Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Pumpkin
By J. G. Whittier

Ah! On Thanksgiving Day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South come the pilgrim and guest,
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored,
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before,
What moistens the lip, and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?

O, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling;
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces were carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin, our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who traveled like steam
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

Then, thanks for thy present! - none sweeter or better
E'er smoked from an oven or circled a platter!
Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine,
Brighter eyes never watched o'er its baking than thine!
And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,
Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less,
That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,
And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,
And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky
Gold-tinted and fair as thine own pumpkin-pie!

I'll be away from the blogosphere for a wee bit but shall return next week.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 17, 2008

( Recipe and image from Martha

Makes about 8 dozen
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves, (from about 8 bags)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (8 ounce) sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

Whisk together flour, tea, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
Put butter, sugar, and zest in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; slowly mix in flour mixture until just combined.
Divide dough in half. Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper; shape into logs. Roll in parchment to 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log and force out air. Transfer in parchment to paper-towel tubes; freeze 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake until edges turn golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Time for Tea:Tea and conversation with thirteen English Women by Michele Rivers

Here is a delightful book about the customs and traditions of tea by English women from many different walks of life. This book would be a great Christmas gift for the tea enthusiast and ritualist. Thankfully, there are more than a few of us still left out there.

From the Inside Flap
Time for Tea offers a delightfully unique expression of why English society has so steadfastly preserved its teatime tradition. Thirteen English women, ranging in age from six to eighty, share their very candid and entertaining reflections on why the teatime ritual -- in all its incarnations -- is such an indelible fixture in their lives.

From Virginia, Lady Bath, to Winifred Westcott, a dairy farmer, from Anne Slade, a retired ballerina, to schoolgirl Hayley Richards, a farmer's daughter, we are treated to the surprisingly moving and engaging medley of these women's memories and dreams, as they discuss their own teatime traditions and their lives with us -- over a cup of tea.

The women also share their family teatime recipes for delicious cakes, scones, crumpets and jams, and suggest an appropriate tea to accompany them. Along the way, we explore the secrets of an English specialty tea shop, see the inside of a tea blender, learn how to brew a perfect pot of tea and how to make an authentic cream tea.

The women's stories are beautifully framed by spectacular photographs of the breathtaking English countryside, which perfectly complements the peace and serenity of a good English tea.

Monday, November 10, 2008

TEA SOCIETY LUNCHEON AT IRISH ACRES( LHTS members: Darleen Chamberlain,Polly Singer( visit Polly's wonderful website), Natalie Ferguson( owner of Zip Zip Vintage Sewing Blog), yours truly in the red wrap, and Mary Justice. Thank you, Maureen Burdon, for taking this photograph for us.)

Saturday afternoon, 5 members of The Ladies' Historical Tea Society and one guest enjoyed the exquisite ambiance of Irish Acres Gallery of Antiques and the delectable cuisine served at The Glitz Restaurant, housed in lower level of the facility. We have made this excursion an annual autumn ritual for our society. This unique place is always a very popular destination for those of us in Central Kentucky and beyond. A mere walk through the seemingly ordinary, yet very tall, front doors of this former school and you are transported into a virtual wonderland of exquisite beauty and feast for all the senses. For more information and photographs of this enchanted destination, click on the link in the following paragraph.

Irish Acres Gallery of Antiques displays 32,000 square feet of American and European furniture, glassware, china, crystal, silver, linens, dolls, jewelry, rugs, decorative accessories and International giftware. Irish Acres offers something for everyone, from the curious browser to the serious collector.

In closing, I must share what I had for lunch: Hungarian Mushroom Soup, Pistachio chicken stuffed with apples topped with a delicious chutney and served on top of basmati rice, and for dessert a slice of pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust covered with praline sauce. And last but not least, two cups of Earl Grey Tea. Heavenly!

Friday, November 07, 2008


Giovanni Boldini Italian, 1842 - 1931
Portrait of the Marchesa Luisa Casati, with a Greyhound
Date: 1908

The Marchesa Luisa Casati, who was born into a wealthy family of Lombard textile manufacturers, was renowned for her extravagance. The poet Gabriele d'Annunzio once claimed that she was the only woman capable of surprising him. Boldini is supposed to have first met her in Venice, when he helped her retrieve pearls from a seven-metre long necklace that had broken. She would parade though Venice dressed as a gondolier and accompanied by a cheetah on a leash.
(Source: 'Pre-Raphaelite and Other Masters: The Andrew Lloyd-Webber Collection')

A few weeks ago, we applied to adopt a Greyhound. We sent in our adoption application, finished our home visit with a representative on Sunday, and got the news last night that our application was approved. Now, the wait is on...The dogs presently in the adoption program did not fit all of our family needs( cat safe, child friendly, and companion for our aging Sheltie) so the search begins for that special one that we will welcome with open arms. Having been a former Greyhound owner, I am excited and thrilled beyond words that we will at long last be blessed with another of these most beautiful, kind and loving creatures. Of course, I couldn't let this post escape without applying some historical facts about this breed. Now, tea and Greyhounds?... I suggested if we adopt a male that we call him Earl Grey..How perfect is that? My husband wasn't as enchanted with that prospect as my son and I were so I suspect that one has been vetoed. For those of you who have read The Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs, you will note that the heroine/tea shop owner/super sleuth of the novels, Theodosia, does in fact have a dog named Earl Grey.

