[Sca-cooks] Queens Tea

lilinah at earthlink.net lilinah at earthlink.net
Mon Jan 28 19:51:04 PST 2013

sassyredhead39 at yahoo.com wrote:
> I will be hosting my first Queens Tea in April. I am looking for some ideas...what have 
> you done for a Tea...what worked what didn't...period foods...elegant foods...mixture of 
> foods?? All ideas welcome!

Trying to replace the phrase "Queen's Tea" or "Princess's Tea" seems extremely difficult, even though tea was not drunk in Europe or the Middle East within SCA period. I will be happy to accept any of several other suggestions that have been broached in my own Kingdom and no longer hear such mini-social events with food called "Tea".

Is there a particular time or cultural focus for the "Tea", the larger event surrounding it, or your Royals?

Is your "Tea" held indoors or outdoors? What is the nature of the event as a whole?

Where i live nearly all our Kingdom level events, and most of our Principality events, are outdoors, so foods need to be pre-prepared for the most part, and need to keep from, say, Friday night to Saturday afternoon without spoiling.

Are there servers? Or will guests be helping themselves modern buffet style?

If modern buffet style, foods need to be in small portions, preferably pre-made, or else sliced or cut before serving. And, of course, you will need serving dishes.

Will guests be bringing their own feast gear? Will you be supplying paper plates? Or something else?

Is this something of an after-lunch event? Or will some people be likely to have missed lunch?

This will determine if it is to be mostly sweets or a mix of sweet and savory. Depending on the weather, fresh fruit might be a nice addition. Whole fruits (things like apples, pears, oranges, etc.) are a bit much, so it is nice if they are cut into smaller pieces. Bathing apples and pears in lemon juice or a citric acid solution will keep them from oxidizing and turning a less-appealing brown.

How will beverages be served? Pitchers? Larger beverage dispensers with a spigot toward their bottoms?

I would recommend having plenty of nice clean water and some light fruity beverages. Tea would be very inappropriate and coffee only made it to Istanbul in the mid-16th c. and not to Europe until the 17th c., so it, too, is inappropriate if you want to provide only period foods. While not typically European as far as i know, beverages made from fruit syrups (sharbat) were served warm in al-Andalus (which was, after all, in Europe) if you feel the need for hot beverages.

Are you providing cups? Or are people expected to bring their own?

Is is pot-luck style, or is a select group of individuals bringing food, or is a particular group like a cooks' guild preparing the food?

The 16th century has recipes for cookie-like items, usually called small cakes. There are other things that can be made in individual molds - press in some pie crust dough, fill with chosen filling, bake, cool, serve.

I like to bring savory tarts for which there are many period recipes - these are generally composed of eggs, cheese, and fresh greens and/or herbs. I purchased a pie slicer, which makes cutting even-sized pieces easy - these are metal rings with either 6 or 8 "blades" attached - you just press it into the pie and voila! Or bake in a rectangular pan and cut in small rectangles.

Urtatim (that's oor-tah-TEEM)

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