Friday, September 28, 2018

Tea Lovers' Book Club: "A Literary Tea Party" by Alison Walsh

Summary: You have to love a cookbook that was inspired by a blogger (!) who was asked to turn her "Alison's Wonderland Recipes" blog into a book. And if you're a book geek as well as a tea lover, this charming cookbook is a must for your library.

My thoughts: The author has created recipes for teatime foods and beverages inspired by classic literature, including favorites like Anne of Green Gables and The Wizard of Oz and Little Women. For those who enjoy hosting themed tea parties, the author helpfully includes menus for entire themed teas, such as Alice's Mad Tea Party, Aslan's Feast (inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia), and Murder Most Delicious: A Detective Tea Party, which features recipes inspired by Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. As a writer, I thoroughly enjoyed a couple of the author's observations about food in books. She writes, "If we pay close attention, we'll notice that bread in books is rarely eaten alone. Instead, it is almost always shared, be it among family at a dinner table or fireside companions on a lonely trail." She also notes that desserts "are often connected to characters' emotions." How intriguing!

The judgment: This is such a clever idea for a cookbook, and I found quite a few recipes I want to try. The Blood Orange Scones (from "The Five Orange Pips" by Arthur Conan Doyle ) are going to be tempting once blood oranges are in season, and Arrietty's Mini Cherry Cakes (from The Borrowers by Mary Norton) are so elegant (and easy!) that I can already see these on my table at a Christmas tea.

For discussion:

• Do you hold themed teas? I have held seasonal teas and Royal Wedding teas but no themed teas. I'm thinking I need to consider a literary tea. (Possibly soon!)

• Do you find yourself thinking about the food in books? One time, I was reading a book that made some barbecue sound absolutely delicious. Now I'm not a big barbecue fan at all, but after reading about barbecue, I suddenly was eager to visit a local barbecue joint that night. Is it the power of suggestion? Or is it just that we're so easily influenced when we're hungry?

(Special thanks to NetGalley for the review copy of this book!)

Next Month's Book: The Harlequin Tea Set and other Stories by Agatha Christie


  1. This sounds like a delightful book! I haven't checked into it yet, but it's on my list. Yes, I do notice food descriptions in books, and sometimes they make me hungry!

  2. This is a book I've been wanting to order, so I'm glad you wrote about it today. At the time of my interview at The Whitney, I told the General Manager I thought literary teas would be a good idea. He agreed since Wayne State University surrounds The Whitney. The Harlequin Tea Set piques my interest too, since I just did a program about Agatha Christie and Murder on the Orient Express.

  3. I tried the "Apple of life bites". Not sure my husband bought the right cheese, it was impossible to spread. But I do like apples with cheese, just don't think I'll serve it at a party. I will however, make the "Dragon scale madeleines" for my Witches Tea in late October. I always host theme parties. They are my excuse to play dress ups.


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