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Tea Time

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For something different, stop by the White Gardenia antique and gift store, where tea parties are held Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 2 to 4 p.m.

You can come alone or with your friends or your little girl for an afternoon (re)treat. Some of the loose-leaf teas offered are organic peach nectar white tea, English breakfast tea, and chamomile lavender tea. Guests are served their own teapot and enjoy little treats -- scones with Devonshire cream, cheese and crackers, mixed nuts, seasonal fruit, and dessert -- on mismatched but theme-specific china. (Spring flowers tops the list pattern themes.)

Reservations are required two days in advance. Cost per person, including tax, is $14.95.

White Gardenia, 820 S. Cooper

(722-9199)

Bratwurst is to Germans what barbecue is to Memphians. You can get a taste of that traditionally German sausage during the bratwurst cooking contest being held at the Grand Krewe of Luxor's Second Annual Oktoberfest, which is not in October at all but this Saturday, April 22nd, from noon to 6 p.m. at the Agricenter.

The word "Bratwurst" is derived from the type of meat used to make it -- Brät (and not from the way it is commonly prepared, which is braten, to roast or to grill). Wurst means "sausage." Bratwurst can be made out of different types of minced meat, but the original German bratwurst is made out of minced pork and a marjoram spice mix.

The very popular Nurnberger Rrostbratwurst is relatively small -- just over half an inch in diameter. Legend has it that the sausages were made small because the only chance prison inmates had at a bite of the meaty delicacy was to get it smuggled through a keyhole. Another story is that innkeepers preferred the bratwurst to be small so they could pass it through the keyhole to hungry peddlers who traveled through town after curfew.

You probably won't have to worry about fitting the bratwurst through a keyhole at the Oktoberfest cooking contest, and if you don't feel like cooking you can watch the celebrity bratwurst-eating contest or compete for best German costume and best German booth.

Na dann mal ran an die Wurst!, as they say in Germany.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Shelby Residential and Vocational Services (SRVS). For more information, call 751-1505 or visit www.luxor4kids.org.

If you're in the mood for Italian there's the Festa Italian Wine Dinner, this month's Tuesdays on the Terrace wine tasting and dinner at the Memphis Botanic Garden. The event will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and is $65 for members and $75 for nonmembers. Space is limited. For reservations, call 685-1566 ext. 130.

Memphis Botanic Garden,

750 Cherry Road (685-1566)

Have a sweet tooth? Try Mrs. Mamie's Bakery. It's not an actual bakery/pastry shop, however. Mamie Beck has been baking sweet things for school events, bake sales, and family and friends from her home kitchen for more than 25 years. Last November, her daughter, Danita, joined her, and now the two are baking up a storm and offering the results by special order.

The menu features items such as cheesecakes made from secret family recipes. "Legend" is the original recipe -- a chilled, creamy delight covered with sprinkles of graham cracker crumbs and sugar. According to the Becks, some cheesecake connoisseurs prefer to freeze the cake and eat it slightly thawed. Cheesecake flavors also include available as key lime, honey almond, chocolate, and a savory variation.

Mamie's offers much more, including German chocolate, coconut, and caramel cakes. Desserts cost between $20 and $35. For a copy of Mamie's menu, e-mail mamiesbakery@yahoo.com or call 725-7187.

If you'd like to be more DIY, Williams-Sonoma in Germantown is offering cooking classes. A class on side dishes will be held on April 25th and 27th. In three hours, you'll learn how to prepare braised mushrooms and cream, ginger-glazed vegetables, au gratin dishes, and more. The cost for the class is $25. Call to register.

Williams-Sonoma, 7615 Farmington (737-9990)

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