How to Throw a Tea Party the Practical Cook Way

Gentle Readers, though the holidays provide innumerable reasons to gather friends and family near, sometimes one needs a little nudge. This post is mildly out of season, as we have been quite busy covering other ground, but it all started with a summer dress. Sometimes, you buy a tea party dress, and you need to throw a tea party to go with it.

Let there be tea cake!

Let there be tea cake!

How to Throw a Practical Tea Party

1. Clean the house. Hostessing is both great incentive to actually clean the house, and possibly the number one barrier to people actually doing so. Send the invites out first, and thus shame yourself into cleaning. Deadlines, people. It works every time.

Take time for a proper cup of tea.

Take time for a proper cup of tea.

2. Use the good china (and wear the good dress). What pray tell are you saving it for if not now? This is a life quest of mine, take the covers of the formal living room of the 1970s, throw open the silver chest, and remove the silverfish from the Wedgwood.

Sandwiches, fruit, and brownies on a fancy tiered platter.

Sandwiches, fruit, and brownies on a fancy tiered platter.

3. Keep the food simple and elegant. Try for a make half, buy half rule if you’re concerned. Mixed nuts, interesting cheese and crackers, and grapes fill up space in a snap. Make a few tea sandwiches: cucumber and cream cheese, pimento cheese (Southern tea party in the house!), peanut butter and jelly for the young set, hummus and a strip of red pepper. Bake a cake. Add chocolate. Done.

Variety is the spice of tea life.

Variety is the spice of tea life.

4. Make two types of tea, at least. If you don’t have a teapot, try the thrift store or borrow an extra one or two. Don’t skimp on the heavy cream either. This is a tea party people, make one black and one herbal, or one caffeinated and one not (especially if I’m in attendance). Just make them different and enjoy.

Platter of figs and prosciutto.

Platter of figs and prosciutto.

5. Focus on the people.The best part of hosting and attending a tea party, there’s no obligation other than sparkling wit: no presents to buy, no pressure at all. The Practical Cooks Junior were delighted to dress up and participate in such a grown-up affair; they were a key part of the hospitality team. Tea parties are good for all ages!

Tea Party Dresses!

Tea Party Dresses!

So when is your next tea party? (We’ll be serving holiday cookies at ours. Just need to find the dress . . .) Post your tea party ideas and suggestions below!

Send your hostess gifts and invites to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, Deconstructed Dessert: Apple Pie a la Mode in a Cone.



Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, Punt!

4 responses to “How to Throw a Tea Party the Practical Cook Way

  1. Complicated Vegetarian

    CV family says thank you to the hostesses with the mostestes. A lovely dainty time, followed by the “now it’s time to put on a show” afterparty. Who can disagree?

  2. Carolyn

    Love this, PC! Brings me back to my best friend and I growing up having frequent tea parties! When I was her maid of honor, we threw a giant one for her shower. Can’t wait to be able to use real dishes with my small one for tea parties. Thanks!

    • The Practical Cook

      Thank you for sharing, that is so cool! We used some slightly sturdier cups for the little ones, found at the thrift shop. That way, you don’t feel the loss quite as much when the inevitable happens. 🙂

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