As the little girls that I occasionally watch know, I’ve been in a tea-party mood lately. Not to imply that Billy the Kid is discouraged; on the contrary, I’m always bribing him with hot chocolate, but while he finds the novelty amusing, his attention holds only through the last bite on his plate, the contents of which he sorts, discards, and consumes in about three minutes. His female buddies, however, instantly appreciate the dainty flowers on my tea set, and are delighted by the banana slices on toothpicks and PB&J petits fors. They ponder and relish, while BK negotiates for eat-on-the-go privilege. I’m disappointed to see this gender distinction appear at such a young age, but I console myself with BK’s constant attempt to steal my Strawberry Shortcake bobble-head. Thankfully, food is unisex, and these are some of my best-received toddler tea party snacks, all so easy that you could still put them together after three or four Long Island Iced’s.
PB&J Petits Fors
Lightly toast 3 slices of white bread and let them cool. Spread one slice with peanut butter and cover with another slice. Spread jelly on that one and cover with the third. Cut the crusts off and discard, then sprinkle a little powdered sugar over the top. Cut the sandwich into four strips, then cut each strip into four squares. Top each square with a chocolate chip. You can put money on the chocolate chips disappearing from every square before anything else on the plate is touched.
Slice a firm but not green banana into 1/2″ rounds. Drop 1/2 tsp of chocolate or vanilla pudding (you won’t even use an entire snack pack) on each slice and top with a berry that your kid isn’t allergic to.
Lay a piece of baked or honey ham flat and cover with a slice of pre-packaged American “cheese,” the only cheese that rolls. Roll it up, cut it into 1″ slices, and spear each with a toothpick. Don’t worry, they won’t poke their eyes out (or you really haven’t been doing a very good job).
Cut the bottom tips off 6 or so large strawberries to give them bases so they can sit upright. Use a melon baller to gut the top halves, taking care not to cut through to the other side. Fill each with a small spoonful of applesauce, and sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on the tops. Take a few Advil ahead of time if shrieking squeals of glee make your head hurt.