During college, I had many opportunities to visit the beautiful city of Boston. Being a history major in love with early American history, I enjoyed wandering the streets of this old town, stopping in for a cup of tea along Newbury Street. I paid many visits to the Museum of Fine Arts, and even enjoyed a cuppa in their cafe. I have not been back in several years, but I have a fond place in my heart for the city that hosted this country’s most famous tea party. I was delighted, therefore, when my step-mother found a special book via Freecycle. This is a book called Boston Tea Parties: Recipes from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
This book has the fine distinction of being a book of fine artwork as well as a cookbook. The early pages contain just enough information about baking techniques and our beloved beverage. Then the subject turns to tea sandwiches, and I don’t know that I have ever seen such a mouth watering abundance of recipes simply for the sandwiches that have become required at the afternoon tea table. I had to be very aware not to drool all over the pages, as each recipe seemed more delicious than the last. I truly cannot wait to try out these recipes.
In addition to the primary function of this book as a cookbook, it is also a fabulous guide to the art of tea. Although a few illustrations vary from the theme, the majority of the works feature tea in one way or another. A pensive Paul Revere holds a silver teapot in one hand as he stares out of a portrait by John Singleton Copley, reminding us that he was a silversmith as well as a revolutionary. Some pages forward, we stumble across a photograph of a sugar bowl and creampot crafted by Mr. Revere himself. Another photograph features an eighteenth century fan illustrating a scene of afternoon tea. Modern art receives its share of attention as well, with some striking photographs of contemporary teapots. I found myself torn between examining the illustrations and wanting to get to trying out the recipes.
This book was out of print for sometime, but is well worth any effort in tracking it down. The illustrations will provide much entertainment for even amateur tea historians, while no tea party host or hostess could resist all of these yummy looking recipes.
Don’t forget to check out Stephanie’s blog, The Tea Scoop!
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