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Pickle Me This

July 25, 2012

Afternoon Tea: A Timeless Tradition by Muriel Moffat

No surprise, really, that I’d find this little book appealing, Afternoon Tea: A Timeless Tradition by Muriel Moffat. I am the kind of person who has a tea books shelf in her kitchen (just above the tea things shelf, if you’re wondering). Moffat’s book is an ode to afternoon tea in general, and to tea at Victoria’s Fairmont Empress Hotel in the specific. She writes of her own connections to teatime, of the importance of English grandmothers in passing along such traditions. Her prose is light and punctuated mainly by exclamation marks. She addresses the history of tea and tea ceremonies, a guide to tea-taking  (from how to warm the pot to what to wear), and then a chapter on tea at the Empress Hotel, the experience and its history. The rest of the book comprises recipes for scones, cookies, tiny sandwiches and other things (and now I see, I have to get myself a crumpet ring).

As tea books go, Afternoon Tea is hardly groundbreaking, but it’s a pretty little object and a perfect keepsake. Originally self-published with 30,000 copies sold at the Empress Hotel gift shop in five years, it’s now been gorgeously re-packaged by Douglas&McIntyre, and is about to find a wider readership among afternoon tea devotees.

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