Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kitchen Klutz: It's magic!

Photos by Joe Maniscalco

By Michèle De Meglio

Every little girl has a tiny faux porcelain tea set. I had three.

Considering my childhood love of tea parties, in retrospect, it’s surprising that I never enjoyed tea sandwiches during my gatherings with Barbie and Skipper, and sometimes my brother’s G.I. Joe.

Looking to right the wrongs of my seven-year-old self, I set out to host a lovely tea party complete with traditional tea sandwiches and some of my own crazy creations. But this time, Barbie was nowhere in sight.

Ditching the blonde doll, I sought inspiration from the Mad Hatter in “Alice in Wonderland” and donned a kooky top hat covered with silver sequins and a matching sparkly top. With some gold star confetti and strange magical music, I was set for the best tea party ever!

For my special soiree, I made three different kinds of tea sandwiches. (These ’wiches required less cooking and more assembling but the fun was in the preparation.)

The first ’wich was the tea party staple — cucumber. I mixed chives with a dollop of cream cheese and spread a thin layer on a slice of white bread, then topped that with cucumber bits I shaved off using a veggie peeler.

For the second sandwich, I combined milk and cream cheese to make a thinner, smoother spread. After putting that on a piece of bread, I added cubes of pineapple.

The final ’wich featured the same white bread and thinner spread but added fresh black figs.

Verdict: I don’t understand the appeal of tea sandwiches. They’re ridiculously mushy and made with icky white bread.

The creamy pineapple concoction seemed like something I would have made in second grade. That was a time when my “cooking” consisted of mashing leftover school lunches into a half-empty milk carton. Yes, I was a weird kid. No, I didn’t eat the gross creation.

The fig ’wich was the best of the bunch but that’s only because I’m unbelievably obsessed with figs. It’s like eating spoonfuls of sugar! Another thing I did as a kid. Told ya I was weird.

Next time, I’ll ditch the white bread and cream cheese and just devour a handful of sweet black figs. Now that’s magical!

Kitchen Klutz follows 20-something Michèle De Meglio as she burns casseroles and her fingers, all in hope of trading frozen dinners for home cooking.

Creamy fig tea sandwiches


4 slices white bread
2 tbsp. cream cheese

4 black figs

1/4 cup milk 


To make two tea sandwiches, combine cream cheese and milk. Spread mixture on bread. Top with sliced figs and cover with another slice of bread. To serve, cut off crusts and cut sandwiches into small triangles.


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