The Midnight Tea

(inspired by a menu from my third Anemone book)
Note: While reading this story, it is recommended that you listen to something dark and romantic, such as
Hollow or Love Cats by Tricky,
Calfskin Smack by The Cocteau Twins
or Tempermental (Pull Timewarp Mix) by Everything But the Girl.

Near midnight, we wandered, hand in hand, in from the moor.

Why was there a tearoom here in this desolate place? It was a warm night and the French doors were open, beckoning us inside. It was only dimly lit with candles inside and dark,slightly gothic music slithered its way to our ears.

As we entered, there was this message in a frame near the door:

Anemone invites you to bring along with you
the person whom you have loved like no other,
whose slightest kindness to you can make you cry,
whose voice makes you tremble,
as the treats served at the midnight tea
are most delicious when fed to each other.

We were shown to a low, wide chaise, covered in black raw silk and surrounded by diaphanous white curtains on all sides. We looked behind us, out a tall, narrow window, at the moon, slipping from behind the gauzy curtain of a cloud, dripping her light over the desolate moor. There was a table of sorts in front of us, which was actually a square flower bed, lush with violets and pansies. There were footstools upholstered with patches of grass. I could not wait to get my shoes off and bury my feet in the sweet-smelling patch of green.

You looked into my eyes, kissed my lips slowly and the world disappeared for a while. . .

When we came back to reality, we looked and a large platter had been set before us with many different, delicious looking foods. It looks all the more enticing surrounded by the violets and bronze shades of the flowers.

We feasted on the following:

-Nasturtium blossoms in jolting shades of orange and chrome yellow, their peppery essence contrasting with the cream cheese with which they were stuffed, scented with the green freshness of chives.

-Summer rolls, fresh and green from mint and cilantro, clean and white from the freshest bean sprouts, pink and aquatic from perfectly poached shrimp, wrapped in moist, translucent rice paper.

-A selection of Thai salads: a duck salad graced with lime and chili, a gingery chicken salad, a peppery beef salad punctuated with lemongrass and a pungently fresh green papaya salad.

-Lettuce leaf cups filled with an exquisite lobster salad, extracted from the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean, topped with a fresh corn, pepper and cilantro salsa.

-Strips of fresh vegetables, lying there in their vivid colored being. (My favorite was the pale, crisp jicama, submitting itself to my bite with its slight sweetness.)

-An astounding selection of tiny desserts, only enough for two bites each (of course, I feed you the first bite and I take the next): brambleberry charlotte, mango mousse cakes, tiramisu, chocolate decadence cakes, and tiny servings of creme brulee in espresso cups, complete with tiny spoons to break the crust of caramelized sugar on the top. (A wave of euphoria crept over me due to the sensation of burying my bare feet in the cool and fragrant grass while indulging in these desserts.)

-All of this was followed by so many cups of the most perfect Earl Grey Tea with cream and sugar that we lost count. (The perfectly sunny scent of bergamot oil was a contrast to the dark and slightly spooky quality of this place.)

By the time we left, there was a nearly undetectable glow on the the horizon. We left as we had come, hand in hand, but now sated of our hunger (of a culinary nature, at least).

All writing contained in this website 1998-2005 by Betty A. Parker