Friday, October 28, 2011

The Simple Joy of Cream Tea

"Cream tea, a simpler version of afternoon tea, calls only for scones, jam, clotted or Devonshire cream, and tea. This is a much less elaborate tea to plan for guests." -- Scones & Tea

Wednesdays afternoons are always hectic at our house. With a short window of time for completing homework, accomplishing household chores and eating supper before leaving the house for our mid-week Bible study, the schedule does not allow for much down time. And this week our itinerary was even more full because we needed to pick up shoes for Carson on our way to church. Most Wednesdays we scurry through our to-do list, but this week everything was in place for a mid-week pick-me-up.

Over the weekend, the girls and I travelled to Bowling Green, Ky., for a ladies day at the Greenwood Park Church of Christ. We had such a wonderful visit, and our sisters at Greenwood Park sent us home with the beautiful teapot pictured above.

While we were in Kentucky and Carson was away on a youth retreat, Joe and Christian enjoyed a rare father-son weekend. They were kind enough to include a special errand for me in their boys weekend: a stop at Smith-Byrd House in Prattville Saturday to meet TeaTime Editor Lorna Reeves and pick up signed copies of her new book, Scones & Tea. Joe also picked up a delicious surprise: frozen scones from Smith-Byrd's tea room. Baked straight from the freezer at 425 degrees, within minutes we had piping hot, delicious scones. This was such an effortless way to enjoy cream tea on a busy afternoon, I plan to purchase frozen scones each time I visit the tea room. Above, see the flavors we sampled: cinnamon, pumpkin and ginger pear.

The children enjoyed vanilla cream with their scones (beat heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form, then add vanilla and confectioners sugar to taste and beat until stiff). I still had homemade apple butter in my refrigerator, leftover from our latest book club meeting, so I served it alongside our scones as well. My children don't care for apple butter, but I thought the spicy sweetness was a wonderful complement to our scone selection.

A bouquet of white carnations -- on clearance at the grocery store for less than $3 -- added softness to our tea table.

And hot tea served in our wedding china, Noritake Chandon, was perfect with our scones. Surprisingly, my boys love hot tea and my girls often request another beverage instead of tea. But Wednesday, everyone wanted hot tea. I guess we all needed our teacups filled during that busy day.

Wednesday's cream tea literally took minutes to prepare and about 15 minutes to share. But it was amazing how refreshing it was to pause in the midst of the busyness of the afternoon to spend a few quiet moments in simple pleasure. I will bear this in mind in weeks to come, remembering that within a few sips, a mid-week cream tea can take us from "Hump Day" to "Peak of the Week."

Be sure to visit yesterdays post to get your name in the teacup for a signed copy of Scones & Tea!

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