Monday, November 14, 2011

EAT: Charlotte Turgeon Tea

If there was one thing my time at Smith taught, it was a love for tea time.
Second year: Argyle and Earl Grey.

While at school there was a tradition of Friday Afternoon Tea, where each house would gather in their living room at 4pm, and snack on treats and drink tea.

The chefs always made the best finger foods to prep our stomachs for dinner (at 5:30pm sharp), the "bad" days we were stuck with just an assortment of cut fruit, cheese and crackers and the "good" days at cream puffs or cannolis. I know, we were spoiled.

Senior Year: Cashmere and English Breakfast.

The "best" tea time was when we got to go to either the Alumnae House or President's House. Each year the houses (3 at a time) where invited to the Alumnae House for a delicious tea and inter-house mingling. The President also hosts a tea for each class year on a yearly basis- complete with chocolate dipped strawberries- at her gorgeous home overlooking our pond.

Note the college plates in the cabinet

Well, now that I am an alum I don't get tea on a weekly basis (probably better for my hips that way) but I do get to go to events at the Alumnae House still (it is after all, my house now). Yesterday, it was the Hampshire County Club's annual Charlotte Turgeon Tea.

Tea cups for grabs

Charlotte Snyder Turgeon graduated with a major in Italian Language and Literatures in 1934, and soon after married a French Language and Literatures Professor at Amherst College. She traveled to France while her husband was on sabbatical in Paris, and enrolled in the Cordon Bleu in 1937. She published her first book, a family cook book, in 1949. In 1961 her and Nina Froud, created the first English translation of Larousse Gastronomique (first published in 1938 by Prosper Montagne), the same year her friend Julia Child (1934) published Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Finger sandwiches

Julia Child and Charlotte Turgeon, life long friends since their time at college, had different agendas.
Julia wanted to communicate how wonderful French cuisine was, she said, while she herself had a far more practical purpose.


“When King and I got back from his sabbatical in France, I realized that there were all these young Amherst faculty wives who were scared to death of cooking and had to live on a nickel, the poor things,” Mrs. Turgeon said. “I wrote my cookbooks for them, and others like them. I just wanted to make the cooking part of life intelligible and fun.”

My pretty tea cup for the day

The Alumnae House is so pretty! Check out the gilded mirror below:

Alums love gossip

Of course I had to take a photo in the bathroom (tradition).

I am always smirking

And a time trip:
Senior Year

Bestie and I senior year

And yesterday

Ohlala check out the wall paper.

At the Charlotte Turgeon Tea, Alums are asked to bring in a bone china teacup and saucer to add to the collection. This on had been sitting around our apartment with no love, so it was time to donate.

See you later, teacup!

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