Monday, January 19, 2015

Lady Sippington requests the pleasure of....by Sheila Claydon

As I promised, today I'm going to introduce you to Lady Sippington. I met her in Sydney where she was visiting family and I very quickly learned a lot about her.

She lives in Sippington Mansion which is a grand old house with more rooms that Lady Sippington knows what to do with. She says it's a big house for just one person but she does her best because she believes in looking after things. She also has a maid, Miss Chambers, not because she needs looking after because she's quite capable of taking care of herself, but because she believes in traditions, so Miss Chambers keeps the house tidy and makes the tea.

Tea, you see, is Lady Sippington's raison d'être. She knows a lot about tea - how to pour it (right hand on the handle, left hand holding the lid), how to hold it (pinch the teacup handle with finger and thumb and it's pinkie down not pinkie up), and how to serve it (with finger sandwiches, scones and an assortment of delicious cakes on a tiered stand). She can even tell a person's character by the tea they drink. She says a person who likes a strong breakfast blend is steadfast and reliable whereas romantic and creative people choose Earl Grey, and someone who orders extra strong tea with lemon can be stubborn and demanding. Of course I don't know if this is true but you don't argue with Lady Sippington. I mean how can you argue with someone who knows precisely how to serve and eat a scone.

Apparently you have to place the scone on your plate, then break off a piece and apply the cream by turning the spoon over and moving it slowly downwards. You then take the jam spoon and drop the jam on top of the cream.

She knows so much about the different types of tea too. Just recently, when she was hosting afternoon tea at Neiman Marcus White Plains, she happily conversed about Jardin Bleu, Gout Russe, Vanilla Decaffeinated, Green Yellow Lemon, White Anji, Chamomile and even Nutmeg Chai Latte, as well as Breakfast Tea and her beloved Early Gray. I had no idea there were so many and she tells me there are a whole lot more.

I could talk about Lady Sippington all day without doing her justice, so I'm going to let you find out all about her for yourself. You can find her at http://ladysippington.com, where she gives advice about tea and some recipes too if you are interested in serving a real English afternoon tea. If you live anywhere near White Plains, New York of course, you may be able to take tea with her at Mariposa, where she hopes to make it the best teatime experience in Westchester.

With thanks to Nina Daryanani, a tea loving English girl living in New York.



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