Six of us ladies gathered in the upstairs sitting room, just about candlelight time on Sunday. The guests chatted with Caro whilst I came downstairs to put the final little touches on the table, take a couple of things out of the oven, and light the candles.
I know burgundy and pink aren't QUITE the standard Christmas colors, but I love the combination, with the whites and silvers of the china and napery.
My Mother's china---she had two sets-almost-alike, and many's the time I borrowed them for a pretty luncheon party or dinner. I love the simple shine and all the memories of lovely times they evoke. Like my own Mammaw and my Mother---I have a Walk-and-Pat Will, in which I point out things NOW to all the children, and make sure they know they're to have all the lovely things which I've enjoyed and remembered so well. (Or could probably take them home with them, if they were so a-mind).
Caro is the Break-of Dawn Elf---I never know WHAT beautiful or thoughtful or tasty thing I'll find when I wake. The chandelier and the downstairs tree were my greetings one day this past week. The little burgundy bird atop is privy to LOTS of Christmas Secrets.
Our Tea Table. From the back, a bowl of crisp pita chips, one of some really delicious gluten-free crackers, the crudite, Devilled Eggs and a mound of Paminna Cheese. In front is a big thermal bowl of Caro's Asian Meatballs with soy, cilantro, sesame, garlic and sliced water chestnuts. Then a plate of chicken salad in croissants, some twee little cream-cheese-and-cucumber Christmas Tree Sandwiches---the only bow to a REAL Afternoon Tea, I suppose.
Next is a bowl of shrimp with a Cajun Mayonnaise for dipping, and in the center are a bowl of Hummus, some Scoops, and the copper dish holds a sizzly gratin of hot Artichoke Dip, with lots of grated Parmesan.
Caro's Asian Meatballs.
Crudite---blanched snow peas, three-color peppers, fresh crisp sugar-snaps, cauliflower, baby English cukes, grape tomatoes, with a Ranch dip.
Cucumber trees with Philly Garden Spread.
Chicken Salad Croissants.
Hot Artichoke Dip. In back is Hummus with Scoops.
And what Southern Party is complete without Devilled Eggs and Paminna Cheese?
As a matter if fact, every dish on the table was gluten-free except for the cucumber sandwiches and the croissants. I served my friend a scoop of the chicken salad (breast of chicken, minced celery and apples, boiled egg and Hellman's) out of the dish in the fridge, and she gladly partook of everything else but the bread items.
She sat, chirping happily over the lovely plate of party food, for she usually eats at home before they go out. "Oh, I've been DREAMING of your Pimiento Cheese!" she exclaimed, and we gently taught her the Southern pronunciation, echoed all around the table by all the ladies at once--all of us chiming in Puhhhh-minnnnna, like an old-fashioned spelling class. And I think everyone took seconds of almost everything.
It was a relaxing, laughing time with good friends, and of the exchange of all the Christmas Sweets we made and exchanged---moire non, perhaps on Friday.