Mother's Day tea

A Mother's Day tea can be the sweetest space between lunch and dinner.

Tastes Like Home
Serve Mom a teatime treat for Mother's Day such as sweet cardamom biscuits straight from the oven.

A friend asked me the other day what meal I’d make for my mom in celebration of Mother’s Day. My first instinct was to say lunch given that it’s Sunday but then I paused. If I had to prepare a meal for my mom, particularly on Mother’s Day, I’d chose a meal that I know she likes and enjoys whether she’s the host or guest of honor.

Breakfast – no, my mom is not a breakfast person (perhaps that’s where I learned not to like breakfast). Lunch – I’ve never known her to be a lunch person though these days lunch is her main meal (perhaps a change in eating pattern as one gets older). Dinner – this is the meal that I know she likes (at least when I was growing up); but there’s a space of time between lunch and dinner that she deems special – teatime! Thanks to our colonial past certain things are entrenched in our society. My mom loved to entertain with tea and she always relished the idea of a tea party.

Mommy would bring out her best – bone china – along with her white-laced tablecloth. The table would be adorned with little platters of sliced pound cake, coconut buns, crust-less perfectly sliced sandwiches and stuffed eggs. These were her standards but from time to time, she’d add other eats to the menu. I always felt proper whenever we were having people over for tea; more than any other time you seemed to have to be on your very best behavior. And for heaven’s sake – be careful with the china!

I think that it’s ironic that I would want to put myself out there to have a tea gathering for my mom given that one of the things that was at the heart of my feelings of inadequacy when growing up was the inability to make a cup of tea to suit my mother’s taste and standards. Oh we used to have major quarrels about her and her precious tea – it’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s too strong, it’s too weak, too much milk and sugar, not enough milk and sugar, the cup is too full, it is not the right cup… aye, aye, aye… on and on it went. Perhaps I am only being brave enough to say that I’d have a tea party for my mom for Mother’s Day simply because I know that I would not be doing so in reality given that she’s in Guyana and I am here in Barbados? Ah! One wonders.

Anyway, here’s what I’d have at the tea party. On offer would be Darjeeling, English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Taj Mahal or Jasmine. Tea leaves please.

For eats, now here is where I would go totally overboard! To be honest, I’d see myself wanting to make at least 12 different things! Just let me have some fun, I want to list some of the things that I’d want to make. First would be mom’s favorites – stuffed eggs, cheese sandwiches, coconut drops, pound cake, and pine tarts. I’d want to make cheese scones, banana bread, Swiss rolls, chicken pau(s), bouchée (small pastry cups) filled with bounjal baby shrimp, butterflaps, pumpkin fritters, breakfast bread. Man, I can go on and on. It would be one heck of a tea party I tell you.

You know what though? I don’t have to wait until the second Sunday in May of any year throw my mom a tea party. After all, Mother’s Day is every day so the next time she visits I’m going to have a tea party in her honor.

Until then mom, a happy and blessed Mother’s Day to you!

Coconut Cranberry Cardamom Drop Biscuits
Yield: 12 to 14 biscuits

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 heaped teaspoon ground cardamom (black & green if you have)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces cold unsalted butter
2 ounces cold vegetable shortening
2 cups freshly grated coconut
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup cold milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt to a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

Cut in butter and shortening to flour mixture.

Stir in coconut and cranberries to flour mixture. Set aside in refrigerator if your kitchen is very warm.

Add sugar and egg to bowl and whisk for 3 - 4 minutes until frothy.

Add milk and egg-sugar mixture along with the flour-butter-coconut-cranberries mixture and fold until just combined (the mixture will be sticky).

Measure and drop biscuits on lined baking sheets.

Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until biscuits are golden.

Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cynthia Nelson blogs at Tastes Like Home.

Related post: It's All Tea to Me

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