Last fall when they cancelled the State Fair and the Balloon Fiesta, it was sad. Lots of tourists were not going to see New Mexico at its best. They cancelled prom, and church, and restaurants of all kinds. It was also sad. But they really stepped in it when they cancelled the Moriarty Historical Museum’s annual tea party! It was, “Ahhhhhhhhhh, serious tragedy!” It was the worst—I had bought a new hat! You see, each time the event was held, there was a different theme, decorations and entertainment. It was a real joy. A lot of thought, planning and hard work went into it, and the event is always a place where friends meet and everyday cares are washed away with “a cuppa.”
I won’t go into a long history, but we can thank our British cousins for the custom of having tea. People there only had two meals a day, an early breakfast, and a late supper in 1840, when the Duchess of Bedford is credited with inventing afternoon tea because she got hungry waiting for dinner. It should really be called “tea with snacks.” Having an afternoon tea is not just to fill an empty tummy, but also expresses a way of life. We like to try new things. So far, the food at the Moriarty High Tea has been wonderful; I even bought their cookbook. It is a joy to read and remember the good times.
Going to a high tea implies a dress and (super fancy) hat for ladies, and a vest and long coat, with a bowler hat, for gentlemen. Or you can all wear kilts and make sure you check your “sgian-dubh” knife at the door. Moriarty’s Tea is very well attended, and often sold out. It was an event the entire valley looked forward to with delight. Hopefully, it will be on again this fall!
Thirty years ago, when I taught at Estancia High, I would ask the senior young ladies to come to my home and bring their mothers for tea. Since I only had sons who did not wear skirts (until the older one got married in a kilt), it was a thrill to have the girls in their lovely frocks and hats. It is not enough to miss High Tea; it is time to act. I now suggest a private spring tea for just a few friends. We can design “tea masks” and make it part of the event.
Here is the menu:
Sandwiches: 1. Spread Pimento cheese on sourdough bread, crusts cut off. 2. Skin, de-seed, and thinly slice a cucumber, put on crustless white bread. First, spread softened cream cheese, then add fresh cilantro leaves and finally lay the cucumbers. Cut on the diagonal. 3. Curried tuna on rye bread, no crusts, served open-faced with a green olive on top. One 7 or 8 oz. pouch of tuna packed in water, drain well. Add to tuna half a cup of real mayonnaise, one can of water chestnuts finely chopped, one tablespoon chopped white onion, one teaspoon lemon juice, one teaspoon of soy sauce, one teaspoon curry powder. Mix well and leave covered overnight in the fridge. Serve on rye bread, no crusts. The British apparently really hated crusts.
Last, a small bunch of lightly cooked asparagus, dry and wrapped with thinly sliced ham. Next wrap the ham bundle in Pillsbury Croissant rolls. Put on a baking sheet and cook till brown. Serve with brown mustard to dip. Remember this is good finger food, so don’t make them too large. Cover all sandwiches with plastic wrap.
Dessert: Luscious lemon cream, made by taking lemon pudding and adding Cool Whip, and serving with fresh strawberries to dip. Make a pan of brownies, and top with mint chocolate frosting. Cut small bites. Make Earl Grey tea to start, with milk and sugar, and then next, a light herbed tea with honey. Make sure your water is boiling to make the tea. If you have a tea cozy, cover the teapot to keep warm, or toss a towel over it. Speak well, drink well, and enjoy the lazy style of a spring tea. You might want to add a little prayer with a toast for those not with us. Even the Queen lost her true love. We all can use a little tea and sympathy. Roaring Mouse, putting the kettle on. Out.