Women and their Work

Why Not a Tea Room?

Carefully planned and run, it may be a source of both pleasure and profit

ARLEIGH JEAN CORBETT August 15 1927
Women and their Work

Why Not a Tea Room?

Carefully planned and run, it may be a source of both pleasure and profit

ARLEIGH JEAN CORBETT August 15 1927

Why Not a Tea Room?

Women and their Work

Carefully planned and run, it may be a source of both pleasure and profit

ARLEIGH JEAN CORBETT

IF you live in a small town, in the country, or even on the outskirts or certain residential parts of a big city, there are possibilities for running a tearoom in your home. It will give you a splendid new interest and you can make money if you go at it in the right way. Really good tea rooms where the food is excellent and the surroundings attractive are always appreciated, but it is just those two factors that will make it a success or failure.

If your home is large enough to afford a good room for your enterprise, even though you live in the quiet of the country, so long as you are near a main motor road, you will attract motorists and hiking parties. If they are really pleased they will remember and return, or tell others, and your tea room will soon become popular. Of course running a large tea room in the downtown district of a city is a different matter. There one puts it on a professional basis and has to give it all one’s time, and the decoration, food and other attractions are on an entirely different scale from those suggested in this article.

You may go into catering to a greater or less extent just as you like. You may serve the lightest afternoon teas, branch into luncheons or you may be able to give dinners and late supper parties. If you serve only tea and toast, weary and chilled motorists will not forget it if the tea is delicious, the toast crisp and hot and the atmosphere pleasant.

An attractive outdoor sign is a help. A slip-shod ordinary board announcing a tea room may be passed with indifference, but a freshly-painted even simple

sign if it is distinctive, will draw attention pays to have an artist make you a unique and artistic sign in colors and design that suit the name you may have chosen. However the sign is something that will only attract people for the first time, your cuisine must bring them back a second or many times.

Choosing a Name

rT'HE name you choose is -*• important, too. Of course you may decide just to call it a ‘Tea Room,’ but if you want a particular name don’t choose one that has been used over and over again. Every one is tired of ‘Mary Janes’ and ‘Copper Kettles’; ‘Green Cats’ and ‘Blue Dogs.’ We are also weary of sentimental flower names that have become very common, such as the ‘Wild Rose’ and ‘Forget-me-not.’ Try to think of a name that is attractive but not common—a flower if you like, but one that has a touch of originality and is in character with your location or aims. Suppose you have decided to call it ‘The-Black-Eyed-Susan,’ then naturally your decorations will be yellow and black, or deep brown, and

this combination can be carried out in ycur dishes and table appointments.

The Room and Color Scheme

IF possible, choose a room with a fireplace. Nothirg is more cheering to tired and hungry motorists than a lively open fire. It will even pay you to have a fireplace built, but if you cannot afford tha ' at first and have not central heating, an old fashioned stove, if it is clean and bright, and has a glowing fire, is very cosy. A stone or brick fireplace is pretty in the country. See that it is made with good .ornaments, perhaps a clock, a pair of candle-sticks, or a bowl of flowers.

Next you must plan your color scheme. Be as original as you can without being freaky or outstepping the bounds of good taste. If your room is north and has no sunlight, choose a warm color such as yellow, certain greens, reds, mulberry and warm browns; if sunny, you can choose cool colors such as grey, blue, lavender, light green or rose. Of course there are rooms that are neither extremely sunny nor dull, in which a combination of a warm and cool color is good. Such combinations as blue and rose, apple green and lavender, yellow and brown, red and grey, orange and black, copper and old blue are effective.

Plain walls are always good and lend themselves to a change in decoration more easily than a figured

paper, but such pretty patterns in wall-paper can now be bought inexpensively that you can get delightful figured paper to carry out your color scheme.

Curtains are all-important. If your wall-paper is plain, then you may have figured curtains in the colors you have chosen for your room. There are chintzes, cretonnes, brocades, and striped silks that are lovely, but if you don’t want anything so expensive there are pretty checked ginghams, muslins, voiles in all colors and designs. If your walls have figured paper then your curtains will be better plain. Sun-fast casement cloth comes in all shades. Even factory cotton may be dyed or stencilled to suit your room.

Do not bother about a large rug. Plain hardwccd floors are better for a room where crumbs are liable to fall and can more easily be kept spotless. One gay rug in front of the fire-place or one in front of the buffet or high-boy is cheery and it may be inexpensive. One of the homemade braided rugs, if it is in the right colors, would be suitable. One can now buy simple and pretty small oval rugs in quaint designs and beautiful colorings. Unless your room is very rich in character, oriental iugs are out of place.

The tables and chairs and other furniture may be as simple as possible. Even unpainted natural woed is pretty if kept clean. The greatest charm of your table will be in the linen, dishes, flowers and lamps. A Welsh dresser or some of those pretty hanging wall shelves to hold your prettiest dishes are decorations in themselves. A piano, radio or phonograph is an asset, for people may like a little music, and dancing is often enjoyed.

