I LOVE all things Austen and one of my favorite authors is Linore Rose Burkard who writes “Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul.” Linore has been kind enough to share some articles with us about the Austen-era. I hope you love them as much as I do!
Hosting an English Tea with your book club can be a fun and tasty way to liven up your next meeting. If you need recipe ideas, visit www.LinoreRoseBurkard.com for a free resource called “Regency Recipes.” Ideally, try to get several group members to volunteer and bake or bring an appropriate “goodie” for the Tea. Great examples include scones, English biscuits (ie., cookies), a tea cake, plus anything you like, will do, so long as there is a fun array to choose from.
Consider the following ideas as optional. Depending on how authentic or fancy you want to be, choose whatever will help you meet your goal of creating a fun historical experience. You’ll find more ideas below than you need. But, don’t worry, a teapot and something tasty to drink is the bare necessity, along with an English tea. After that, it’s all icing.
* Ask for a volunteer to bring a fancy tablecloth; lace, faux lace, even vinyl lace, or any white or light-colored cloth. Damask, sateen, or a lace cloth over a dark one are all pretty. Avoid a loud or colourful print as it will detract from the beauty of your elegant teapots and accessories.
* Make your party a “bring your own” favourite tea cup and saucer. The daintier and prettier, the better. Make sure that if someone doesn’t have their own to bring, that there will be extras for use.
* Same for teapots. Avoid using one large, boring stainless steel urn. If someone happens to own an elegant tea urn, wonderful. If not, most women hang on to a pretty teapot or two. This is the perfect occasion to take them out and put them to good use!
* Use linen or fancy white napkins.
* Sugar and cream should be served from a handsome set, never the containers they are bought in.
* An old-fashioned epergne would sit well in the middle of the table (see picture on LinoreRoseBurkard.com). However, a modern three-tiered dessert server can be substituted quite satisfactorily.
* If evening gloves are available (and this is just for fun) wear them when pouring your tea. You’ll be amazed at what a different feeling this will lend to the whole affair!
* A small dish of lemon slices is fine to have on hand
The most important element of the affair is to have fun, to enjoy some light refreshments, fellowship, and a good book discussion. If preparations for the tea get troublesome, forget the idea of doing it up pretty, or elegantly, and just make some tea! Serve a store-bought cake, relax and enjoy!
What to Serve:
For groups who wish to be more authentic, serve an English brand of tea. If you have the time and inclination, there are English stores in the US, and if one isn’t near you, you can mail-order supplies. A few resources are listed below for your convenience.
Your browser may not support display of this image. Suggested teas:
* English Breakfast
* Earl Grey
* Lady Grey
* English biscuits
* A tea cake
* Seed cakes
* An English Trifle
* Your browser may not support display of this image. Strawberry or Raspberry or Blackberry Jam
* Real Cream
* A Fruit Salad
Mail Order Sites for English Goods:
Once everyone is seated and taken their first choice of refreshment, enjoy discussing my Regency romance novels. You can find questions in the back of the book, or visit the Reader Resources page of my website.
About the Author:
Linore Rose Burkard writes Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul. Her characters take you back in time to experience life and love during the Regency in England (circa 1800 – 1830). Ms. Burkard’s novels include Before the Season Ends and The House in Grosvenor Square (coming April, 2009). Her stories blend Christian faith and romance with well-researched details from the Regency. Experience a romantic age, where timeless lessons still apply to modern life. And, enjoy a romance that reminds you happy endings are possible for everyone. For more information, visit: www.LinoreRoseBurkard.com