Posts tagged ‘wedding’

January 23, 2012

tea scones

my grandfather immigrated to the united states from england when he was four.  i grew up hearing the stories of how his mother lay in the cabin, uncomfortable with motion sickness, while my grandfather played marbles on the floor – watching them roll back and forth with the rocking of the ship.  growing up in the u.s., he eventually lost his accent, but one thing his family kept were their english traditions.  a pot of tea and scones were one of them.  i have eaten these since i was a child, long before the scone became a food fad.  these are in my opinion, closer to the original intent, a far cry from the enormous sugar laden product now offered at a coffee shop.  they are most likely what would have been served for tea at downton abbey (if you are still watching) whether you were dining upstairs, or down, and would have been served with clotted cream and a jam or curd of some sort.   my wedding reception featured a high tea and a friend and i made these by the hundreds one afternoon before the wedding: they are that simple to put together.

scone by the way is pronounced to rhyme with “lawn” not “stone”.

tea scones

2 cups of flour

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 tablespoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/3 cup of dried currants (optional, i rarely use them as it competes too much with the jam i like to serve on the side)

6 tablespoons of butter

1 beaten egg

1/2 cup of milk

1 slightly beaten egg

in a bowl thoroughly stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  stir in the currants, if desired.  cut in butter til the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. add 1 beaten egg and milk, stirring just till the dough clings together.  knead dough gently on lightly floured surface (12-15 strokes).  cut the ough in half.  shape each half into a ball and pat or roll to a 6-inch circle, about 1/2 inch thick.  with a sharp knife, cut each circle into 6 wedges.  place wedges on ungreased baking sheet or baking stone.  do not allow the sides to touch.  brush tops with lightly beaten egg, and bake at 425 until a deep golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.  makes one dozen scones.

note: the key to having them raise nice and high is fresh baking powder and handling the dough as little as possible.

~ from better homes and gardens heritage cookbook

June 26, 2011

remembering seven years ago today…

*reader beware: long sentimental post*

someone once said that upon remembering  a significant event, if the tiny details were the things that stood out the most, then the event was a happy one.  my wedding was a very happy event – i have absolutely no recollection of taking my vows. i had put so much time into researching the wording before deciding on the very traditional: “i jennifer christen, take thee marco luigi…to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, to love and to cherish till death do us part.”  i thought the words were so beautiful just as they had been written hundreds of years ago, i didn’t see any need to update them.  then, reflecting upon my wedding a week afterward, i didn’t even remember having said them.  i did, and still do, remember many of the tiny seemingly insignificant details however, that made up that lovely june day.

~ i remember waking up around 2am and telling myself before going back to sleep “today is my wedding day…”

~ the weather was lovely.  the heat had broken just for the weekend and we had beautiful spring like weather for about 48 hours.

~ my mother insisted on one last family breakfast together before my dad drove me to the church.  i opened a wedding gift from my sister and took a phone call from a well-wishing family friend who also had a question about the finger sandwiches for the afternoon high-tea reception.

~ i remember the drive to the church.  it was just me and my dad.  i don’t remember what we talked about, i just remember the drive and the sunny morning.  i remember he pulled up to the main entrance of the church and helped unload my overnight case from the trunk.

~ one of the first things i saw upon arriving at the church: my childhood friend happily putting the finishing touches on the silk rose and stephanotis petals we had scattered down the aisle.

~ when i got my hair done, i realized i was wearing a t-shirt that i couldn’t change out of without messing the up-do.  my friend and i switched outfits in the church kitchen.  she wore my t-shirt and i wore her vintage dress with a spin out skirt.

~passing through the sanctuary for one reason or another, i recall hearing marco’s voice on the other side of a door.  he sounded happy.

~ i got dressed about three hours or so before walking down the aisle.  it was then i started to get very nervous.  as tradition dictated, i was helped into my dress by my brides maids, but i also wanted my mother there and my littlest sister. littlest sister could not be found.  i panicked.  interestingly enough, four years later at my sister’s wedding this same little sister went awol when it was time to dress the bride.

~ i remember taking my ivory roses, stephanotis, and lily of the valley bouquet out of the florist’s box.

~ i remember standing in the three way mirror and thinking “this is exactly  how i always wanted to look on my wedding day.”

~ i remember holding my ear to the door to listen to “jerusalem” before the bridesmaids started down the aisle.

