Break out the hats – It’s time for a tea party

Published 10:59 am Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cynosure members met at the home of Dot Burkett recently.

The Cynosure club met at the home of Dot Burkett on Wed., March 3.

With the assistance of her Birmingham friend, Jane Franklin, Burkett provided an afternoon of wonder. As the club members approached her front porch, the hostess, amid a myriad of colorful hats, welcomed her guests and invited each to chose a chapeau. This was the setting for a fanciful tea party befitting even England’s hat loving Queen Elizabeth herself.

The tea table was a feast for the eye as well as the appetite. An elegant bird cage decorated with many-colored flowers and surrounded by ceramic love birds formed the centerpiece. At each place setting was a graceful, soft green compote filled with ambrosia and on the dessert plate a homemade biscuit sprinkled with fine sugar and stuffed with lemon curd.

Chosen from Burkett’s huge collection, individual magical teapots of every size and shape were at the head of each plate. Each cup and saucer was flanked by a teaspoon embellished with a tiny teapot on its handle.

Within easy reach of all were three tiered dessert servers, many hand-painted by Burkett. These were artfully arranged with cookies, scones and petit fours.

Silver trays stacked with chicken salad finger sandwiches, pastry rolls of sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, cream cheese and ricotta and open-faced sandwiches of cream cheese adorned with squiggles of thinly sliced cucumber were interspersed around the table. Spicy cheese straws, the recipe of the famous Andalusia cook of old, Sybil Meredith, added a touch of bite to this over the top array of delicacies.

But the piece de resistance was hidden in the covered sugar bowls. Each tiny sugar cube was hand-painted with a miniature yellow rose. This mirrored the real yellow rose arranged in a miniature vase at the head of each place setting as a gift for each guest.

To bring the afternoon to the perfect close was a skit recreating the most famous tea party of all from Alice in Wonderland.

The cast of characters included Sister Barnes as Alice; Barbara Nichols as the Mad Hatter; Jeanie Metzger as the March Hare; Kathy Johnson as the sleepy dormouse and Dot Burkett, writer and narrator.

All the Cynosure “girls” declared Burkett the “hostess with the mostest” for providing an afternoon of delight.