Women love having the opportunity to get together and "chit chat." And when they combine that chatter with great food and/or treats, it can be a recipe for enjoyment.
Two upcoming Nevada activities will offer this type of enjoyment – one in the form of a brunch; the other in the form of a tea.
This Saturday, the Nevada Senior Center will be the site of a "Conversations & Serenades Spring Brunch," for which tickets have been purchased ahead of time and are sold out, due to the popularity of the event. For those who would like to take a peek at the beautifully decorated tables, doors will be open from 10-10:30 a.m. on April 20 for public viewing. The brunch itself starts at 10:30.
Then, on Saturday, May 11 (Mother’s Day Weekend), community members are invited to take part in the Victorian High Tea, put on by the Nevada Historical Society at the Dyer-Dowell House. May 6 is the deadline to reserve tickets - $15 each – for the event, and only 24 seats are available. Call Jane Nading at 515-290-4217 to reserve a ticket. The tea begins at 2 p.m.
Brunch, according to the website: brunchdc.blogspot.com, is thought to have originated in Britain in the late 19th century as a student slang term. The British magazine, Punch, reported in 1896: "To be fashionable nowadays we must ‘brunch.’ Truly an excellent portmanteau word … indicating a combined breakfast and lunch." Brunch was also associated with those who liked to stay up late on Saturdays, known as "carousers."
According to Evan Jones, author of "American Food: The Gastronomic Story," brunch became popular in the United States around 1930 in Chicago. It was a popular meal of movie stars, celebrities and the wealthy who were taking transcontinental train rides and stopped off in Chicago between trains for a late morning meal. Sunday brunch became popular in this country following World War II.
The main course of this year’s senior center brunch is Barb Kenney’s Overnight Asparagus Strata, which won a blue ribbon last year in the Cockadoodle-do Casserole Contest at the Iowa State Fair. Along with that, there will be muffins, kringla, spring fruit cups and coffee, for which there will be a variety of "flavored stir-ins" at the tables.
The theme is spring, so each table will be decorated in that manner. Jane Nading, who has worked with both the brunch and the tea, is excited about the decorations on the table she is preparing for Saturday’s brunch.
"My table will have a blue-and-white China, a cobalt blue goblet, baby blue napkins and a blue table cloth," she said. "My centerpiece will be chocolate mint (the herb) and it will be displayed in a casserole dish."
Women participating in the Senior Center Brunch have been busy in the days ahead of the event, preparing parts of the meal, some of which are made, then frozen, and later thawed to be cooked fresh the morning of the brunch. They were also busy Monday polishing heirloom silver, which will be used with the meal.
Musical entertainment will be provided by the Happy Homebodies 4-H Club. Funds raised from ticket sales support the senior center and other local organizations.
The tea, which hails from the wealthy classes of England around the 1840s, will be a lavishly decorated event, featuring many things of a Victorian style – like lace tablecloths, antique China and porcelain dishes. It is a very dressy affair. Nading said many who attend wear beautiful hats and their finest dresses.
Anna Marie Russell, Duchess of Bedford, is the person primarily credited for transforming the afternoon tea - low tea, in England. She had come to London in the mid-1800s and invited her friends to visit, sending them a hand-delivered card about the date and time she would be at home, and then having them return that card to accept her invitation.
Nading said from what she’s read, scones were added as a popular treat of teas around 1859. It is also interesting to note that at one point in history, two American women, Lucita Stratton and Patricia Mott of Seneca, New York, planned the first convention on women’s voting rights and wanted it to be a tea party. "They were told in no uncertain terms that politics weren’t allowed at these events. These were friendly events," Nading said.
The fare of the Nevada Historical Society will include delicious sweets, including the very popular scone, and of course, will feature tea. Maxine Harms, coordinator of the tea, said this is the fourth Historical Society Tea, which is one of six fundraising events that the Historical Society puts on each year.
Because it’s happening on Mother’s Day weekend, it’s a great opportunity for mothers and daughters and other female relatives to enjoy time together. The tea will feature the popular chitter chatter, along with a fun program.
A brunch and a tea are two great events that naturally draw the community’s women. So if you missed your chance at this weekend’s brunch, be sure to call right away and reserve tickets for the tea.