~ i remember a wedding coordinator who was a force to be reckoned with.  she had told me that i would have a moment before going down the aisle.  i would stand in the foyer, catch my breath, and she would fluff my dress.  then i would start my last walk as miss kuney.  i’m not sure why but this didn’t happen.  i don’t recall seeing the coordinator at all before starting down the aisle.  i do remember the door to the bride’s room opening and seeing a friend holding her little girl across the hall.  she saw me and began to cry.

~ the organ started mouret’s “rondeau” before i was quite ready but i went ahead anyway.  i stood at the door to the sanctuary, took my dad’s arm, and thought “this is it…..” i tried to take it all in.  then i started to cry.

~ i remember thinking i should have practiced walking in my dress at home because the train was. soooo. heavy.

~ i passed by a dear friend who was teary eyed.  i passed by another friend who mouthed “i love you”.  i remember seeing my mom.  the church suddenly felt very small.  i remember the tulle and the yellow light from all the candles.

~ i remember pulling back my veil to kiss my dad goodbye, then i took marco’s hand before going up to the altar.  i was shaking.  everything then became a blur.  my feet started to hurt and i realized i didn’t put two and two together when planning the ceremony: if one wants a long formal ceremony one is going to have to stand through it.  i was grateful i had the presence of mind to switch out my original high heels (which i never wear) for a pair of ballet flats (which i always wear).

~ i do recall the pastor’s charge and he told us to “pray the biggest prayers you can think of to pray….” throughout our marriage.  who knew that just eighteen months (or so) later we would begin our journey through long term primary infertility.  this and the verse read just before we were pronounced man and wife “now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think” were to become very significant over the next several years.

~ i remember being introduced as mr. and mrs. marco cazzola.  the organ began the “tocatta” and i cried again.  all the way back down the aisle.

~ one little flower girl fell asleep at the altar in a perfect ivory tulle poof.  she remained there after the recessional and had to be carried off.  it was priceless.

~ i don’t remember having much to eat at the reception but i remember cutting the cake with the same knife my grandmother used to cut her wedding cake, and that at some point someone handed me a much needed cup of hot tea.

~ we had ordered a horse drawn carriage to take us from the church reception to our car.  as we waited in the foyer to make our exit, my mom came back for a tearful goodbye.  it had just hit her she said, that i was married and actually leaving home.

~ as we left the church to get into the carriage we had doves released from wicker baskets on either side of the doorway.  it was a supremely perfect cinderella-fairytale-moment.


April 26, 2011

favorite things

royal weddings

the first time i saw a photograph of princess diana, she was on the cover of newsweek magazine. i was nine years old and she was still the lady diana spencer.  her hair beautifully coiffed, she had her arms wrapped around the shoulders of the man who would one day break her heart; her hands carefully placed  to show off the famous sapphire ring.

when i learned then,  that this lovely lady was engaged to be married to a real-live prince; upon which she would become a real-live princess, i was enthralled.   some weeks later, on july 29, 1981 at about 3am, i sat with my mother in our living room and watched live, as a pre-school teacher became a princess.  i don’t remember much of the actual ceremony but i do vividly remember the moment that i, along with the rest of the world, caught the first glimpse of her exiting buckingham palace and stepping into the glass carriage that would take her to st. paul’s cathedral.  i remember her veil catching the breeze as she stepped forward, i remember her holding up her billowing skirt and the yards, and yards, and yards of train that were piled in after her.  i remember her gorgeous cascading bouquet.  i remember that for the next hour or so all my mother and i talked about was the beautiful bride in the gorgeous gown.

that introduction to princess diana marked the beginning of several years that i followed her devotedly while i grew up.  i collected magazine clippings and books.  i covered my bedroom bulletin board with princess diana images and paraphernalia.   it is no surprise then, that i well remember the day her first son, prince william was born.  i watched the news as she left the hospital with her little bundle in her arms.  my interest waned some as i became an adult but i caught most of her big moments here and there such as the famous interview where she discussed a crowded marriage.   i remember where i was when i learned that she had died, and then again early one morning, my mother and i sat glued to the tv and watched as she was laid to rest.

