“Well that was the silliest tea party I ever went to! I am never going back there again!”– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Miss E writing. Before I begin my useful guide about the ins-and-outs of hosting tea parties in the new world, I need to make a quick clarification. When I talk about tea parties, I’m not talking about children’stea parties with grubby plastic tea-sets, a sad collection of dolls for guests and homemade mud pies. Oh no! I’m talking about tea parties for grown, adult women. I’ve been hosting tea parties in earnest since I was 16* so I am uniquely qualified to advise you on how to plan a truly marvelous afternoon. Here is how to do it:
Select Your Guest List
When I create that perfect guest list, sometimes I like to imagine that I understand how Vincent Van Gogh felt every time he chose oil paints before beginning a painting. I’d like to think his choices were not based on how the colors looked individually, but rather on how the colors might potentially mix together. In other words, when debating the worthiness of a potential tea party candidate, please consider whether or not they would blend well with your existing social circle.
Needless to say, ladylike manners are a minimum requirement. For instance, Mrs. K and I always make it a point to exclude Miss Peterson from any of our parties because she does not meet our minimum politeness standards. Plus, she’s a slut.
Create Handmade Invitations
Handmade invitations give guests personal feeling that you’d really like them to come to your party. Be sure to include all the relevant details – the “who, what, where and whys” if you will. For example, here is my most recent tea party invitation:
Miss E invites you to a Tea Party!
When: Next Sunday 3:00pm sharp
Where: Survival Shelter Dining Room
Tea and other refreshments will be served!
PS: Whatever you do, don’t tell Mrs. Peterson – she’s not invited!
Be creative with your invitations! No paper available ? Try using toilet paper, birch bark, or carve the details right into a potato, wood or a piece of bone. This is another great time to practice your calligraphy or knife skills. No ink or paints? Human blood will serve in a pinch (but only use the blood types not needed for transfusions)!
Some women may be a little reluctant to commit to your social engagement. This type of wishy-washiness is both inconsiderate and annoying to the host. When this situation arises, as it often does, I find stragglers while they are alone in a corner with a loaded rifle in my hand. Usually that is all the persuasion they need to RSVP ASAP.
Set the Table
Set the stage for a successful party! I always keep a fresh stack of pretty table dressings in my go-bag in case of last-minute location changes due to zombie attacks. Fresh flowers and doilies will make your guests feel like the dainty women they wish they were.
A tea party set is surprisingly easy to come by, provided you are willing to ransack several houses in order to find a suitable one. Look in attics for heirlooms, but be wary of forgotten zombie children — zombini particularly love to lurk in attics.
Tea – No tea in your pantry? Supplies are limited these days. For example, Mr. Silver was always stealing from our rationed tea supply claiming that “as a former British citizen, I require tea more than you Americans do. Don’t worry, I’ll make it up for it in spare toothpaste. ” That was, of course, before I used the RSVP treatment on him. (Come to think of it, this method really works in a number of scenarios).
Tea can be made out of almost any foraged plant: Rose Hips, Strawberry Leaves, Red Clover, Peppermint, Burdock, etc. Be creative, but also be cautious to avoid accidentally poisoning your guests. Yes my dears, one foraged hemlock flower and your tea party may morph into a funeral party!
Food – Traditionally, tea party treats are dainty food like mini scones, mini pies, finger sandwiches, pinafores, little cookies, etc. Nowadays, pretty much any type of food will service, as long as it is served up in ant-like proportions. (It’s just more ladylike that way!) If you are out of food, I suggest you consider mini mud pies.
To those of you who claim that hosting tea parties in the new world is frivolous, I counter: who do you think we are, savages?
Signing off (with my pinky out!),
* Unfortunately for everyone involved, this is actually true.