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November 25, 2004: Tea for five

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It has been the tradition in the past that the day after Thanksgiving my mom and my sisters and I go out shopping. But over the past few years, with all of us being gone every other year with our respective in-laws, and with there being less and less at the sales I'm interested in, that tradition has died a slow death. However, I still thought it would be nice to have something for just the women in the family. First my little sister and I suggested we all go get pedicures but the others weren't too thrilled with that idea. Then I suggested we all go for tea. I tracked down the one teahouse in Sacramento that serve formal high tea, found out that it offers hats and gloves and shawls for 'dress-up' purposes, and suggested that we all go for tea, just us girls. It sounded like something my little niece might like too, especially since she's old enough now – at four – to start being drawn into some of the women-only traditions.

So late this morning I headed over to my parents' house and my sisters and my mom and I all piled into one car and we headed off for Sacramento.

The teashop was not too difficult to find, and it was quite charming inside. We arrived a little early so there was time to browse all the little tea-related things that were available for sale. When they were finally ready for us we all picked out a tea (with the exception of my niece and my older sister, who opted for pink lemonade instead), and then we were given the option of choosing hats to wear, and were told to pick our own tea cup from a cabinet full of beautiful china. Then we were seated at our table and our tea was brought out in individual pots. A little more time to sit and admire the décor, and then out came the food and it was time for the tea to begin.

They had quite a selection of little sandwiches and goodies to nibble. It never looks like very much on the tea plates, but I've learned from other teas I've attended with the tea group that looks are often deceptive. There was a tiny little pecan tart, and scones – one even shaped like a turkey in honor of Thanksgiving. There were tiny little white chocolate cookies and cheese spirals and slivers of persimmon, and of course the required cucumber sandwiches. There was lemon curd and clotted cream for the scones, and at the end a selection of either eggnog ice cream, or cheesecake with a swirl of butterscotch.

My niece wasn't too sure about wearing a hat at first, but a delicate peach number won her over, and she wore it the entire tea (and didn't actually want to give it back at the end). Her mom allowed her the luxury of adding sugar cubes to her pink lemonade, and she nibbled at her scones and provided entertainment for the rest of us. I'm not sure my mom or older sister had ever done tea before (although I think my little sister had), and I felt bad because it was obvious pretty early into the tea that my older sister wasn't finding the experience very fun. So I guess if we want to find a new, non-shopping women-only outing, we're going to have to come up with some different ideas for next time. We've got two years before we'll all be together again for Thanksgiving, however, so that should give us plenty of time to come up with something better. I hope.

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