i continued to keep up some with the princes william and harry but not much.  by the time kate middleton was receiving significant attention as william’s girlfriend, i had met my own prince charming and was planning my own fairytale wedding (which, as far as i’m concerned, will always be the wedding of the century). now however, some thirty years after the wedding at st. paul’s, i find myself once again eagerly anticipating royal nuptials, this time at westiminster.

like any wedding whether it is one i actually attend, or one i plan to watch propped up in bed, i wonder most what the bride will be wearing.  even as a nine year old, i remember spending the week prior to lady diana’s wedding wondering what sort of a gown a princess would wear.  i was not disappointed.  every little girl loves puffy sleeves and lots of skirt.  while i haven’t had much time to read up on the speculations as to what kate has chosen, i do know that a few designers have been brought forward as possibilities and i even saw a rendition of what elizabeth emmanuel, the one who created diana’s gown, suggested for kate.  will she go with the current trend of a strapless gown?  is that even allowed in westminster abbey?  will she wear her hair up or down?  will she wear a tiara?  will she try to top the length of princess diana’s train? does she even have a choice in any of these details? as a commoner marrying into one of the most famous dysfunctional families in the world, how much say over “her day” does she actually have?

i don’t know that kate’s wedding will spark a lifelong fascination on my part with her wardrobe and her offspring. i doubt that i will follow her with the same fascination as that of her late mother-in-law.    i’m no longer the impressionable nine year old.  life is busy with other things and there is no time for cutting photos out of a magazine. i do though plan to get up at 3am on friday morning in hopes of seeing her make the walk down the aisle at westminster abbey. my husband and i do not currently own a tv and except for special occasions like this one, we rarely miss it; so i am relying on the internet in the hope that i will still be able to watch live.  whether or not i will catch the moment with the rest of the world as before, or  will have to catch up after the moment has happened,  i do plan to catch every possible minute of it. and  i do hope for kate’s sake  that this fairy tale wedding will just be the start of a wonderful marriage where she and her real-live prince will live happily ever after.

April 13, 2011

favorite things

lily of the valley

the first time i wandered through what is now our backyard and discovered lily of the valley growing on the east side, i knew we had found our home.  for years i had tried in vain to get these lovely flowers to grow only to lose them  due either to my inexperience, or the zeal of the neighbor’s lawnmower when he decided to mow for us while we were on vacation one year.  after a few growing seasons i had finally managed to get them started, waiting patiently for those tiny white blooms that do not make their appearance until the second year.  just as they were finally becoming established, we were getting ready to move. i was so disappointed that i would not have the privilege of  finally enjoying those chubby white blossoms.  and then, here they were, a beautiful patch fully established and just beginning to bloom.  it was a signal that life here would pick up just where it had left off.

i have often wondered who started those first few plants.  she knew more than i did when i started mine; that they need some shelter from the afternoon sun.  sadly enough though, the “gardeners”  who proceeded her did not have the same appreciation for them,  as the bed had been invaded by bermuda grass (the curse of the oklahoma gardener).  they needed to be moved before the grass completely choked them out, and they deserved a more prominent location where they could be fully appreciated.   that fall then, i carefully uprooted a few and moved them to the flower bed on the front, east side of the house.

the following spring i hounded the bed for the little green cones poking up through the soil.  i was disappointed to find very few, and disappointed still to find that they really performed very little.  by the end of the season i had let them go, dismissing them as a lost cause.

the other day, as we were leaving for our almost-daily-run, i stopped by this bed as i always do this time of year, just to see how things were coming along.  i cannot tell you how thrilled i was to discover not just the tiny points of the leaves poking through the soil, but the promise of some blossoms as well.  a few days later the number of sprouts had doubled and it looks like we will have lily of the valley after all.  i am tickled.

these flowers  hold great sentimental value to me.  not only do they bloom every year around the time of my birthday, but i carried lily of the valley in my bridal bouquet, numerous little white sprays hovering over my round bunch of ivory roses.  if i recall correctly the florist told me they would be difficult to obtain in june, but somehow she managed to find them.   they were so delicate that by they time we left the church, they had already started to wilt.

someone once pooh-poohed perennials like lily of the valley that bloom for just a time before they are done.  i think their brief appearance though is what makes them so special.  like a dear long-distance friend who comes for an annual visit, they can never be taken for granted.

March 23, 2011

save the date souvenir. it’s on my fridge.  so when people come over, they’ll think we’re actually going.