Saturday, September 1, 2012

Remembering Princess Diana with A Cup of Tea on the RMS Queen Mary

Diana, the late-Princess of Wales, is in that small and select group of cultural icons whose senseless death made people stop in their tracks.  Seeing memorabilia and former dresses of hers at the "Diana: Legacy of a Princess" exhibit on the RMS Queen Mary, is a fitting and timely way to contemplate her life, her charitable works, and sons she left behind.  


I returned to the exhibit with my sister in-law, Peggy, last Wednesday.  We visited the tearoom, which I can only rave about, and revisited the exhibit that we had gone to see in mid-June.
Peggy is a royal gem in my family




  Since I have known her, Peggy has been an anglophile.  She and my older brother Kevin were engaged and married around the same time Diana and Charles were capturing the attention of romantics worldwide. She was a fan of the late-Princess Diana from the start.
The exhibit is chock full of memorabilia and even dresses of Diana's
When we learned that a royal exhibition, "Diana: Legacy of a Princess" was to open at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, we were both anxious to visit the exhibition and sample the treats in the tea room.  We planned a date to go, but Peggy and my big-brother Kevin extended a truly gracious invitation to go to the black tie gala evening and preview of the exhibit, the night before its opening.  Not having a chance to see everything that night, Sean Maddock, the Executive Director and CEO of the Queen Mary, invited us to come back and spend more time at the exhibit.
  
Scrumptious tea sandwiches are included in "The Windsor Tea" fare.  Having reviewed my share of tea rooms over the years, and not being a tea drinker, the food is what I usually what I focus on.  The tea fare on the RMS Queen Mary, is anything but your standard tea room food.  This was a treat for the taste buds and the tummy!     

Delicious scones with Devonshire clotted cream, lemon curd and locally homemade raspberry jam are, of course, included on the tiered stand.  The sandwiches included for the $32.00 per person price are most unique.  They set this tea fare apart from all others I have sampled and are of the sandwiches are quite memorable.
 

The tea sandwiches are as follows: 
Canary melon and prosciutto, with pomegranate cream, on artisan bread and fresh mint.
House cured Alaskan salmon and English cucumber, with aioli on rye bread, topped with caviar.  A personal favorite!
Shredded chicken and dried mango, tossed in a light curry aioli, atop wheat bread and A sweet shrimp with heart of palm and herb dressing on sourdough bread.


And another personal favorite; The deviled egg salad and micro dijon greens, atop pumpernickel bread.
Jesse knew just what we would each like...  Thanks, Jesse!
When Peggy and I sat down at our table, overlooking the water, I discovered Peggy is not a big tea drinker either!  We laughed and agreed our daughters, both avid tea drinkers, would know just what to order.  Fortunately, we had Jesse as our waiter, and I must say, he was able to guide us to the right tea for our individual tastes.  I had the spicy fruit tea and it suited the scones, sandwiches and desserts quite well.
A superb selection of desserts await your presence
The tiered server of petit fours boasted a chocolate lover's dream of flavors; black and white mocha cakes, petite eclairs, and raspberry chocolate tortes, alongside California fruit tartlets and lemon meringue tartlets.  All were excellent and not too mind-numbingly sweet, as many desserts can be.
I particularly enjoyed the setting.  The ship itself is a wonderful example of the of the 1930s Art Deco movement, and the tea room matches that elegantly.  There are none of the fussy florals or chintz that one tends to see in tea rooms.  The the understated U.K. Steelite tableware complements the room perfectly. 
Big brother Kevin, and his wife Peggy, took me to the Black Tie Gala as a birthday gift.  The event was the night before the opening of the exhibit.
Loved the 'Family Tree', though we'd not expected to see Camilla lurking about at this exhibit"Diana : Legacy of a Princess" -  Camilla is now a part of "Diana's Legacy"? I think not!

I am glad we took a lot of photos at the preview of the exhibit, as upon our return, we were not allowed to take any.
My big brother Kevin and wife Peggy- The empty case behind them now has a mannequin clothed in a 'Diana' dress


Though we had a short amount of time that first trip, we did take photos.
Who invited this 'party-crasher' back?
So many things to see in the exhibit, do plan plenty of time
Our black tie event table




   


Tea Etiquette  

Keep that “Pinky” finger curled! 

Many people think that one’s pinky finger should be extended when one is drinking from a cup.  This is not considered proper today by most manners experts.  It is what is commonly known as an “affectation”, learned in the 1400s & 1500s when the poor servants of the wealthy landowners and royalty in Europe, watched how their “Lords and Ladies” dined.  They believe the servants picked up the habit of keeping a finger extended while drinking and dining.  

Only the wealthy could afford salt and exotic spices, like nutmeg, at their tables. Foods were  eaten with one’s hands and a knife.  Utensils were not used at many tables then.  When dining, these wealthy people would keep the “pinky” finger extended when scooping up foods so that they could keep grease off of that finger.  That finger could then be dipped into the salt or spices needed to season their foods.  This kept grease and food particles out of the dishes holding the spices.

Others  think it started when tea and handle-less cups from China
became popular in Europe.  They believe tea drinkers would keep the pinky out because the cup was to hot to hold.  However, the Chinese have never extended fingers in that manner, nor have the Japanese, so why would the British?  The cups Chinese use, still do not have handles to this day.  These cups are held in the palm of the hand.  Old artwork from the time, proves this as well. 
 
Today, most experts agree;  The proper way to hold a tea cup is with  one or two fingers of the right hand put through the hole of the cup handle, while balancing the cup with your thumb on the top of the handle. Your other fingers should be curled beneath the handle.  
 

4 comments:

  1. I wish we lived in California. Our few tea rooms here and in my other home in Montana, serve pretty much 'the same old-same old' fare, with very few tweaks to the menu. And they are too frilly to take husbands to for tea. The tearoom on the Queen Mary is really something! A place where anyone can take their husbands and not have them dying to leave! And your sister in-law does sound like a true gem.

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  2. Your sister in-law sounds like a dream. I know so many who do not get along with theirs. Having no brothers, now I feel a bit cheated ;) Must get to the Queen Mary for the tea room and exhibit!

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  3. Lovely... Truly incredible looking treats! The Queen Mary's tearoom leaves all of our tearoom foods here, looking so stale. Though there are some great scones at 2 favorite tearooms.

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  4. Loved this post! I wonder if the tea room is still there.

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