By A.C. Cargill
I have an annual appointment at the North Pole for teatime with Mrs. Claus. Actually, hubby has an annual appointment to help Santa and the elves with last minute toy making and loading up the sleigh. I tag along, and Mrs. Claus sits me down for tea and a chat. Honest! I’m not making this up!
What kind of tea do you have with someone living at the North Pole, surrounded by ice and snow and elves? In truth, it varies every year. From Earl Grey to Darjeeling. From Green tea to a rich Black tea. Anything but — shudder! — white tea! As Mrs. Claus explained, she doesn’t not like white tea; it’s just, well, white, just like all that ice and snow.
As for teatime treats, you may expect that Mrs. Claus would serve lots of cookies, pies, cakes, and chocolaty confections. That was certainly my expectation. After all, such goodies are supposed to be what keeps Santa so jolly. Maybe so, but that’s certainly not what she served me last year. It was a lot of low-cal stuff like celery and carrot sticks, rice crackers, cottage cheese, and apple slices. Great stuff, but I’m starting to wonder if she’s trying to tell me something. (Gee, my bathroom scale doesn’t say that I’m getting pudgy — and it never lies! My dryer, on the other hand, keeps shrinking my pants.)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. The tea was delicious and plentiful and the atmosphere quite congenial. There were lots of sparkly things that shone in the candlelight, and we both displayed our best teatime manners.
“More tea?” asked Mrs. Claus. “Yes, thanks!” I replied.
Still, the lack of high-calorie, finger-licking, stick-to-your-ribs, let-a-notch-out-on-your-belt treats just didn’t feel right. Such wimpy foods weren’t part of a real teatime. If it didn’t have enough sugar and/or fat to warrant a warning label from the Surgeon General, it just didn’t fit with having tea, especially not at the North Pole.
So this year I had a surprise for my hostess: a truckload of real teatime treats, enough for the whole workshop full of elves, my hubby, Santa, and Mrs. Claus. Hopefully, I’ll get a bite or two out of it, too.
Shrimp puffs all light and flaky, thin-sliced roast beef, twice-baked potatoes flavored with chives and real bacon bits, green bean casserole (of course!), yams glazed with a butter/brown sugar coating that was thick and sticky, fluffy handmade biscuits, cranberry jello salad loaded with walnuts and pineapple, and corn pudding all thick and buttery rounded out the entrees.
Currant scones, raspberry jelly-filled donuts rolled in sugar, mince pies with their latticed top crusts, pecan pies all sweet and crunchy, gingerbread men smiling and brightly decorated, and a crowd-sized trifle with alternating layers of rich custard and sweet fruits were just some of the many desserts.
We cleared off space on the elves’ workbenches and started loading them with dish after dish for a super teatime buffet. The elves and Santa lined up to partake of the bounty. Hubby was handing out plates at the head of the line. Mrs. Claus was at the end of the line with dozens of pots of teas (pumpkin-flavored black, lemony green, spicy chai, and even a pot of jasmine white).
I was in charge of the dessert table — well, actually, the whipped cream. I whipped cream as fast as my arm could go (no canned or frozen stuff here!) and plopped a dollop or two on everyone’s dessert plates as they filed by. Then, the line started speeding up. Elves were coming by faster and faster. I was whipping cream faster and faster. Globs of white, fluffy sweetness started flying out of my bowl, landing on toys, walls, faces, reindeer, the sleigh…
Suddenly, I awoke and look around, startled, from the recliner where I had been napping. My teacup was empty, and the plate of cookies beside it was reduced to a few crumbs (not even big enough for a mouse!). Hubby was looking at me and chuckling. Had it been a dream? Were those cookies crumbs I saw around his mouth? Hmm…
Happy dreams, tea lovers!
It’s all part of living the “tea life”, folks. Visit A.C.’s blog to learn more!