Tea and Poetry Tea Party

The next tea party theme here at Tea in my Cup is in honor of April’s National Poetry Month. Invite your friends who write their own poetry and those who simply enjoy reading poetry to share their favorite poems at this tea.

Ask everyone to read a poem while you serve the tea and some great tasting tea treats. You can limit poems to those from a particular poet, from one country or period of time or to one style of poetry. Or allow any poem under the sun.

Have your guests send you their poem in advance so that you can make up a little booklet of all the poems from the tea party. This makes a great take-home favor. Any office supply store will bind the pages for an extra fancy presentation. Don’t forget to add the date and the name of your tea, something like Alice’s Tea and Poetry, April 20, 2008.

When I think of a poetry reading, I imagine a salon from the 1920s. Decorate for the Tea and Poetry Tea Party with items from that time. Pull out all your art deco items and anything with rounded edges. Seat your guests in your living room. Bring in any wicker or rattan chairs and tables you might have. Cover small round tables with scarves as they did in the ’20s. Ferns and other large plants instead of flower arrangements also help set the mood. And peacock feathers! What’s a salon without peacock feathers.

While the soup, salad and scones are to be served at the small tables in the living room, the savory and sweet courses are served at the dining room table after the readings. Decorate the table with stacks of poetry books, ink pens and pots, maybe an old style typewriter, whatever says 1920 to you. A simple white tablecloth will look good with your vintage dishes.

Have music playing when the guests arrive and after the poetry readings but not during. That would be too distracting. Ravel, Satie or Debussy will enhance the mood of this tea party.

Since poetry is the theme of this tea, I’ve chosen food that the poet Neruda has written about. You’ll see that I’ll include a line or two of one of his Odes with each recipe.

The menu starts with French Onion Soup served in small bowls. Don’t forget to hand out big napkins!

Next serve a simple salad with Spring Greens. Fresh veggies just coming into stores and don’t need a lot of enhancement.

Warm Orange Scones should be passed around the room in a pretty basket. Orange marmalade and clotted cream top them off.

For the savory course, offer open-faced sandwiches of Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil. Corn Muffins stuffed with a Spicy Mustard Ham are delicious. And Twice Baked New Potatoes, eaten in two bites, will be a favorite with your guests.

Don’t forget dessert! Serve an Apple Tart done the French way, Honey Madeleines and Watermelon Fruit Salad.

Golden Monkey is a delicious tea that your guests will certainly enjoy. Some people like to use milk and sugar in their tea and Golden Monkey will hold up to that. Since this party will probably take place in the evening, you might consider offering a decaffeinated tea too. You can do that yourself, no need to buy a special decaf tea.

To help you get in the mood for a Poetry and Tea Party:
Steam rises from a cup of tea
and we are wrapped in history,
inhaling ancient times and lands,
comfort of ages in our hands.
--Faith Greenbowl

Individual recipes start next time!