Not a drop of tea poured from April 1956 - January 2010!
My Nonna loved her original china tea service – when she and my Dziadziu moved from Italy to Argentina (1948) she had it shipped to follow them. Then, when it was broken in transit when they moved from Argentina to Miami she was quite upset – she has a great appreciation for the beautiful.
A Lebanese man who worked with Romuald (my Dziadziu) in Miami told him about a store which was going out of business, so all their china was on sale. Rom didn’t have a car, so the Lebanese man drove him there; Rom also didn’t have the cash on him, so the man wrote the check for the china and then Rom paid him back when they got home. They brought the china to Rita (my Nonna) as a surprise, and presented it to her with a big smile. She loved it. (This part of the story just totally warms my heart!)
When she gave it to my sister Helena, Nonna told her (through our father, who picked it up in Miami and brought it to her) that the tea set had never been used. She wanted to be sure that my sister knew this so she didn't think she was giving her something used/worn out/cast off, so to speak. My Nonna is very particular about these things.
She told my sister that one of the cups was chipped and so that this should always be the "hostess cup." This has been somewhat of a running joke in their household ever since. Proudly displayed in the china cabinet is…THE TEA SET THAT HAS NEVER BEEN USED. Jokes were made about waiting for the Queen’s arrival…et cetera et cetera…
Then…on the fateful day of January 16, 2010 my sister Helena, her husband Matthew, their daughter Katrina, and I USED THE IMMACULATE CHINA TEA SERVICE! Gasp! It was a momentous occasion and forever changed one of my brother-in-law’s favorite stories about “the tea set that has never been used.”
The menu included buttermilk scones with clotted cream and homemade (by my sister) strawberry jam; cucumber tea sandwiches (with the crusts cut off….toast and make into bread crumbs so as not to waste!) and chicken salad tea sandwiches (same); meat pies; mini-Yorkshire puddings (popovers, technically, I think…); pumpkin bread; and a special Tasha Tudor blend of tea. We don’t overdo it or anything…:)