Saturday, September 18, 2010
Tea and Books Saturday #38 - "The Pleasures of Tea"
The Pleasures of Tea
By Kim Waller
Hearst Books, 1999
Although I've had Victoria magazine's "The Pleasures of Tea: Recipes and Rituals" for some time now, I'm not sure I've ever actually read it cover to cover, and it is just delightful! One of the first things I learned is that "purists" have a certain way of toasting English muffins. You're not supposed to toast them by slicing them first but rather by cutting a sliver in the side and then toasting them whole. Once they're done, you poke butter in through the slit. I have always split my English muffins and then toasted them, but I like this poke-in-the-butter method and will give that a try next time!
Scattered throughout the book are assorted tea-related tidbits on a variety of topics. One I'd not seen before was a suggestion to use teabags to create "antique" documents by crinkling up a piece of paper, smoothing it back out, then running a hot teabag over the page. Those of you who make homemade soaps might like to know the book recommends adding powdered green tea leaves to your soaps to add a fresh fragrance.
It is, however, the "spirit" of this book I love most. Just as the old Victoria magazine had such a thoughtful, elegant way of describing everyday things, so does this book. Like this: "What turns a drink of tea into an occasion? Often, the cup it is served in — no doubt one reason why so many tea lovers are just as devoted to lovely china as they are to their orange pekoe or lapsang souchong. Collecting can start with the jog of a childhood memory — perhaps a swirl of rosebuds recalls some long-ago cup in which an adored grandmother offered you a bit of sweet, milky tea scented with cinnamon. Soon you're haunting flea markets or scanning the shelves of antique shops …"
There are so many lovely passages in this book I could go on and on, but I won't! Instead I should just mention that the book contains a few dozen recipes as well, for teatime treats such as Rose Petal Jam, Honey Tea Sandwiches, Smoked Salmon Canapés and Iced Lemon Balm Tea. If you're at all sentimental about your teatimes, you will simply adore this book!