By Chef Jill McCollum, CC

Tea Party Ideas

Mother/Daughter Club: Start a Mother/Daughter Tea Club-Gather together once a month and use special teacups, teapots, and linens along with several types of tea and finger foods. Introduce a different theme each month that interests women of all ages: fashion, health, gardening, etc. It's a beautiful time to enjoy each other.
Tea Break at Work: Surprise your co-workers with a tea break. Bring sandwiches, cookies, scones, and a special teapot for a break from the ordinary.
Tea and Cookies: Have everyone bring their favorite batch of cookies and display them on fine china platters.

Tea Party Etiquette:
This is a great time to teach young ladies about etiquette. To stir your tea, swish the tea back and forth, never hitting the sides of the cup. Never leave the spoon in the cup, but gently rest the spoon on the saucer, behind the cup on the right side under the cup handle. Drink your tea by lifting the saucer and cup together, with the saucer in one hand, and cup in the other.
I want to say a special thank you to my mom, Nancy Bingham for letting me come in and "take over" her china area to take these pictures. As I was headed out the door, she was planning another one of her famous tea parties for a group of CBC college girls! Thanks, mom!

Curried Chicken Tea Sandwiches

2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1 medium unpeeled red apple, chopped
¾ cup dried cranberries
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup thinly sliced celery
¼ cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
34 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lime juice
½ teaspoon curry powder
12 slices bread
Lettuce leaves

In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Combine mayonnaise, lime juice, and curry powder; add to the chicken mixture and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut each slice of bread with a 3 inch cookie cutter of your choice. Top with lettuce and chicken salad.

Italian Wedding Cookies

1 ½ cups butter
¾ cup confectioners' sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups finely ground almonds
4 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter in a bowl, gradually add confectioners' sugar and salt. Beat until light and fluffy. Add almonds and vanilla. Blend in flour gradually and mix well. Shape into balls or crescents using about 1 teaspoon for each cookie. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes. Do not brown, cool slightly, then roll in extra confectioners' sugar.

Hot Cranberry Tea

3 ½ quarts water
1 (12 ounce) package cranberries
2 cups white sugar
2 oranges, juiced
2 lemons, juiced
12 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks

In a large pot, combine water and cranberries. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Cover, and steep for 1 hour.