I will be chronicling all of our Greyhound adventures on another blog soon to be published as well as a few posts on this blog as well. For now, you may indeed find some of these facts below about this ancient breed very interesting.

1. Greyhounds are the only canine mentioned in the Bible (Proverbs 30:29-31) King James Version.

There be three things which go well, yea,
Which are comely in going;
A lion, which is strongest among beasts and
Turneth not away from any;
A greyhound;
A he-goat also.

2. Greyhounds are one of the oldest purebred dogs, dating back to the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. Paintings inside the tombs of the great Pyramids depicted greyhounds.

3. A law passed during the reign of King Canute stated that the destruction of a greyhound should carry the same capital punishment as the murder of a man.

4. At one time in England it was forbidden for commoners to own a greyhound.

5. General Custer was a greyhound fancier.

6. President Lincoln had a greyhound in his family coat-of-arms.

7. In 1804, Australia issued a proclamation ordering the destruction of all dogs except greyhounds and sheepdogs.

8. In 1886, Charles Frederick Holder assembled a pack of greyhounds and trained them to chase fox, jack rabbits and coyotes. The hunters rode in the style of English fox hunting, and Holder was instrumental in the formation of the Valley Hunt Club in Pasadena, California in 1888. In 1889, the Valley Hunt Club held a "beautiful fete" to show off their hounds and celebrates the ripening of the orange. The resulting event, the Orange Parade, ultimately became the Pasadena Festival of Roses and is now known as the Rose Parade.

9. The mythical Greek Goddess Diana is usually pictured with a greyhound at her side.

10.John Barrymore, the famous actor, always kept his house full of greyhounds as pets.

11.Bo Derek, the actress best known for such movies as 10 and Tarzan, owns several retired racing greyhounds and is a great advocate of greyhounds as pets.

12.For many, many years the Lincoln car had a greyhound as a hood ornament.

13.Greyhounds are the fastest breed of dog, reaching top speeds of 40 mph.

14.Greyhounds can see clearly for up to a half-mile.

15.Many people who are allergic to dogs are non-allergic to greyhounds due to their short hair, sleek coat and skin type (which has more oil to it, thus less dander.)

( Greyhound Facts from Greyhounds of Shamrock )

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


No matter how many different blends of teas I try, I always return to the timeless Earl Grey. This week, I wanted to pay homage to this comforting old friend with a little background information on the tea and the man. Some of which, is reportedly myth and legend...No wonder I have such a fascination with this blend. Twinings Earl Grey blend is reportedly Queen Elizabeth's favorite tea.

The Earl Grey blend is named after the 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister in the 1830s, who reputedly received a gift, probably a diplomatic perquisite, of tea flavoured with bergamot oil[1], taken from bergamot, a citrus fruit typical of southern Italy.

Descended from a long-established Northumbrian family seated at Howick Hall, Grey was the second but eldest surviving son of General Sir Charles Grey KB (1729–1807) and his wife, Elizabeth (1743/4–1822), daughter of George Grey of Southwick, co. Durham. He had four brothers and two sisters. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, he acquired at those schools a facility in Latin and in English composition and declamation that enabled him to become one of the foremost parliamentary orators of his generation. Grey was elected to Parliament at the age of 22 in 1786. He became a part of the Whig circle of Charles James Fox, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and the Prince of Wales, and soon became one of the major leaders of the Whig party. Grey was noted for advocating Parliamentary reform and Catholic emancipation.

The tea legend usually involves a grateful Chinese mandarin whose son was rescued from drowning by one of Lord Grey's men, although this blend of tea was first made from fermented black Indian and Ceylon teas. As green tea is much more popular in China than black tea, it seems somewhat unlikely that they would have had a recipe for what we now call Earl Grey to bestow on visitors, though over the years many other varieties of tea have been used. In addition, Lord Grey never set foot in China. Another version of the legend has the son of an Indian raja being rescued from a tiger by one of Grey's servants.

Jacksons of Piccadilly claim that it was they who originated Earl Grey's Tea, Lord Grey having given the recipe to Robert Jackson & Co. partner George Charlton in 1830; according to Jacksons the original recipe has been in constant production and has never left their hands. Theirs has been based on China tea since the beginning.

Variations on Earl Grey
1.Twinings also has a proprietary branded tea variety called "Lady Grey" made with lemon and Seville orange in addition to bergamot. Also of note is that Twinings received an official endorsement from the sixth Earl Grey, Richard Grey, whose signature appears on packages of Twinings Earl Grey.
2.The beverage company Snapple has released a tea beverage based on Earl Grey called Snapple Classic Tea Earl Gray.
3.Many boutique tea stores sell a similar blend with added rose petals known as French Earl Grey
4.A beverage called "London Fog" is a combination of Earl Grey, steamed milk and vanilla syrup.
5.Earl Grey teas made with extra large amounts of bergamot are often called "Earl Greyer". (wikipedia)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Picture of 1912 Suffrage March, New York City


Before 1917, the only states in the Union that granted the vote to women were in the West. Women were granted the right to vote in Wyoming Territory in 1869; Utah Territory in 1870; Washington Territory in 1883, state of Wyoming in 1890; Colorado in 1893 and in Utah in 1896. As a result: the first woman elected to Congress was Jeannette Rankin of Montana; first elected mayor was Mary Howard of Kanab, Utah; the first elected mayor of a major city was Bertha Landes of Seattle, Washington; the first elected governors were Miriam "Ma" Ferguson of Texas and Nellie Taylor Ross of Wyoming.
(Text Content From Outlaw Women)