Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Happy Paczki Day!

Today is Fat Tuesday - the day before lent begins.  Did you have your Paczki [pronounced poonch-key] today - polish donuts with 400-425 calories [or more].  I saw online that lovers of the jelly-filled donut began lining up at 5:00 a.m. at Hamtramck bakeries.  As for me, I refrained - trying to shed a few pounds and eat healthy.

I recently ordered a pound of Harney & Sons organic green tea with Citron and Ginkgo.  It is so good and my 'go to' tea right now.  Green tea is said to boost metabolism, and ginkgo contains antioxidants.

I don't remember how I stumbled onto a new tea book online, but I ordered a copy and it arrived a few days ago.   I'm anxious to read through it.  It's from Palais des Th├ęs.

They enclosed three delicious teas in gauze bags - 1 black tea and two green.  My favorite was green tea with berries, although the tea pictured below is a delicate floral green tea with notes of rose, raspberry and lychee.  The wrapper said the blend is as refined as a Parisian woman!

Last Sunday [February 23rd] was my monthly presentation at the assisted living facility.  I took a picture of the table that was set when I arrived.  I forgot to take a picture after the residents came.  The theme was Million Dollar American Princesses, Part II.   I ordered another book on the subject which ended up being my favorite of the four I bought.  If this is a fascinating subject for you, I highly recommend the book.

Consuelo Vanderbilt is on the cover.  She wasn't hunting for a husband. She had already found a man she loved here in America, but her mother, Alva, was determined to have her marry into British aristocracy.  She married the 9th Duke of Marlborough, which was an unhappy, loveless marriage, but her sizable dowry enabled the Duke to restore Blenheim Palace to the glory that still exists today.  In my three visits to England, I've never visited Blenheim Palace, but it's on my bucket list for a return visit.

As you can see from the above assisted living photo, the tea they provide for the residents is very basic.  It's really similar to a cream tea with a pastry instead of scones and not an Afternoon Tea at all.  It's basic because the residents have just had lunch and aren't hungry for more than a dessert and cup of tea [or coffee].  Since we've just finished studying New York's elite society in the late 1800's/early 1900's I think it would be so nice to plan a 'real' Afternoon Tea for them.  I'm seriously considering volunteering to take on the task.  Will keep you posted.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Valentine's Celebration at The Whitney

Surprisingly, there were only two guests who came to The Whitney for Afternoon Tea on Friday when Valentine's Day was actually celebrated, but we had 18 attendees for Mary Jones' "Aphro-Tea-Siac" tea yesterday at noon, and another 12 guests at 2:00 p.m.  Mary Jones is the proprietary tea blender for The Whitney.   I don't normally work on Saturdays, but I assisted Mary.

The tea was held in the formal dining room of The Whitney.  

Mary shared her love story with the guests, and one of the teas we served was Red Bird, an herbal she blended in his honor.

The guests all seemed to enjoy themselves.  We also served Strawberry Carmel Rose black tea.  I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the four different food courses.

When the regularly scheduled Afternoon Tea began at 2:00 o'clock, I was delighted to see two friends of mine from the church I used to attend - Bill & Suzanne Burke.  They had their wedding reception at The Whitney.

Suzanne posted her pics on Facebook, so I'm reposting them here.

The restaurant was gearing up for a lot of Saturday night diners, so I was happy to leave at 4:30 p.m. and enjoy a quiet, leisure evening at home.  26 guests are scheduled for Afternoon Tea tomorrow - President's Day.  

Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day!

Another Valentine's Day has rolled around.  Hope you're feeling the love from your loved ones today.

I woke up this morning to a box of Chocolate Covered Cherries [my favorite candy] and a beautiful card from my hubby. [The flowers in the background are from my birthday over a week ago and they're still beautiful.]  

Below is my hubby's and my first Valentine's Day picture taken in 1963.  I was in the 10th grade and he was in the 11th - just kids!  He brought me a dozen long-stemmed red roses.

 Valentine's Day 2020.  What a difference 57 years makes - no resemblance whatsoever!   ;-)

~ We had a great dinner at Carrabbas ~

Can you believe the size of this slice of cannoli cake for two.  It was almost a quarter of a cake!  We brought most of it home to savor tomorrow.

Last year on this day, at 11:00 a.m., we were celebrating the marriage of Dave and Lori [our daughter].  The wedding ceremony was at our house.  Happy first anniversary, Dave and Lori!  I baked them a carrot cake.  It's Dave's favorite cake and what I made for the luncheon following their ceremony.

