Thyme for Tea

Tea Parties: September: A Tussie-Mussie Tea

Now that the kids are back to school, it's a good time to connect with the grownups in our lives. China and Ruby love tussie mussies and have invited friends to make them.

Decorations / Activities

Tussie mussies: For their party, China and Ruby have arranged several vases in the middle of the table, filled with flowers and herbs that symbolize compassion, strength, and comfort in the Victorian language of flowers. Each guest receives a card that lists these symbolic qualities.

  • beebalm: compassion
  • basil: love
  • borage: courage
  • chives: Why do you weep?
  • daisy: I share your feelings
  • dill: soothing thoughts
  • fennel: strength
  • fern: sincerity
  • dianthus (pinks): bonds of affection
  • goldenrod: encouragement
  • honeysuckle: generous affection
  • pansy: hearts' ease
  • horehound: health
  • lady's mantle: comfort
  • lavender: devotion
  • lemon balm: sympathy
  • marigold: grief
  • marjoram: happiness
  • mints: wisdom
  • parsley: celebration
  • rose: love
  • rosemary: remembrance
  • yarrow: strength

Ruby has provided a box of supplies: floral tape, paper doilies with an X cut into the center, rubber bands, ribbon and gold thread, scissors, small white cards, a hole punch, colored pens.

Each guest makes a tussie mussie by choosing flower and herbs from the vases, arranging them in small, simple bouquets, and fastening with a rubber band. (An example: a tiny rosebud, encircled with ferns and sprigs of basil, dill, mint, yarrow, parsley, and marjoram.) Then she pushes the stems through a paper doily and wraps them in floral tape and ribbon and adding a bow. The meanings of the flowers are written in colored ink on a small white card, a hole punched in the corner, and the card is tied with gold thread (gold is the color of love) to the bouquet. The guests exchange these, so that each takes home the loving thoughts of another.



Dilled Salmon Cream Cheese Sandwiches

  • 8 ounces light cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 10 slices white bread
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon

In a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese, dill weed, parsley, and chives. Using a serrated knife, trim the crusts from the slices of bread. Using a rolling pin, roll to flatten each slice slightly. Spread about 1½ tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture over the entire surface of each slice of bread. Top with the salmon. Cut into squares, diamonds, or rectangles. Repeat with the remaining slices of bread. Arrange sandwiches on a serving plate, cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Makes 40)

Herbed Cheese in a Pot

  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 4 oz grated Cheddar
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried summer savory
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • small crock or pot, 8 oz. size

Combine cheese, garlic, and herbs and mix well. Spoon mixture into crock and press down firmly with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for at least a day to blend flavors. Serve with crackers and a small knife. Makes 1 cup.

Martha Edmond's Comfort Cookies

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup margarine
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tblsp finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream sugar and margarine, add egg and beat. Add grated zucchini alternately with dry ingredients, mixed together. Stir in basil and nuts. Drop by small spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets and bake 12-15 minutes. Makes three dozen.

Lavender Madeleines

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbls dried or 5 tbls fresh lavender flowers
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted, cooled
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup unsifted flour
  • confectioners sugar
  • madeleine cookie mold

In food processor, process granulated sugar and flowers until flowers are finely ground. Heat oven to 400°. In a large bowl beat eggs with lavender sugar mixture and vanilla until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Gradually beat in melted butter. With wire whisk, fold in flour. Spray madeleine mold with cooking spray. Soon a scant one tablespoon batter into each madeleine mold. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan. Cool on wire rack. Store in airtight container. Dust with confectioners sugar just before serving. (If you like, substitute rose water for the vanilla, for a wonderful rose fragrance.)

*This recipe was originally developed by Martha Paul, of Martha's Herbary, Pomfret CT, and is used with permission.

Rosemary-for-Remembrance Cookies

  • ½ cup butter or margarine
  • ½ cup oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tblsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried

Preheat oven to 375°. Combine all ingredients except rosemary and mix thoroughly. (If dough seems too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time). Add rosemary and mix in gently. Form into small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake for 6 minutes. Turn pan and bake 2-4 minutes longer, until cookies are just golden brown and firm. Makes 3-4 dozen.