Tea with Jane Austen by Kim Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Who would not want to sit down with Jane Austen and join her in a cup of tea? Here for the first time is a book that shares the secrets of one of her favorite rituals.
Tea figures prominently in Jane Austen's life and work. At the center of almost every social situation in her novels one finds tea. In Emma, does Miss Bates drink coffee? Of course not: 'No coffee, I thank you, for me-never take coffee.-A little tea if you please.' In Pride and Prejudice, what is one of the supreme honors Mr. Collins can envision Lady Catherine bestowing on Elizabeth Bennet and her friends? Why, drinking tea with her, naturally.
Tea with Jane Austen begins with tea drinking in the morning and ends with tea in the evening, at balls and other gatherings. Each chapter includes a description of how tea was taken at a particular place or time of day, along with history, recipes, excerpts from Austen's novels and letters and illustrations from the time.
I enjoyed reading this brief account of tea in the lives of Jane and the rest of Regency Society. It was also great to see the references to tea, I missed, in her stories.
The book is filled with information ranging from the growth in popularity of tea, to how it was kept under lock and key. Did you know that there was a black market for tea? I'm talking about maids selling the used tea leaves of their employers to make a little extra money.
Each chapter includes a few recipes that go perfectly (that's what we're told, I haven't had the chance to try them out) with a perfect cup of tea. And if you are wondering how to brew the perfect cup of tea, that's the last chapter in the book! I've been brewing my tea wrong, I'll be fixing that problem with my next cup!