Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tea and Books Saturday #27 - "A Little English Book of Teas"

A Little English Book of Teas
By Rosa Mashiter, illustrated by Milanda Lopez
Chronicle Books, 1989

This book was, I believe, a gift from a friend many years ago. Although it's small in size (just 4-1/4 x 6 inches), it's still a great resource for educational information and for recipes! Each of the recipes is accompanied by a charming illustration of the prepared food, but it's the information on all these English treats that makes this book such a unique one.

I love the English way of phrasing things. In the recipe for Lancashire Cheese Scones, the author notes you can "ring the changes" (change the recipe) by using cheeses from different regions in these scones. The recipe for Banana and Walnut Loaf, she says, has "good keeping qualities." Crumpets are described as "delicious round 'holey' scones." Love that!

What I most enjoyed about this little book, however, is the author's explanation of the names and history of some of her teatime treats. Northumberland 'Singin' Hinny,' for instance, is a little flat cake which made a "singing" noise while being cooked on the griddle. Children waiting for their teas "would pester their mothers as to whether it was ready or not, and as the little cakes would be cooking away she would answer them by saying, 'No, no, they're not ready yet, just singin', hinny.'" I also enjoyed learning that William Wordsworth was a fan of Gingerbread, and George III a fan of Chelsea Buns. If you like to bake *and* learn a bit about the history of your teatime treats, this is definitely a book you'll want to have.


  1. That sounds like an interesting book, with great traditional teatime recipes. I like the description of Singin Hinny.

    My Mom's parents were British and she made the best Chelsea buns (from scratch) I've ever had.

  2. I love those little books. There is always some treasure to be discovered in them. This one sounds delightful.

  3. Another good book review and a book to purchase - this looks like 'a good one,' to add to the library...I don't know how you find them, but you do! I am ready for a trip to England, wouldn't that be fun? Happy 'Independence Day,' to you & yours, Joanie

  4. Oh, oh, this sounds wonderful. If you haven't run across it, has a good selection of used and sort of new tea books

  5. This sounds like a nice book. What a cute description of Singin Hinny.


Thanks so much for taking time to leave a comment! It makes my day to hear from readers!