksgiving dinner into a potluck meal, in order to spread the cost between all the diners, but that’s not the only way of keeping costs down.  How about spreading the celebration through the week, having fewer dishes on the table on Thanksgiving day, but enjoying the other favorite flavors for meals throughout the holiday season?  Multiple, smaller celebrations, like afternoon tea, high tea, brunches and luncheons can take the place of regular breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus.

Orange, spice and cranberry flavors can be put into tea or scones as well as relish for the dinner table.  Gingerbread can be made into scones for brunch.  Pumpkin and apple are available as spreads for scones, crumpets or toast.  Turkey — leftovers from Thanksgiving day or even sliced deli meat — can be made into tea sandwiches or individually-sized meat pies, which are easy to make with purchased pie dough and fillings of ground meat and/or vegetables.  They can be baked in small baking cups, like Shepherd’s Pie, or in turnover or empanada form.  Pumpkins and butternut squash, potatoes, and corn can be made into soups, savory puddings and fritters.  Even those black olives from the relish tray can be put into savory scones.

Pumpkin and apple pies can be made in cupcake pans or mini muffin pans to make individual finger food-style tarts perfect for a tea party.  Maple and spice cookies can be found in San Jose’s grocery stores, as well as created from scratch.  And last, but certainly not least, tea blends with holiday flavors, both in tea bags and loose leaf form, are available in local supermarkets as well as Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Satori Tea Bar.  Celebrating with tea will go a long way towards making this Thanksgiving a more relaxing, more thankful holiday!

Copyright 2011, Elizabeth Urbach.

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Filed under Holiday, Menus, Party Ideas, Tea, Tips