Saturday, September 11, 2010
Tea and Books Saturday #37 - "Tea Time: An afternoon tea primer"
Tea Time: An Afternoon Tea Primer
Gooseberry Patch, 1996
This week's book is really more of a booklet (it's just 34 pages), but it's such a delightful little thing I decided to go ahead and mention it here. If you're familiar with the Gooseberry Patch mail order catalog and publications, then you already have a good idea of the whimsical drawings that surround the text in this booklet. It is simply packed with sweet images of teapots and teacups and teabags galore. But what I realized after reading this book through again is that it features what I consider true "must-have" items for a basic tea party, including some of their sandwich choices — Cucumber Sandwiches, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Egg Salad Sandwiches. And the authors are very specific about how to prepare these sandwiches: "Tea sandwiches should be oh-so-dainty, delicate and bite-sized. Bread for sandwiches may be cut in hearts, stars, rounds, diamonds or any shape that fits a theme party. When preparing sandwiches, allow for at least six per guest."
The book also includes a recipe for Basic Cream Scones, with suggestions for additions such as citrus zest, semi-sweet chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, etc. "No tea party is complete without scones!" they say, and who of us would disagree with that! The book also includes recipes for Lemon Curd and Homemade Devonshire Cream to accompany the scones. Sweet treats are covered as well, such as Tiny Tartlets with either pecan or apple-raisin filling, Spicy Ginger Cookies, Victoria Jam Cake and more.
There are tidbits about decorating the table, such as this one: "Collect a variety of different teacups to serve in … big ones, little ones, flowery ones, striped ones. Hit the garage sales and second-hand shops! And while you're there, pick out a stack of old hankies. With a good laundering and a hot iron, they add nostalgia and make swell napkins at your tea table. Remember, everything doesn't always have to match!"
This book would be especially great for those new to teatime, but it is such a pleasant reminder of the joys of taking tea that I think *any* tea lover would enjoy it. And since it's small and inexpensive, it would make a great tea party favor as well. Go here to see the book and more fun things from Gooseberry Patch. (Just noticed they have a "Coffee & Tea" cookbook in this series as well. Anyone read that? Hmmm ...)
UPDATE: While this book is no longer available on their site, see Gooseberry Patch's comment below for where to find it. Good luck!