Be very careful in your choice of pictures. Unless you have pictures that are good, not necessarily expensive, do not have any. In any case, don’t' have many. One or two really interesting and pretty pictures are better than a wall made spotty and unrestful by too many. Copies of good things in simple frames are not expensive and if you have no knowledge of pictures yourself, let some one who has, choose them for you, letting him or her know the character and coloring of your room.

You will have a broad choice of linens. You may also have a great deal cf pleasure in making sets and pieces for your tables. Of course, plain white linen damask if spotless is always in perfect taste, but charming sets of small pieces can be embroidered or banded in color and they are very easy to launder. Choose dishes that suit the color scheme. Attractive china is a drawing card. Colored glassware is most effective in goblets, salad-plates, sherbet glasses, candle-sticks and lamps. Rows of colored glass will quite set off the Welsh dresser or the hanging shelves.

Vases for the flowers on each table are better

tu a plain color. Lamps of simple pottery, or glass with shades to match, should be on each table. Candlesticks may be found to suit the table appointments and candles give a soft becoming light and an air of intimacy.

Tea-room hostesses often make money by selling pieces of china or colored goblets which are used in the shop, it is becoming a fad to collect such pieces and each piece you sell is an advertisement for you, as well as a source of income.

The costumes of those who serve the tables are best kept uniform, preferably in colors in keeping with the decorations. Crisp white aprons, caps and cuffs, and neat black or white pumps complete a smart appearance.

Capital and Budgeting

rHESE suggested decorative schemes are of course only possible when you have a little capital to begin with, but you will be astonished at what a small capital it may be. For less than $250.00, providing you have the large room, you may equip it and be off to a good start. Here is a tried budget for an attractive four-table t?a-room.

Furnishings:

Curtains, Muslin or voile in two colors—(Cream with colored ruffles)

three windows...........................................$ 4.00

Rugs, two braided in colors to match one in front of Welsh dresser,

one near door ........................................... 10.00

Tables, four small, unpainted................................... 12.00

Welsh Dresser, one unpainted ................................ 15.00

Hanging Shelves unpainted, (two).............................. 4.00

Chairs—twenty—unpainted .................................. 30.00

Paint for these, two colors ................................... 5.00

Linen—four oblong pieces and four napkins to each table, one set— thirty-two pieces—

One set cream linen bound in color (home made) .................. 6.00

Two extra sets—coarse linen, colored borders ................... 10.00

One dozen linen dish towels.................................... 3.00

Vases, Candle-sticks and lamps—

Six vases in plain color ....................................... 4.00

Six Candle-sticks in plain color ............................... 5.00

Two lamps—plain pottery base .............................. 10.00

Plants and candles........................................... 1.00

China—

Two dozen tea plates, (English semi-porcelain, cream with raised

design in color)................... 6.00

Two dozen bread and butter plates.......■...................... 4.00

Three dozen cups and saucers ................................. 9.00

Two dozen goblets (pale colored glass).......................... 6.00

Two dozen sherbet glasses (pale colored glass) ................. 5.00

Two dozen sherbet plates (pale colored glass) -................... 5.00

Eight bread and cake plates .................................. 5.00

One-half dozen small tea pots.................................. 4.00

One-half dozen coffee pots ..................................... 3.00

One dozen cream pitchers .................................... 3.00

One-half dozen hot water pitchers ............................. 2.00

Six sugar bowls.............................................. 2.00

One dozen soup bowls or bouillon cups ......................... 2.00

One dozen ramekins ......................................... 2.00

Miscellaneous—• ............................................. 5.00

Silver and Cutlery—Simple design in fairly good plated ware—

Two dozen Forks, two dozen Forks (larger), two dozen Knives, (dinner;, two dozen Knives (tea), one dozen Soup Spoons, four

dozen TeaSpoons and Six Table Spoons ..................... 30.00

Kitchen Utensils—

Two Tea kettles—six aluminum sauce pans, six small frying pans,

jars—two dish pans, etc., two double boilers :................ 30.00

Total $242.00

Now for the girl who has no capital at all to begin with. Perhaps you haven’t even an allowance, but can make use of things at home or you may be a farmer’s wife and can easily begin by using the furniture and dishes you already possess. .Just make up your mind to have such delicious food that it is an event to your patrons, and in time you will have enough money to buy furniture, decorations and dishes that it will delight your heart to choose and arrange.

In most houses there are usually a few small tables or stands that you can tre,at to a coat of paint, cheap folding cardtables can be used at first or even your own dining table. Arrange to use your prettiest dishes. If you have not gas or electricity, invest in an oil-stove as soon

as possible, so that you can make tea quickly when unexpected guests arrive.