Lori went to visit her daughter, Tiffany, and her two sweet little granddaughters, Evie and Juliette, this week, and I sent a little Valentine's package with her for the little girls.  Lori texted some pics after the girls opened the package.  As a last minute thought I bought a fun Valentine headband to stick in the package and I think the girls liked it.

Tiffany sent me two pics taken today of Evie and Juliette wearing the outfits I sent.  Aren't the girls precious!

Love my daughter, two daughters-in-law, six granddaughters, one granddaughter-in-law, and two great-granddaughters!  [Not to exclude my two sons, one son-in-law, two grandsons and one grandson-in-law.]

Our son, Jeremy, took his little sweetheart, Ellie, to the Daddy/Daughter dance last Saturday.

A surprise package arrived in the mail a couple of days ago from a sweet lady who follows my blog in Fort Worth, Texas.  She recently visited Chip & Joanna Gaines restaurant in Waco, Texas and bought me a tea towel to add to my collection.  Thank you, Frieda!

Wishing everyone a Happy Valentine's Day and heartfelt thanks for taking the time to be a supportive reader of my blog.  Love and hugs to all!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Servant's Life at Meadow Brook

Yesterday my girlfriend, Sandy, and I spent a delightful afternoon at Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester, MI.  It's the home of Matilda Dodge Wilson, formerly the wife of John Dodge [automobile magnate] who died in 1920.  She married Alfred Wilson in 1925 and they built and moved into Meadow Brook Hall in November 1929.  The Wilson's gave the mansion and property to Oakland University who make it available for public tours and events.

If you've followed my blog for any length of time you know I've blogged about Meadow Brook several times [8 to be exact], but I haven't visited the mansion since March 2016 - too long!  

I've gone on a "Behind the Scenes" tour a couple of times but never blogged about it because photography wasn't permitted.  When I read about the "Servant's Life Tour", it was different so I decided to go. 

Sandy and I entered the mansion from the servant's side entrance.  The hour and a half tour began at 11:30 a.m.  We were escorted by a volunteer in maid's attire to the servant's dining room where we filled out a fictitious employment application.   We were told the date was February 8, 1930 - a few weeks after the family moved in.

A volunteer who went by the fictitious name of Mrs. Farley, portrayed the role of the head housekeeper, whose real name was Bernice Whitaker.  I hope Mrs. Whitaker wasn't as rigid as Mrs. Farley who is standing in front of the fire place in the servant's living room.

In the above photo Mrs. Farley was reading some of the applications.  I smiled when one of the men in attendance applied for the position of chauffeur, and said he had previously worked at The Whitney mansion in Detroit!  ;-)  Another fun question on the application was "Can you make a proper cup of tea?"

Since Sandy and I were one of the first to arrive, we had time to look around in the servant's living room.  I didn't see any signs that said no photography, and Mrs. Farley hadn't yet stated there'd be no pictures on the tour, so I took my liberties. I couldn't resist the television Mrs. Wilson provided for her servants with the tiny screen from the late 1940's.  I think that's a record player on the opposite side.

Below is one of the maid's uniforms, and in the display case on the table are examples of collars and cuffs that would have been worn on the uniform and soaps used for cleaning them.  Mrs. Wilson provided the uniforms that she ordered from Saks Fifth Avenue, but the maids were responsible for getting their own collars and cuffs.

I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture of the dining room.  A large rectangle table and sideboard were in the room.  The table could probably seat 12 servants when fully extended. There were 50 servants so they had to eat in shifts.   

Christmas was wonderful for the servants.  Mrs. Wilson personally set the table for their Christmas dinner with her good linens and china.  Everyone got a poinsettia for their room, and a turkey if they lived off site.

Above is a photo of some of the staff.  The servants worked 5 1/2 days a week, and their pay was based on the importance of their job.  There were no pay raises until after six months of employment.  The matriarchal system was used rather than patriarchal.  The only room in the mansion under male control was the dining room run by the butler.

Mrs. Wilson was in her office on Mondays between 11:00 - 12:00 for the servants to place supply orders needed for the following week. 

Each maid had their own private 9 x 11 bedroom with a sink, but they had to share bathrooms.  Mrs. Wilson's secretary had a three room suite [bedroom, private bathroom and sitting room] on the same floor as Mrs. Wilson, but in the opposite wing from the family bedrooms.

When we finished the tour, tea and scones were served on the servants porch just off their living room.  [It has been enclosed and winterized since Mrs. Wilson lived in the mansion.]

The price of the event was $35 and well worth it.

