The fog is so thick today it seems like a veil even on my indoor tea scene. Today I am serving Bengal Spice tea and home made oat crackers spread with a soft, Swiss cheese called Laughing Cow, which is a favorite of many tea drinkers in America. The recipe for oatmeal crackers can be found online. I keep an electric coffee grinder especially to grind oats and nuts to make special flour for such treats. It makes a flour in an instant.
Since the fog was so thick today I decided to pull out the brightest pieces of china I own. I have been enjoying foggy-day teas so much that actually hope the fog stays around for a few more days.
A small dish of chopped apples with whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg is a perfect companion for today's tea. The table runner is made with white burlap. Burlap is available in many different colors at the fabric store and is an interesting material to work with for making bags, placemats, and many other things.
A good recipe for a cracker that tastes remarkably like digestive biscuits, go to Bob's Red Mill site. The recipe is here. They taste better the older they get, so don't be disappointed if you eat them right out of the oven and they do not have any flavor. They seem to gain flavor a few hours away from baking. I find they taste best the day after. Note: I find good success with this recipe when using unbleached flour. Unbleached flour, though white in color, is still a good, natural flour and it blends a lot better than some of the hard flours.
The chopped apple is a Melrose, which is sweet enough on its own, and is topped by unsweetened whipped cream and sprinkled with a dash of ground nutmeg. I tried to make a bright rosette by rolling up a piece of the colorful peel. These tea foods are something than anyone can do, and often in tea rooms you pay a very high price for something as simple as this.
The crackers and the cheese.
Recipe for Oatmeal Crackers is here. I need to inform you that I did not use whole wheat flour. Instead, I used unbleached flour, which is a light color flour, almost white. The whole wheat flour does not work very well in crackers because it is so hard and absorbs so much of the liquid and will not roll out well. Try the unbleached flour in that recipe and increase your oil to half a cup. Roll it out to a fourth or an eighth inch thick, and cut into squares with a knife, or use cookie cutters. (I personally do not think whole-wheat flour is always good for everyone. It is hard on the digestive system of some people, and some people get heart burn from it. However, it is up to the individual cook as to what works best for her and her family. I use unbleached flour most of the time.)
Since I have been making photographs of my recent fog-teas to share with blog people, my family calls the tea food "blog food." At any given time, someone will ask, "Will we be having blog food today?" I might say, "There is still some blog food left. Help yourself."
Today I found two things I very much like, that are made in America:
This is a soft-scented soap (anise? cinnamon? vanilla? lemon? I cannot determine what it is, but it is most pleasant) that comes from Dollar Tree. I admit a dollar is a lot to pay for one bar of soap, but this is a very large bar and lasts a long time.
Brown paper bags:
Many brands of heavy brown paper grocery bags are made in the USA. I use them for many different things: crafts, drawing my own patterns for various things, and wrapping packages. It is still the thickest, strongest type of brown paper in the world. I have made baskets, placemats, scrap books, ornaments and many other things from this brown paper. A friend of mine shared that she once used a brown paper bag like this for her carry-on luggage while on an overseas flight, which tells how strong this brown paper really is.