While royal watchers await the birth of Kate and William’s first child, friends of the Osterhout Library will get together to sip tea, nibble on a traditional dessert known as an “Eton Mess,” and collect baby items for local newborns in need.
“We had a Downton Abbey tea (a few months ago) and somebody said, ‘Gee, it would be nice to do this again,’ ” librarian Sandra Schimmel said, explaining how the Osterhout Library staff decided to have another British-influenced event.
Games will be played, refreshments will be served and, because it’s a shower, gifts will be collected.
“This is strictly optional,” Schimmel said, “but anybody who wants to can bring an item for a baby. It could be clothing, diapers, baby powder and lotions or baby wipes. It doesn’t have to be big and expensive.”
Now don’t expect these items to be bundled up and shipped to Buckingham Palace, or Nottingham Cottage, where the parents-to-be stay when they are in London.
The royal baby, said to be due in mid-July, will have plenty of clothing, toys, supplies and, of course, nappies to cover, as they might say in Britain, the little one’s royal bum.
The gifts people bring to the library will be taken to Hannah’s Hope, a West Side shelter for women and children, to benefit the mothers and newborns there.
“There are babies there that are a lot less fortunate,” Schimmel said.
Refreshments to be served at the Osterhout tea will likely include scones, cake as well the “Eton Mess,” which has a storied tradition.
“According to legend, the dessert originated at Eton College, where Prince William and Prince Harry went to school,” Schimmel said. “They serve it every year, right before the big cricket match with Harrow, their biggest rival.”
The dessert was meant to be a cake, Schimmel said, but “somebody’s puppy got a little too enthusiastic and crushed the meringue.”
A creative cook came to the rescue by adding cream and berries to the crushed cake and mixing it all up — for a delicious, if somewhat “messy” result.