Warriors with whisks


Kathy Berry glazing more than 300 scones

The English Tea presented by the Women of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church  is the closest thing I know of to a full-scale military assault. Relentless in expectation and precise to a fault. There is no room for cry babies at the English Tea. No room for whiners or laggards. No room for failure. There is a core group of tea sandwich makers and sweets producers who understand this. They are the lieutenants on the battlefield of chicken salad, pimento cheese and mint chocolate mousse cups.

Leslie Fraser - 15 batches mixed by hand

But nothing brings us closer to the precipice of disaster than the scones. They are the first thing our guests are offered. It is an English Tea, for God’s sake. The scones better be good. Truthfully, we’ve been hit and miss over the years and I am ashamed to say that as food chairman. Last year, we figured we’d hit the jackpot when a local baker who makes scones to die for baked them for us. And then disaster struck. She went out of business. Boo hoo. BOO HOO.

So after having several major anxiety attacks and a slight case of hives, I turned to my girls. The generals of the army. The women who run into battle, wooden spoons uplifted and whisks at the ready. One of them knew the baker. She got the recipe. We met at Wanda’s house, the tea chair, and just knocked them out. And they were good. They were more than good. They were great.

Wanda grated orange zest - how does the chair of the tea get the worst job?

We caught up on what is politely referred to as “news” in our church family, which would otherwise be categorized as gossip. Discretion prevents me from revealing the exact topics of “news” discussed, of course. And we debated the merits of various ways to clean a cast-iron skillet. We did not agree, but we are always kinder than we need to be so nobody’s feelings were hurt. And we fed Wanda and Leslie’s carpenter, who stopped by to deliver the bad news to Wanda that her new windows will send her over the fiscal cliff. He asked if he could have one of the “cookies” we were baking. We gave him one. And blessed his heart.

Disaster averted. Good time had by all. Scones now safely in the freezer until a week from Saturday. Oh, I suppose you now think I’m going to give you the recipe for the scones. No, I am not. Perhaps, with the baker’s permission, we will put it in a St. Paul’s Tea Cookbook at some point, relieve you of $25 and buy new kneelers for the sanctuary. Warriors for God. With whisks.






One Comment

  1. Julie
    JulieReply
    December 2, 2012 at 7:15 am

    I have been a bit crazed lately and haven’t taken the time to post a comment but could not pass on this one. Loved it. HATE that I missed the event. Looking forward to making the Turkey arugula sandwiches next weekend and I do plan on bringing BreadCrust Panzanella for the kitchen crew when I drop off my sammies. hugs –

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