December 12, 2012

Tea for You, and Barbie Too!

By Chris Varaste

I have a favorite childhood memory from my days at The English School of Vienna, where the British staff would, as a daily custom, serve afternoon tea in lieu of lunch. Different from high tea, afternoon tea consists of a light meal served outdoors, preferably in a garden setting. While developing an appreciation for this tasty meal break, I made another discovery — Barbie® doll also enjoys sipping tea in the afternoon!

Garden tea partyNaturally, as a style icon, Barbie takes her enthusiasm for tea parties to fashionable heights. Observing the English custom of dressing for teatime, she decides to host her first tea party wearing this eye-catching party dress.

Her brilliant style choice, the aptly titled Garden Tea Party debuted in 1964, fashioned from a brilliant blood-orange print with the addition of a black bow for an extra dash of drama!

Always a trendsetter, Barbie doll's party look set a modern standard for an afternoon outdoor affair. The dress was simply elegant — conjuring an image of the perfect hostess in a springtime garden perfumed by the intoxicating scents of Alba roses and brewing jasmine leaves.

Invitation to Tea


Two years later, Barbie sent Ken® an Invitation to Tea (1966), a tête-à-tête to honor the launch of her fabulous new 1600 line of fashions. She had reason to celebrate — her teatime ensemble was sublime. The sparkly outfit’s accessories even included a teapot and two teacups — all you need for an afternoon escape!

This year, the tradition continues with the Tea Party® Barbie® Fashion, part of The Barbie Look Collection. The sweet outfit includes a soft and feminine multihued dress with a black hatband and those tried-and-true accessories: A teapot and two teacups, along with an invitation for a special guest. You!


Do you have a delicious teatime snack you’d like to share? Here's one of mine:

Watercress and Goat Cheese Sandwiches:

16 thin slices of cinnamon-raisin bread
2 (5 1/2-ounce) logs of soft fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup chopped watercress leaves
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans watercress sprigs (garnish).

Start by toasting pecans in baking pan at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes, set aside to cool. Mix goat cheese and chopped watercress in mid-sized bowl; salt to taste. Spread the mix over 8 bread slices and top with remaining bread slices. Trim crusts from each slice and cut sandwiches diagonally, then cut in half again. Roll sandwich edges in soft butter. Dip buttered sandwich edges into pecans, lightly pressing the pecans into the butter. Arrange sandwiches on serving platter and garnish with watercress sprigs. Makes 8 sandwiches or 16 halves.


Chris Varaste started out at ABC-TV, producing segments for the Emmys, Tonys & Grammys. A fascination with fashion and pop culture led to his first published book, Barbie: Face of the American Dream – and an appreciation for all things Barbie! His insights on collectibles/brand success have been published in the New York Times, The Economist, and Spotlight Cinema Networks.

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