Marilyn has published a book! I'm so thrilled for her. It's called Tea Party in your Cupboard, and it encourages us to make a tea party today - with what we have at home! Seize and savor the moment.
Inspired by this, along with conversations from a road trip to Chicago a few years ago, I decided to finally put into action a tea party in which nothing - NOTHING - was homemade. I used the toaster oven to heat something, and that's it. So thanks to Trader Joe's (where I got it all*), the DH and I had a lovely tea supper in front of the fire.
My overarching thought is that sometimes we just don't have time to cook. I work long hours (too long!), and my available free time is much protected. It shouldn't mean I can't have a tea party, even if I don't have time to cook. To some, this may be heresy, and I missed making the treats myself. But if it comes down to no tea party or a helped-along tea party, I'll take the latter.
*All = All the food. I used my own teas, which are (in my tea snob opinion) better than those at TJ's.
Trader Joe's, that fun food capital of the US, made this quite easy! Don't have a TJ's near you? Just look in your grocer's freezer aisle and think creatively. Make use of bakeries and deli aisles, too!
First course: Crackers, cheese and kumquats, followed by spinach spanikopita (frozen - I used the toaster oven to bake)
Second course: Crumpets and plum jam
Finale: French macaroons and pistachio toffee