A volunteer played the role of the head butler [of which there were two].  Like his counterpart, Mrs. Farley, he shared a lot of interesting information.

In addition to two butlers, there was one head housekeeper, one nanny, two chauffeurs, one head cook [over time Mrs. Wilson had three ladies who filled that role - one German, one Danish, and one French].  There were no valets - Mr. Wilson and sons Danny and Richard dressed themselves.  Mrs. Wilson had a Ladies' Maid who was also her close confidant. There were two housemen [maintenance workers], a head gardener, a switchboard operator, and a kennel manager [the family raised Pekingese dogs].

Two volunteers in the flower room located in the servant's area.  

The maid on the right [above photo] escorted us from the servant's area down the long hall [pictured below] to the gift shop.

I purchased a tin of tea.  There were two choices: Earl Grey and English Breakfast.   It is blended for Meadow Brook by Oliver Pluff & Co. of Charleston, S.C.

Then Sandy and I left through the main entrance of the mansion.  If you live in the area and like history, I highly recommend this tour.  Sandy and I really enjoyed it.

And last but not least, I have to show you the cute pair of socks Sandy brought me!

Friday, February 7, 2020

Celebrating a Birthday

Yesterday at 10:25 a.m. my biological odometer officially rolled over another year.  The  birthdays seem to come faster and faster every year, but I'm very grateful God gave me another birthday to celebrate.

It was a quiet day at home.  I didn't have to work because only two ladies came in for Afternoon Tea, so a server took care of them.  The weather was wintry, so I was glad I didn't have to make the drive to downtown Detroit.

One of the servers at The Whitney shares the same birthday as me so I made a chocolate mound cake to take to work today when we were both there.

I mentioned on my Facebook page that I had to think long and hard about taking a homemade cake to work because our pastry chef turns out masterpieces, but I decided I'm not a pastry chef so I can't be critiqued as such.  Below is Annie and me with the cake.  She loved it and so did our co-workers!

I received lots of cards, phone calls, e-mails, texts and Facebook wishes.  If one came from you, thank you very much.  I felt the love!  

I also received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from a sweet lady and her family.  I affectionately call her my adopted daughter, and she's actually the same age as my daughter.

We met my son, Steve, daughter-in-law, Sharon, and granddaughter, Brooke at Red Lobster for a birthday dinner.

And now another year begins!  

Sunday, February 2, 2020

February 1st Tea Party

Yesterday my girlfriend, Lori, and I drove over to Northville [about 33 miles west of where I live] to attend a tea sponsored by the Northville Historical Society.  It was the perfect way to begin a new month!  

The tea was very well attended and looked like a sell-out.  Lori and I sat with two delightful sisters, Janice and Sharon, and enjoyed visiting with them.  Turns out Janice used to come to The Whitney when she worked for the Visiting Nurses Association when they occupied the mansion [before it became a restaurant].

It was a lovely tea meal catered by Vicky O'Neil.

This is actually the seventh time I've blogged about one of Northville's teas, and they're always fun to attend.  I've had the privilege of being a presenter there three times.

Below was my place setting.  Our favors were a teapot shaped chocolate cookie and a heart shaped box of Russell Stover chocolates, very appropriate since Valentine's Day is right around the corner.

The tiered server before we dismantled it.

The four savories [in case they're too difficult to read on the above menu] were Chicken Salad with Cherries on Cinnamon Raisin Bread; Turkey with Basil & Parmesan Mayo on Light Rye Bread; Cucumber w/Dilly Cream Cheese on Italian Bread; and Craisin Pecan Cream Cheese Herb Wrap.  The tea was Cady Inn Decaf Raspberry Black Tea - their signature blend.

I missed taking a picture of the White & Chocolate Chip Cream Scone.   Desserts were Blueberry Sour Cream Pound Mini-Cupcake, Raspberry Tart, and Cream Cheese & Coconut Macaroon.

Following the tea, we walked the short distance to the church for the program Million Dollar American Princesses.

Pam Craig was the presenter and she gave a great presentation.  I've been reading up on the subject for presentations of my own, so I know she was spot on and very thorough.  The program was just a little over an hour and she talked about six ladies who traded their father's cash for class and European titles.  I enjoyed her presentation.

After the program we walked over to the gift shop.  Amy, one of my blog followers, attended the event with some of her friends, and we took a couple of pictures.

Amy's friend, Julie, [pictured below] will be attending a tea I'm going to next Saturday, so I'll see her again soon.

It was a deliciously enjoyable and educational afternoon spent with great people!