When Mrs. Force had invited me for tea I had expected a cup and a lump of sugar. Now we entered another room, where a white wicker tea wagon had been placed, and on it the prettiest array of food you could imagine. But this room could not be called a room-it was a gazebo, with trellises and twining Morning Glory vines painted on the walls around us. And on the floor there were cool blue and white tiles, and around, here and there, baskets holding orange trees with plump baby oranges dangling from the branches. We settled ourselves on a curlicue sofa, the wicker starchy as Battenberg lace.
Now lets see, Mrs. Force said, scanning the tea cart. Today it’s tea I brought from Claridges on my last trip to
From the teapot she removed a tea cozy encrusted with multicolored caviar-size beads and poured the tea into mauve and gold cups.
Sugar? She asked. Dipping a silver leaf spoon into a bowl, she held out a confetti of crystals. Lemon? Or cream?
Oh yes, please, I said, lemon.
Spread out on the tea cart were delicacies I had never seen before. There were little soufflé’s of gruyere with whipped cream on top and a sprinkle of cayenne, round tissue paper-thin sandwiches of cucumber and chopped sweet onion. Centered on another plate were coconuts drops surround by black walnut lace cookies. But that wasn’t all-another dish, heart-shaped, held Coeur a la crème with Bar-le-duc jelly close at hand.
I didn’t know where to begin.
Excerpt from~ Once Upon a Time-A True Story By Gloria Vanderbilt