Nov. 22, Feast of St. Cecilia, married virgin and martyr. She is patroness of composers, martyrs, music, musicians, musical instrument makers, poets, and singers.
In climes farther north, it's still barely autumn. The crops are all harvested; the birds are flown; everyone tucks in quietly with their winter stash of soul-stuffing foods; all that is left is to wait.
Now is the waiting time, a perfect preparation and meditation on the coming Advent. Before the preparations close in on us and make us lose sight of the essence of the coming holidays, November gives us time to rest and reflect; and also to kindle hearts with old friends at a bountiful table, with the hot tea kept flowing, and the cakes and conversation abundant.
I'm most pleased as as a hostess to stand apart and wait on my guests. Maybe it's because of my college days as a waitress, but I have my own self-imposed standards of hospitality, especially at a tea party. I don't want to sit, eat, or drink until everyone is served, content, nearly finished. It's rewarding to me to see my friends and guests enjoying themselves, and I don't necessarily have to be in the center of that.
I had my help, of course! My little spirit sister rose eagerly to attend to me in the kitchen whenever asked, and a talented woman who works at the childcare center with me made this cake for us au gratis . . . I couldn't believe her generosity! She runs a business from home called Secret Recipe Cakes. If you're local, you must commission her! Moist and thick pumpkin cake with silky pumpkin mouse topped with chai butter-cream frosting and fondant sunflowers. I knew it would taste amazing, and it didn't disappoint.
*made by me
~ made by friends
rye cocktail bread with pumpkin cheese spread
red velvet cake truffles
pumpkin butter* and crackers
candy corn cupcakes~
carrot and parsnip*
Miss Cathy's Ruby Jubilee Salad,
with cranberries, almonds, feta, and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing*
Miss Cathy's almond chicken salad* on a croissant
brie and apricot jam on a croissant
blueberry crumble cake~
pumpkin cake with pumpkin mousse filling and chai butter-cream iciing~
natural stevia, pure maple syrup, honey, and/or agave nectar
My little friends (not so little anymore!) brought me hostess gifts of November-themed illustrations in delicate frames to accent my decor. The younger one made blueberry crumble bread and candy corn cupcakes. Their mother gave me a tea cup with a dainty doily and hand-crocheted pot holder. She gave me six delicate tea spoons from her own collection about six months earlier. My adopted godmother brought me a sweet-smelling holy oil, blessed by a priest renowned for the gift of healing. I'm grateful for it in these days of on-and-off illness. My mother loaned me her sweet Thanksgiving china and autumn tea pot.
But the best gifts of all were the gifts of their company, of their presence. Of the old friends brought together with new friends, whether in actuality or in spirit.
A blessed and cozy November to you!