Monday, 16 May 2022

Tea bible explores its mystery and magic

TEA has a special place in the hearts of the British and a new book written by a woman from

TEA has a special place in the hearts of the British and a new book written by a woman from Hambleden explores its magic, writes Emma Griffin.

The Magic Of Tea was written by Alice Parsons, who grew up in Hambleden and now divides her time between the village and her home in Sydney, which she shares with her Australian husband.

The book, which was launched at the Quince Tree in Stonor earlier this year, reflects on the place tea occupies in our hearts today.

Alice said: “The humble tea leaf is the subject of myriad myths and legends and forms the cornerstone of rich social rituals in diverse cultures all around the world. Tea is an epic topic and my book is only a small tribute to it.”

The book takes the reader on a journey which starts with the essential first cup of the day and explores the history, rituals and folklore associated with the much-loved beverage.

Besides tea-related recipes, there are all sorts of unexpected applications of tea revealed in the book, including how to conduct a tea-leaf reading to divine your future, how to smoke salmon or chicken using tea leaves, and even how to polish your brass with it. Alice combines practical recipes and cooking advice with facts and trivia, prompting Nicholas Shakespeare to herald it as “the tea-bible” in his foreword.

Alice, 54, said: “I had a career in editing and I was asked to write a book on tea. This is the result, and its successor will be The Lore Of Whisky, which will be available in the UK this Christmas.

“I am passionate about writing. I seriously enjoy the process of research, shuffle and assemble — piecing together the information I uncover and placing it into a cohesive story is very rewarding. While The Magic Of Tea is not intended to be a treatise on tea I believe it is a successful blend of fact and humour. Its tone is intentionally light. I look at all the teas I enjoy drinking, the food I enjoy while I drink it and the brews, infusions and cocktails that can be made using it.

“The book is a dip-in kitchen companion, informative and whimsical, and suited to all ages.”

l The Magic Of Tea is available at the Bell Book Shop, and can be purchased on Amazon.

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