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The cup that cheers
Tea with Jane Austen
Kim Wilson.
London : Frances Lincoln Ltd., 2011.
Who would not want to sit down with Jane Austen and join her in a cup of tea? Here for the first time is a book that shares the secrets of one of her favorite rituals. Tea figures prominently in Jane Austen's life and work. At the center of almost every social situation in her novels one finds tea. In Emma, does Miss Bates drink coffee? Of course not: 'No coffee, I thank you, for me-never take coffee.-A little tea if you please.' In Pride and Prejudice , what is one of the supreme honors Mr. Collins can envision Lady Catherine bestowing on Elizabeth Bennet and her friends? Why, drinking tea with her, naturally. Tea with Jane Austen begins with tea drinking in the morning and ends with tea in the evening, at balls and other gatherings. Each chapter includes a description of how tea was taken at a particular place or time of day, along with history, recipes, excerpts from Austen's novels and letters and illustrations from the time.
     
Alice's Tea Cup : delectable recipes for scones, cakes, sandwiches, and more from New York's most whimsical tea spot
Haley Fox & Lauren Fox.
New York : William Morrow, c2010.
The delightful sisters and owners of Alice's Tea Cup share nearly one hundred recipes from their charming and wildly popular Manhattan restaurantsFor almost ten years, Alice's Tea Cup has been a destination in New York City for locals and tourists alike who crave a scrumptious afternoon tea without airs or pretension. Haley and Lauren Fox learned at an early age that tea was more than just a beverage-it was an event to be shared and protected-and they divulge their tea-making philosophy and dozens of delectable recipes in this beautiful cookbook.Embodying the mantra "tea turned on its ear," Alice's Tea Cup serves up unique twists to traditional Victorian tea fare, including:Savories-Lapsang Souchong Smoked Chicken Salad and Cucumber Watercress Sandwiches with Lemon Chive ButterBaked goods-Banana Nutella Cake and Mint Black Bottom CupcakesSweet treats-Alice'S'mores and Queen of TartsTea selections-from African Dew to Rooibos BourbonSpecialty drinks-Alice's Tea-jito and Ginger Mar-tea-niAnd of course Alice's world-famous tender, moist scones-including nineteen versions, from pumpkin to peanut butter and jelly to ham and cheeseHaley and Lauren also show you how to throw a personalized "Curiouser and Curiouser" tea party with household props and offer lots of other ways to celebrate with tea and festive food. From salads to scones, pancakes to cupcakes, afternoon tea to evening mar-tea-nis, this fabulous cookbook lets you enjoy Alice's mouthwatering recipes without leaving home.
     
Tea parties with a purpose : 10 simple and fun party ideas for kids of all ages
Bobbie Wolgemuth.
New York, NY : Howard Books, c2008.
     
Taking tea with Alice : looking glass tea parties & fanciful Victorian teas
by Dawn Hylton & Diane Sedo.
Perryville, KY : Benjamin Press, 2008.
  1. Includes bibliographical references (p. 72) and index.
  2. Originally published: New York, NY : Warner Treasures, c1997.
     

The poet William Cowper described tea as "the cup that cheers but does not inebriate."

It might be hard to see the cheer in an old tea bag plunked into tepid water, as often served. But, for a lower price than tea bags one can enter the richly flavored world of quality loose teas. Here the taste experience can range from the delicately vegetal green teas to the complex flavors of China black teas, and to vigorously malty Indian teas.

Tea comes from the plant Camellia sinensis, although tea can have additional scents, such as bergamot, the citrus fruit used in Earl Grey. Different altitudes and climates produce different tasting leaves, but the drying and fermentation processes determine the type of tea: black, green, oolong, or white, each requiring different water temperatures to prepare.

Black teas need freshly boiling water to create "the agony of the leaves," that mystical moment when the leaves swirl open and release their flavors. Green, white, and oolong teas generally shouldn't boil, and they can be ruined by steeping them too long. Follow the directions for the individual tea to get the full flavor of the tea without allowing it to become bitter.

If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are heated, it will cool you; if you're depressed, it will cheer you; if you're excited, it will calm you.

Norwood Pratt

Tea descriptions employ a bewildering array of terms. Orange pekoe refers not to oranges, but to leaf size. Other terms, first or second flush, refer to harvest times, and acronyms describe what parts of the plant were harvested: TGFOP means "tippy golden flowery orange pekoe." It describes the leaves but doesn't explain the taste. Not to worry! The thing is to start trying teas and go from there.

As Lu Yu said in the eighth century, "Goodness is a decision for the mouth to make."

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff