24 June 2006

The Perfect Couple

To me, nothing is more cozy than curling up with a good book and a cup of tea. I love going to tea rooms with my friends, but I'm just as comfortable showing up alone, with a nice chunky book I'm in the middle of. Hotel teas....maybe I need a breathing companion for that, but otherwise, books are the perfect accompaniment to a nice cuppa and a fluffy scone.

Therefore, few things excite me more than a tea-themed book. Whether it's a memoir, travel guide, or tearoom mystery, the combination is akin to strawberry jam and clotted cream - splendiferous! Here's two tea books I've had the luxury of delving into recently:

Blood Orange Brewing, by Laura Childs
I first discovered the Tea Shop Mysteries in 2002, and was enthralled. The reader gets to live a few weeks wth Theodosia Browning, formerly of the marketing world and now entrepreneur - she owns and operates the (sadly fictional) Indigo Tea Shop, with young culinary genius and student Haley in the kitchen, and Drayton, a tea conoisseur who loves all things past. If this place was real I'd be on the first plane to Charleston for Afternoon Tea.

Lke most mystery series, the sleuths somehow find murder mysteries landing in their laps far too often than is realistic. Of course, this time the Indigo staff are catering a candlelit celebration of a donation of an old home to the Heritage Society. Suddenly, a prominent figure drops dead in front of everyone. Whodunnit? Theodosia is called upon by the grieving widow to find the murderer, despite the corpulent Detective Tidwell's warnings to back off.

It's not a difficult read, and sadly I always know who the culprit is as soon as their name is mentioned early on in the book. I'm not giving it away, lots of names are introduced in each new volume. Something about the introduction just clicks "guilty" in my head. Despite this, I still want to know why, and I love living with the characters for a short time, with all the tea anecdotes and mostly kindly person occupying the world around the tea shop. Then there's recipes after the story ends, and some tea party suggestions. I'd like to try the Cupcake Tea. Who wouldn't love that?

Tea In The City: New York, by Elizabeth Knight
I found out about this lovely new book at Sympathy for the Kettle, which of course is featured in here.

New York is usually thought of as a coffee city, but us tea folk know better. In this city, tea is like a treasure, search hard enough and it you'll find it in rewarding measures. This glossy book is full of places to take tea and shop for tea things, as well as gorgeous pictures by Bruce Richardson. It's divided by areas in the city, and even has some places in the boroughs. Yes, even our beloved Queens, though of course not to the extent of Manhattan. At least there's plenty of places to purchase some loose tea and pots to take home. I've been to so many of these places, but I enjoyed reading about them anyway. Plus, it gave me choices for other tearooms to visit in NY. Sure, there's plenty of places on the internet to give me ideas, and they've been helpful. Still, there is nothing like reading about it in a good smelling book.


BonBon said...

Well written! We should take tea on our upcoming day off.

Kate S. said...

I'm a tea lover as well, and both of your book recommendations sound excellent. Thanks!