Tea Recipe Books?

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Starinmyeyes
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Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:28 am

Hi guys,

Can anyone recommend a tea recipe book?

Thanks guys!
Last edited by pedant on Sat Sep 26, 2020 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: mod edit: added descriptive topic title
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pedant
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Sat Sep 26, 2020 11:07 am

hi @Starinmyeyes,

welcome to Tea Forum. :mrgreen:

i moved your thread to the News, Publications, & Research area.

what kind of recipes do you mean?
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Victoria
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Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:20 pm

This thread discussed Tea Books, and a recent post might be of interest.
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LeoFox
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Sat Sep 26, 2020 4:48 pm

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mbanu
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Tue Sep 29, 2020 4:01 am

Snacks and tea are natural friends, but there is no universal tea-snack. Some are hard and meant for dunking, others are soft and light. Some are sweet, others are salty. Some folks avoid meat-based snacks while others are all about them.

So it will depend on the type of tea you are drinking and the tea-culture you are operating in, meshed with your own tastes and the tastes of your friends. :) Like if you drink a lot of pu'er, maybe look into dim sum. If you drink a lot of Ceylon tea, maybe "English dim sum" (finger sandwiches) are more likely to be a hit. If you are more of a sencha drinker, maybe a book on wagashi is the right choice.

If you are looking for literary recipe books, in that there is a story as well as recipes, I quite liked Helen Gustafson's "The Agony of the Leaves", which is part recipe-book and part memoir of her time in the California gourmet tea-revival of the 80s. She was friends with James Norwood Pratt, Roy Fong, and Samuel Twining of the Twinings tea company, so was sort of in the middle of the whole thing.

Another possibility might be "If Teacups Could Talk" by Emilie Barnes, although this one seems more polarizing, as it is a book about a particular tea-culture's tea philosophy mixed with recipes, and some people really seem to dislike this tea-culture.

So really, the more you can elaborate, the better the advice you will receive. :)
mbanu
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Fri Oct 09, 2020 1:22 pm

Another two recipe books that aren't really recipe books, "Tea Celebrations" by Alexandra Stoddard and "Tea & Etiquette" by Dorothea Johnson. I almost feel like their ought to be a sub-category of "Decoy Recipe" books to describe these.

Tea Celebrations was one of the first tea books I've read where I felt I had missed some required pre-reading -- I felt like the author was describing the solution to a problem I didn't quite understand. She grew up in the sort of American tea-culture where little girls have pretend tea-parties as a way to teach them about social class and gender roles, and also in the sort of WASP-adjacent American tea-culture that hosts a debutante tea when she reaches adulthood. However, right before that, she went on a trip to Japan with a quirky older aunt and experienced a traditional Japanese tea ceremony -- it had such an impact on her that it shaped the way that she went about tea for the rest of her life.

As an adult, she was an interior decorator, responsible professionally for creating the sort of pressures that she found personally exhausting, the shaping of public status through aesthetics. It seems like tea was her way to reconcile these two tensions. So she has a lust for Beauty and Graciousness (with capital letters, even when she doesn't capitalize), but also for the quiet of a Japanese tea-hut when you aren't Japanese and because of this can experience the ritual without worrying about what your skill level in participating says about your gentility within Japanese culture.

I'm really not sure how to place her book.

However, I think it is an excellent contrast to Dorothea Johnson's book, which is also a recipe book that isn't really a recipe book, because at times they talk about the same sort of tea parties, which makes me think that they are operating at different ends of a shared tea-world. "Tea & Etiquette" is, as the title suggests, about Etiquette. They are both books about tea ritual, but one is more theoretical while the other is applied. I suspect that this has to do with the difference in their social standing, but I'm not 100% certain on this. What I mean here is that both of them seem nervous, and drawn to ritual to settle their nerves, but from different sides of the spectrum. Stoddard seems more personally nervous, socially confident, while Johnson seems more personally confident, socially nervous. Johnson built a reputation for being a "team player" at politically sensitive teas; she was the guest someone could trust to do the right thing every time, so she slowly worked her way through the Washington D.C. tea circles this way. Stoddard on the other hand never seemed socially nervous when writing. She always seemed more stressed measuring herself against individuals, such as having tea with an older person when she was younger, "What can I offer someone who is so experienced in the world?" rather than, "Oh this person is a general or a diplomat". So when it comes to ritual she is more adventurous, but also clings more tightly.

Stoddard's answer to "Why not boil the water in the microwave?" would be, "Ritual is what allows us to ground ourselves; it is a precious gift", while Johnson would simply say it would be "gauche" or "cloddish", defeating the purpose even if it might be useful.
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