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posted by TeaHouseTimes Admin, ADMINThursday, February 9th 2012 @ 8:03 PM

Tea parties are a wonderful way to entertain, but in today’s economy, many are hesitant to add the cost of tea party food to the budget.  But, tea parties do not need to be expensive.  There are many ways to trim the cost, and host a fun and affordable party.

One way to do that is to host a “Depression Tea Party”.  Print your invitations by hand using the inside of a brown paper bag.  Cut the bag apart and use the inside for your printing.  Encourage your guests to wear old, patched clothing to help carry out the theme.

Inexpensive party favors and decorations are easily found at Dollar Stores, 99 Cent Stores or Family Dollar Stores.  It’s also amazing what can be found at garage sales and thrift stores.  Many times the article is new, with the original price tag still on it.

You could tie the silverware together with twine or a ribbon cut from burlap.

You may want to watch the video on YouTube, Tacky Tilly gives Tea Etiquette advice for some outlandish tips that you may or may not wish to use, such as using paper towels for napkins and Spam for tea sandwiches.

Scones can be expensive to purchase, but there are packages of scones at places like Costco or Sam’s Club that are reasonably priced.  Scone mixes are easy to make and most packages make 8 or more.

An easy, affordable mock Devonshire Cream can be made simply by combining equal parts of whipped topping and sour cream.  Add sugar if your sweet tooth demands it.

It’s much cheaper to make your own lemon curd than to purchase it.  There are many good recipes for it on the internet.  An easy one is


6 Tbsp. softened unsalted butter, (not melted)

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl, a couple of minutes.  Add eggs and yolks slowly and beat for another minute.  Stir in the lemon juice.  The mixture may look curdled, but it will change as it cooks.

In a heavy based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it becomes smooth.  This will happen as the butter melts.  Increase the heat to medium and carefully cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.  Be careful mixture doesn’t boil or burn at the bottom of the pan.  The curd should leave a path on the back of a spoon and/or reach 170 degrees.

Remove the curd from the heat and stir in the lemon zest.  Pour mixture into a bowl, cover tightly and refrigerate.  It will continue to thicken as it cools.  It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week and in the freezer for two months.

Keep the tea sandwiches simple and your budget will smile.  Egg salad or tuna salad is always acceptable.  You can get many sandwiches from a cucumber and a small package of cream cheese. Then, perhaps a few slices of turkey or ham (whichever is on sale), lettuce and tomato on a small roll.  Tea sandwiches should be small and on a variety of breads, or at least a variety of shapes.  An orange slice and small green salad will complete that course and yet keep the cost at a minimum.  A casserole could replace tea sandwiches in your main course.  Macaroni and cheese, made from a box mix would be very inexpensive and in keeping with the theme. 

Fun names for the items on your menu will also help carry out the theme.  Poor Man’s Casserole, the Blue Plate Special, and Bargain Bologna Sandwiches are just a few examples.

Desserts also should be small.  A small dish of ice cream and cookie or Brownie for instance should suffice.   Bread pudding could be made from all the left over bread from the tea sandwiches, and named “Waste Not, Want Not Pudding.”

To keep the party on a positive note your tea party should be the celebration of the end of the Depression/Recession and talk about all the things you can do again, now that the good times are coming back.  Your guests will have so much fun; they’ll want to come back, too!


Special thanks to Maxine's Mystery Tea Parties for sharing these ideas and the entertaining video with Tacky Tilly!  See for more great ideas and tea party mystery plans.



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