Tea Time Stories
As Tasha Tudor's birthday of August 28th approaches, we are talking and dreaming about how we will celebrate this year. In 2008, Clarice Fox-Hughes annointed August 28th as Tasha Tudor Day saying “Really I would love if the whole world would stop and remember her. This could simply be sitting in your garden with a cup of tea, reading her books, doing a sketch or just stopping and smelling the roses. Let us all on Tasha Tudor's birthday remember her and all she has inspired us to live.”
In the fullness of summer, on the longest day of the year, Tasha threw a party. Late June was always peak flower season so at this time of year Tasha invariably heard from friends and admirers requesting a visit to her exquisite garden. Always one for mixing efficiency with pleasure, Tasha decided to host an event every year on the summer Solstice where friends, family, and admirers could come marvel at her vibrant garden while also enjoying live music, dancing, food, and more!
Every year at about this time, we at Tasha Tudor and Family tend to be busy sprucing up Tasha’s garden, giving the Rookery a good spring-cleaning, and preparing nametags for the fortunate folks who will be joining us for tours of Corgi Cottage starting June 9th. There is an air of quiet anticipation and excitement, knowing that soon we will be opening up our doors to friends, old and new, from all over the world, to share the delightful world of Tasha Tudor. It is always such a pleasure to witness the joy that comes over our tour-guests as they experience Corgi Cottage, whether it’s for the first time or the fifth!
I assembled the Tasha Tudor and Family Cookbook: Heirloom Recipes and Warm Memories from Corgi Cottage with the idea that although the receipts are straight-forward enough, the cook and baker's philosophy sometimes is not. My grandmother generally used the same type of food that had been available in her youth: seasonal and pretty basic. I think some of what made her meals so memorable was the care she took to provide an attractive setting for it.
"The customs and traditions that evolved in the Tudor family were sometimes rather unique, but the theme was universal: To be loved, by one another or by life itself, one must love first."
-Tasha Tudor, All for Love
Valentine's Day in the Tudor family was a highly anticipated event each year. As soon as Christmas was over Tasha and her children got to work making hand crafted decorations (such as the Valentine Mobile we'll teach you to make next week!), paper valentines, baked treats and gifts for each other, their friends, and even their dolls!
We've had a lot of cold, rainy days this summer. It's been quite astonishing, really, in stark contrast to the heat of last summer. Then again we have had many beautiful days, sunny, 75 and perfectly pleasant. On days like this it's a shame to be inside, so we take reading outside, work outside, the children and animals outside. We take lemonade and watermelon and iced tea out on the porch. We tell stories outside, laugh, run, swim, pick berries.
A hot, humid, sunny, windless July day invariably brought an extra degree of happiness to Tasha, especially if she was gardening. By July the perfection of a June garden has mellowed into a green and pastel sprawl of perennials and annuals, some still in bloom but also preparing fruits and seeds.
Winter evenings brought to Tasha a quiet expanse of hours between the end of evening chores and bedtime. After the dishes were washed, dried and put away, the goats and chickens fed and watered, corgis walked and the canaries' cage covered with an old grey apron to diminish drafts, Tasha sat in her wooden rocker with the blue wool checked blanket over the back, put her feet up on a chair near the cook stove fender, and wrote letters. She wrote to family, friends, publishers and people she had not met but whose lives and endeavors were of interest to her.
By January the snow on the ground at Tasha’s home in Vermont is here to stay until spring. Tasha was always grateful for the snow and the cold. Her perennials were far more likely to come back in the spring if able to sleep beneath the snow, and the cold killed some of the diseases and troublesome insects that haunt all gardens. Her barn, house and animals were warmer when a nor’easter banked two feet of snow around the foundations and on the roof. She always commented on the beauty of blue shadowed snow immediately after a storm.