Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Mother and Son Tea Outing

I didn't grow up in a tea drinking family - although it's rather unusual that I didn't.  My maternal grandfather was Irish.   His family migrated from Ireland to Canada, and later to Michigan.  According to the Tea Association of the U.S.A., the Irish hold the record for consuming more tea on a per capita basis than any other nationality -- nearly four cups per day.  My 90 year old mother recalls an enamel-like teapot that always sat on top of the coal/wood burning stove in their living room ready to yield a cup of Salada tea at a moment's notice. 

Yet in her own home, there was only the occasional glass of iced tea in the summertime or hot tea when she was ill.   I grew up thinking hot tea was medicinal and shied away from it for many years never giving it a try.   I do remember, however, the childhood pretend tea parties.  All little girls seem to have those instinctively.

I regret all the years I didn't realize how enjoyable tea could be [to say nothing of its health benefits], and that I didn't expose my children to its pleasures and civility in their younger years.  By the time I came to love and appreciate tea, two of my three children had grown up and left home.    I can't change the past, but I strive to share the joys of tea with them now.

For three  summers in recent years our family vacationed in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  The first summer, my oldest son, Steve, offered to take me to Charleston for Afternoon Tea at the Charleston Place Hotel, in historic downtown.   It was a 2 1/2 hour drive but worth every minute.

Charleston Place Hotel - 205 Meeting Street

Steve - 2007

The hotel's beautiful interior.

We had reservations for 2:30 p.m.   Afternoon Tea was served in the Thoroughbred Club.

Steve's first Afternoon Tea experience and he's smiling.   That's a good thing!   The Thoroughbred Club was the perfect setting for putting a guy at ease.  We each ordered "The Charleston Classic."

Our tea was Harney & Son's Peach Ginger Twist.  Our server brought each course to our table separately rather than using tiered servers.  The first course consisted of three savories [all open-faced sandwiches]:  Shrimp on a French baguette; a sieved egg salad garnished with a slice of hard-boiled egg;  and a thin sliced cucumber and tomato.  Second course was a crumpet and two "silver-dollar" sized currant scones per person, served with fresh strawberries and blueberries.  Whipped cream, lemon curd and individual jars of Davidson's jam accompanied the scones.   Lastly was the dessert course, with five pastries per person: a chocolate eclair filled with orange cream;  a strawberry tart; a chocolate shell filled with green tea mousse; an Italian macaroon [half dipped in chocolate]; and a citrus tea cake [cookie].

Steve was such a good sport and drank tea and ate tea food, and didn't even stop at a drive-thru for "man food" on the way back to the condo!

It was a great afternoon and priceless memory.  Thanks, Steve!

P.S.  Steve is a Minister.  I told him my blogging is a bit like his preaching - the family never knows when they're going to show up in a blog post or a sermon!


  1. What a wonderful son! And a great memory for you both.

  2. What a wonderful memory you created that day!

  3. How special for your son to take the time for tea in Charleston with you!


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