At first you may have to draw on house supplies for food and in the next part of the article dealing with food we have suggestions and budgets for buying and serving.

Menus and Catering

YOU have now the other part to consider—a part justjis important, even more so, than decoration, and that is the food.

Here are suggestions for things easily prepared to serve at the tea-hour. Plain toast, toasted muffins, cinnamon toast, cheese toast.

Sandwiches—All year round, brown or white bread. Soft cheese and cress; ham and lettuce; tuna fish and catsup; ground nuts and mayonnaise; figs; nuts and raisins; honey; ground olives; asparagus rolls.

Special summer sandwiches—Cucumber and tomatoes, Endive and mayonnaise.

Salads

SALADS are most important. They are something that call for imagination and an artistic eye as well as care.

A salad that is prettily arranged with an eye to its colors and combinations is half made; the other half is freshness and flavor. Never use limp, poorly washed lettuce, or anything that has stood for some time and lost its flavor. The quality of the mayonnaise is important. Many Canadians unfortunately do not like oil dressing; for such people cooked mayonnaise is needed but see that it has some picquancy of flavor. French dressing is quickly made and can be kept indefinitely in a cool place. Use a good quality of olive oil, lemon juice, cider or tarragon vinegar, and paprika, and, for some salads, a touch of Worcester sauce. Whipped cream dressings are good for fruit salads.

Easy Salads for Luncheons or Teas

Y^RESS; cream-soft-cheese and dates; '^'lettuce; soft cheese and white cherries; lettuce; celery, apple and pimento; lettuce; grapefruit and figs; lettuce; sliced pineapple; cheese and maraschino cherries; tuna fish and chopped celery on lettuce; tomato jelly and shrimps on lettuce; pineapple; oranges; marshmallows and nuts in various combinations.

Special Summer Salads—Head lettuce leaves; about six large strawberries; soft white cheese; mayonnaise with whipped cream added. Lettuce; sliced tomatoes; sardines and cress. Endive; cheese balls and radishes. Pineapple, strawberries and marshmallows. Lettuce; cucumbers; sliced Spanish onion and Roquefort cheese, French dressing.

Popular Luncheon Dishes

Rice and cheese in casserole (cooked like macaroni and cheese) ; corn and cheese souffle; Macaroni and cheese and green peppers; Escalloped salmon; Egg poached on nest of spinach on toast; grated cheese and paprika on top.

Desserts that are always appreciated— Jellies with whipped cream; Fruit or nuts added to jelly; Ginger cake smothered in whipped cream; Tapioca cooked in canned raspberry juice with whipped cream and raspberries all ice cold; Apricot whip with nuts.

Frozen desserts—Ice cream, sherbets, mousse, Water ice.

A Few Preparation Pointers

'T'HERE are so many don’ts in connection with running a tea-room that one or two may be mentioned. Do not roast meats too quickly or heat a roast the second time. Often one gets roasted meat that is so flavorless one suspects that it has been boiled before roasting to make it tender or get the juice for soup. Camouflage will never really pay. Use the best of everything and charge enough to make it pay, and it will pay. Of course over-charging is a policy that will queer your tea-room too.

Be careful to buy the best coffee and grind it fresh every day. Ground coffee becomes rancid very quickly when kept in tins or jars.

Bake one fresh cake a day—Keep on

hand, good fruit cake, ‘rocks,’ date cookies, figs, and nut cookies.

Never buy foods in large quantities. It doesn’t pay and it can’t be said too often that freshness of food is more than half the battle. Even flour and meal deteriorate.

It is better to have one or two really delicious items on your menu and change from day to day, than a great variety at one time.

There are certain things you may always have ready to use at once such as a good brand of canned soups, and of course you may always add to these your own stock of water in which vegetables have been cooked as long as it is fresh. Canned tuna fish, shrimps, asparagus tips, pimentoes, sardines, chicken, sliced pineapple, white cherries, figs, can be bought in excellent brands and used for salads at a moment’s notice.

If you cook a ham Virginia style it will keep for days, but other cooked meats soon lose their flavor and should be used within a day or two. Try to arrange your menus so there are no left-overs to be wasted.

A Little Psychology

TF you have assistants to wait, do not

let them be too talkative and see 1hat they are gentle and quiet in their movements. Also be very particular that they are immaculate, particularly their hands and nails.

For summertime, the garden is an attractive spot to set the tables and summer menus are naturally of a different character. Be lavish in the use of ice, its tinkling adds allure to any summer drink. If you have tree houses in your garden that attract birds and squirrels it will be an added interest for your guests. Many people like pets and if you have a friendly, well-behaved dog or pussy it gives a homey air to the place.

Be a student of psychology: study your patrons and pamper them. You will find that running a successful tea-room is a great interest, a chance to study personalities and human nature, and to express your own ideas in decoration and the balancing of excellent meals. The extra money you make is stimulating to say the least.