I learned a thing or three

I've been on a high-tea kick lately. Big-time... or is it high time?

The gracious custom of afternoon sips and nibbles is a not-to-be-missed experience. I had my first high-tea experience several weeks ago with some of my Facebook friends, when we gathered at the Tea Cup Tea Room in Brandon.

The experience was anything but stuffy. Its formality is simply meant to help you relax and savor the afternoon. It worked, and I'm hooked.

So you can just imagine my delight when my neighbor Cathy Green invited me over to be a part of the final preparations for a high tea she was hosting for 15 guests at Southern Comfort Bed & Breakfast, which she owns in Ruskin. She's hosted hundreds of teas.

I really like Cathy. A sign in her kitchen reads, "If you want breakfast in bed... sleep in the kitchen." Now that's a woman after my own heart!

I came away filled with new ideas, like this cherry tomato on a toothpick; it's sliced on all four sides to look like a rose.

A thin slice of cucumber is added under the "rose" and stuck into the curried-chicken-salad spinach wraps to keep them from unfolding.

A few slices of fresh lemon and a sprig of mint are added to the pot of boiling water and Gulf shrimp to be later used for shrimp salad.

Aren't these elegant? They are thinly sliced English cucumbers on herbed cream cheese and bread. Cathy sprinkles dill and slender stalks of scallion on top.

Start with the sandwiches; move on to scones with Devonshire cream and jam; and finish with the cakes and pastries on the top tier. Yummy.

2409 W. Ravine Dr.
Ruskin, FL 33570-5635
(813) 645-6361

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