Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Victorian Mourning Tea [Halloween]

When I worked at Tea by Three tea room, Victorian Mourning was the theme of one year's Halloween Tea.

Jackie, the guest speaker, is pictured below wearing a Victorian mourning outfit.  She is a re-enactor and has her own vintage costume business, Past Reflections.   
Victorian mourning fashion was aimed mainly at women, widows in particular, for a minimum of two years and up to four years, and some widows wore black for the rest of their lives.  For the first year and one day [referred to as deep or full mourning], a woman was not allowed to exit her home without full black attire and a weeping veil of black crepe.  Mourning crepe was a hazardous material of either silk or wool, and caused respiratory problems and sometimes blindness since it was in close contact with the eyes for long periods of time.  Mourning garb was entirely black, including undergarments, and  since arsenic was used in black dye,  mourners were often poisoned when it was absorbed into their skin.   Yikes!

Guests were offered a glass of hot spiced cider upon their arrival to the tea room.
The menu was:  Ghostly Apple Cinnamon Scones with Cinnamon Butter; Wicked Witch Pumpkin Soup; Quirky Quiche; Spider Broccoli Salad; Skeleton Calzone; Curry Chicken Balls; and Pumpkin Roll.
Curry Chicken Balls
6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tbsp. orange marmalade
2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
3 cups cooked white chicken meat, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. minced onion
3 Tbsp. minced celery
1 cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped
In mixing bowl combine first 5 ingredients.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in chicken, onion, and celery.  Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in almonds.  Chill for two days or freeze up to one month.  Yield: 42 balls
To toast almonds:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toast in oven for 5 minutes. 


  1. How fun to have Jackie speaking about mourning clothes. I would thoroughly enjoy her presentation. Thanks also for the recipe, it sounds really good.

  2. Wow, that's quite an outfit! I never knew about the arsenic in black dye. And your menu sounds spookily delicious. :-)

  3. What an interesting (and tragic) piece of social history! Beautiful outfit, though!

  4. A fun topic, and I'm very grateful we're not held to these standards today!

  5. Aren't you glad we no longer have to follow such customs! And what a great idea/theme for a tea!


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