The story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has a most memorable tea party, headed by a most memorable character, commonly known as The Mad Hatter. He is the brainchild of Lewis Carroll in his novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (the sequel). This character has been portrayed in a variety of ways from comical to downright frightening (the Johnny Depp version in Tim Burton’s movie). But what is a mad hatter? And how do you tell when your tea party is morphing into Carroll’s version?
1 Vocabulary Morphage
You find yourself saying that someone is “as mad as a hatter” (the phrase comes from usage by hat makers in the 19th century of a mercury-based compound in the making of fine hats – long-term exposure caused various symptoms of mercury poisoning, including tremors and mood-swings, making them appear “mad” to others). Then you chastise your guests by saying, “You’re terribly late, you know. Naughty.” Or you tell them, “CLEAN CUP, MOVE DOWN!!!”
2 Tea Preference Changes
Nothing could be madder (or should I say madcap?) than blending Indian black teas with Rooibos (often misnomered as “red tea”) to create a totally mad cuppa for your tea party. Yet, it’s been done. And in fact a new tea company was born specializing in such a blend. Totally mad! If you find yourself serving such a blend at your tea part, you have assuredly gone “Mad Hatter”!
3 Preparation and Presentation Alteration
Lots of colors, teacups and plates of various patterns, an extra long table with lots of extra places, and clocks around with no hands on them are your tea party décor. You set up your table and chairs outdoors, preferably in an area that is fairly wooded, and invite the rabbits and other critters to join in.
4 Mad Tea Party Recipes Dominate
If your cake has too many layers and tilts at a precarious angle and looks like a stack of miscellany (including teapot shapes) and is frosted in a profusion of colors, then your cake, at least, has gone “Mad Hatter.”
5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments
You paint your face like the Johnny Depp version of the Mad Hatter, or simply don a wild red wig, you top it off with an ultra tall hat and wear a wardrobe that includes a bright purple tail coat, a waistcoat, and a stiff collared shirt. Yep, you’ve gone totally “Mad Hatter” so just give in and enjoy it!
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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