Wednesday, January 27, 2010


This past Sunday, the ladies of the Tea Society joined me on a very rainy January morning to venture to the historic town of Midway, Kentucky to celebrate our first Tea Society event of 2010. We did so with a wonderful Sunday brunch. Our destination was my favorite restaurant in Central Kentucky, The Holly Hill Inn. I have blogged about HH Inn in the past but it is such a magical place that I had to post a short one about it again. I highly recommend dining here to anyone who may find themselves in Central Kentucky, especially with the World Equestrian Games coming to our neck of the woods this year. Most Kentuckians are filled with excitement that our state will be hosting this amazing event. My mind is a flutter, formulating ideas for a unique Tea Theme to commemorate this occasion as well.

As for the restaurant, there are so many reasons to adore this place and the most obvious is of course the delectable cuisine, described as “Southern with a Twist”, and prepared by New York Culinary Institute graduate- Chef and owner, Ouita Michel. Southern Living had a lovely write up about her, and the Inn, in an issue last year. What I love so much about the picture below is the table she is seated at is perhaps my favorite spot in the entire restaurant. I have sat opposite that table many times and always get lost gazing at the artwork on the wall and through the window behind her there. It's magical in that corner when the room is dim and the light invades through the panes, dancing and glimmering on the white walls. It is truly a very romantic setting.

We spent at least an hour and a half, laughing, talking, and enjoying being in the company of friends- reveling in the sometimes lost art of conversation. I must say that the Inn is not a Tea room and there are actually places much better suited for a hot cuppa, but the ambiance and cuisine of this place makes it more than worth your while to have a quiet serene Sunday Brunch among friends.

(Image of Chef Ouita Michel from Southern Living Magazine online)

(Image of my favorite table from Holly Hill Inn Website)

( Tea Society Members at brunch:(on the left) Polly, Darleen, and Natalie. Caroline is seated beside me. Hum..I still haven't named this latest brown cloche with feathers...I must think on this some more:)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Homage to the Scone

We eat more than our fair share of bread at our Tea Society events, and being a “southern girl” I’ve certainly grown up eating lots of my Grandmother’s mouthwatering buttermilk biscuits and my Mother’s delectable cornbread. Yet, when I think of bread, my first thought is of the Scone...

Ah, that trademark sidekick to the ultimate cuppa. I’ve made them so often for tea events that I think I could make them in my sleep and I can’t really imagine a tea event without them. Being the history buff that I am, of course I had to delve into the origin of this wonderful tea accompaniment.

When I think of scones, I tend to associate their appearance at the "Tea Table" with refinement and a traditional English Afternoon Tea. However, the origin of this bread is believed to have been in Scotland. In its earliest form, it was a simple quick bread made with oats and barley flour. It was often shaped into a round mound and scored or cut into wedges. The dough was then baked on a Scottish griddle or “girdle” over an open fire.

Where did the name come from? It is believed that this popular Tea bread took its name from the Pictish Kingdom of Scone (Scotland). The exact origin of the name is possibly Dutch, German, or Gaelic. The pronunciation is also intriguing and debatable. Throughout Great Britain one may hear “skaun” or “skoane”. Either is considered acceptable. I have to admit, being born and raised south of the Mason Dixon line, I tend to favor the latter, “skoane”, drawing out the “oa”, of course… to join me for some cream cheese and pecan scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream- all with bottomless pots of Barry’s Irish Breakfast?

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I’ve always had this very strange fascination with old gnarled tree roots, the kind of roots that have burst forth to the surface of the soil like Merlin’s languid fingers. They tickle the earth and in time become covered with a coat of deep green lichen. They embark outward on a journey of discovery, for something more- something once feared to be buried and lost. They seem forgotten in years of dormancy but waiting for the opportunity to spring forth once more to reveal that life is still contained there.

When I was a very young art student, I had this enigmatic professor who took my studio class out on drawing days to forgotten cemeteries in search of the most interesting trees with these wayward surface roots, so large that one could carve a bench from them and certainly called to mind roots from Tolkien’s Fangorn forest. I sat, mesmerized, before stately oaks and maples, ancient, weathered, hypnotic and seductive. I longed to know their history, to be close to them, and to glimpse into a mirror of the past to see all that transpired before them. I still do.

Why do roots that normally stay underground, cloaked in darkness, emerge from the soil? Science explains that roots often grow more shallowly beneath the soil than many of us ever imagined; it depends largely on the type of tree. The surface soil might erode and make way for the roots to expand and erupt, in very much the same way that a tree trunk expands with age. The older more mature roots of trees will increase and grow larger, waiting until the time is right to rise to the surface, spread, and extend outward. To me this is a strange sort of freedom from the depths of the earth. Is this a final chance for these great wonders to reveal that there is more there than meets the eye? I believe that they could be making a plea to the natural world and to all that stumble upon them, that they might truly be seen.

Monday, January 11, 2010



Ah…here’s my Creative Tuesday offering this week. My gold hoop earrings served as the source of inspiration. I drew a line drawing of an ear and then used a stippling effect/technique ( simply to draw by means of dots or small touches)to add values and shading. My weapon of choice was a trusty Faber-Castell PITT artist's pen…My son got quite a chuckle out of this, but I think it made my daughter hungry as she’s been asking for cheerios all morning…

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


As I’ve noted on my sidebar, January is in fact National Hot Tea Month, so sayeth The Tea Association of the USA, Inc., The Tea Council of the USA, and the Specialty Tea Institute (STI). Personally speaking, I need absolutely no excuse whatsoever to partake in anything Tea related. The intimacy, ritual, and of course the pleasing taste alone is all the enticement needed for me, as well as many other loyal Tea Society bloggers. However, the below information might be of particular interest for anyone looking for health benefits as an excuse to enjoy a hot cuppa (or two or three or four or five).

Drinking hot tea has the great potential to help you stay a bit healthier during the cold and flu season of which we are in the midst of. According to Harvard University, theanine, a natural ingredient found in tea, supports the immune system. One cup of tea contains approximately 25 mg of theanine. Therefore, drinking multiple cups of hot tea, daily, is recommended to boost your immunity.

Better yet, according to clinical research, drinking up to five cups of Black Tea for 2-4 weeks will boost ones immunity four times over. The results also show that Black Tea increases the body’s natural resistance to infection.

In addition, tea also contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties. These properties aid in battling free radicals which are believed to damage elements in the body, such as "genetic material and lipids", resulting in many chronic diseases.

With all the wonderful health benefits of tea, what are you waiting for? Put the kettle on and enjoy!