Or at least that was my thinking apparently. Every year, the morning of the English Tea, I vow, as food chairman, I will not partake of the tea sandwiches and sweets even though the Women of St. Paul’s make extras precisely because they know the kitchen crew and servers will pilfer a few here and there.
So here’s how it went this year.
9 a.m.: Pick up chocolate-covered strawberries from my beloved Publix. Buy a bag of carrots to eat during the day so I will not dip into the tea sandwiches.
9:30: Head down to Founder’s Hall to help assemble 600 cucumber sandwiches. Snatch just the tiniest piece of shortbread from the sweets trays to ward off hunger pains I am imagining.
10:15: Cucumber sandwiches done and it’s obvious we have more than 600. Quality control must be maintained. I eat two of them.
11 a.m.: Help Marida Stearns with the chocolate mousse cups topped with peppermint sprinkles. We’ve never had these at the tea before so, once again, quality control must be maintained. I eat one.
Noon: We begin plating scones. We made them last week and froze them. How did that work out? I eat half a scone just to make sure. Delicious. Katie Faulkner helpfully admonishes the kitchen staff to eat some lunch so our blood sugar doesn’t take a dive during service. She is a nurse so we feel obliged to take her advice. I move the bag of carrots in the fridge to get to the turkey and arugula mayonnaise sandwiches. My finger happens to graze an egg salad sandwich in the process. I have touched it. I must eat it.
2 p.m.: The first seating is over and the tiers come back to the kitchen. Oh, dear. There are three cucumber sandwiches and four Blue Moon’s on one of the plates. I eat one cucumber sandwich and two Blue Moon’s (a jacked up pimento cheese) because I haven’t tried them yet. Plus a lemon curd tart.
4 p.m.: Second seating starts and that means it is 0-wine-30 in the kitchen. I pour myself some Pinot Grigio and since I have not broken out the carrots yet and have very little food in my stomach, another turkey and arugula. And another chocolate mousse cup.
5:30 p.m.: Second seating ends and the leftovers come back to the kitchen. We offer some to the servers who have been very brave during the seatings and have not snatched a single sandwich off a guest’s plate. The number of leftover cucumber sandwiches is beginning to dwindle. I have a slight panic attack and eat two.
7:15 p.m.: I head home with several baggies of sandwiches and shortbread. And my carrots.