Book Review — “Tea Travels” by Ellen Easton

I have three passions in life: food, tea, and books. When all of these can be combined, I’m in seventh heaven. They often meet in the form of cookbooks, and when I find a new cookbook, sometimes I am hard pressed to resist. The cookbook shelf in our kitchen overflows, and still, I just can’t stop myself. My most recent purchase was for the recession-friendly price of sixty-nine cents at the local thrift store, so Mr. Tea Scoop couldn’t complain too much about that one. This slim volume by Ellen Easton goes beyond a few tea party recipes.

Nearly the first forty pages have little to nothing to do with tea. Instead they provide basic cooking information and an abundance of kitchen references. Although this information is duplicated in many of my other books, it might be nice for a novice cook. It did strike me as a bit of fluff to bring the book to a publishable length. The section on tea provides the same basic information on brewing as other volumes on the subject, as well as a quick glossary of tea grades. I did find the section on pairing tea and food quite useful, as well as a tea party checklist.

A tea party hostess (or host) could find many small details in this book to make the occasion more special, such as various techniques of napkin folding and a list of complete menus. The “travel” part of the title comes in for the recipes, many of which are from famous hotels. The recipes range from simple to gourmet, and are definitely the highlight of this little book. I was intrigued by the Green Tomato Jam & Reggiano Cheese Tea Sandwiches from The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, which include baby rosebuds. I would also like to try my hand at whipping up a batch of Tea Jelly, made with orange juice.

I should add that this book, being from the thrift store, is a bit out of date. The book was published fifteen years ago. While there is a lot of additional information to bulk up the book, the recipes definitely look like they are worth giving a try.

Don’t forget to check out Stephanie’s blog, The Tea Scoop!

[Editor’s note: Our blog is chock full of great articles on this topic. Use our search feature to find them!]

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One thought on “Book Review — “Tea Travels” by Ellen Easton

  1. Ellen Easton

    Dear Stephanie,

    I was sent a link to your blog today which included comments on my now out of print book TEA TRAVELS™.

    It is always nice to meet another tea lover. I believe that the rituals of tea, first and foremost, are to foster friendships.

    As an author, one is torn as to what to include in a book. It is always a dilema, as one cannot assume the reader is an advanced cook and thus basic information is included. On the other hand, there is always the risk that someone, as yourself, finds the information to be considered “filler”. So that you know, I have the highest regard for my readers and would never insult my reader with filler content.

    I often repeat certain information in my books, as I cannot assume that the reader, has purchased my previous books. In fact, my book my be the reader’s first entry into the world of tea.

    As you stated, my book TEA TRAVELS™ is over 15 years old. At the time of printing, the tea information, that you feel has been seen in other books, was original content. I have no control over the countless authors who have reinterpreted my work over the years into their own compendiums.

    My ancestors , in 1834-1841, introduced tea to the Colony of Ceylon, establishing one of the largest tea estates on the Island, which survives today under new ownership.

    If you wish to view more extensive information on my tea writings, please see my column TEA TRAVELS™ on http://www.whatscookingamerica.net.

    You might also find my books AFTERNOON TEA- TIPS, TERMS and TRADTIONS and TEA TRAVELS™ FOR THE HOLIDAYS of interest. Both available directly from RED WAGON PRESS, 45 East 89th Street, STE 20A, NY, NY 10128. Inquires at teatravels@aol.com, subject line: tea books.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any tea questions.

    Thank you for your support, it is appreciated.

    WISHNG YOU HAPPY TEA TRAVELS™

    Ellen Easton

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