This week's Gracious Hospital-i-Tea Blog-a-Thon topic is "literature" as related to tea. It was really difficult for me to decide what to write about, as I enjoy gathering many things in written form that pertain to tea and the tea experience. Stationary, scrapbooks of tea-themed verses, tea cookbooks, and a shelf or two filled with tea related books are all within my scope of 'enjoyment' and 'collection'. As I thought about this post, I decided that I really must start with the book that got me interested in this fine art.
Emilie Barnes wrote a now well-known book in 1994 called "If Teacups Could Talk". In it, she shares her love for teacups and the hospitality associated with tea service. She states that if teacups could talk, her house would be full of conversation. . .because her house if full of teacups! She tells how even cracked and chipped teacups in her collection are precious to her, as they represent a memory of an occasion or of someone who is special to her. Her book includes many topics where she shares how tea has helped to fill her with serenity, friendship, tradition, memories, courage, comfort, beauty, celebration, and imagination. Scattered throughout the book are tea quotes, bits of information for serving a cozy tea party, tea recipes, and many beautiful pictures! Emilie never runs out of great ideas, and this book is filled with them! Have you ever thought of having a tea in the moonlight out on the lawn? Or how about asking a tea guest to bring a yard of wallpaper to a tea party, and then having them cut-out a placemat from the paper for the tea table? Unique, special, and creative --- Emilie Barnes has thought of it all with this delightful and classic book on tea!
With the first book so successful, Emilie Barnes continued the tea tradition with several other tea related books. The "Twelve Teas of Friendship" is another lovely book in which she gives ideas for a year of monthly teas with friends (2001). Tea topics range from celebrating with new friends and old, cozy relationships, caring, having fun together, milestones, togetherness, nature, shared work, laughter, memories, stories, and family. Delicious recipes, teatime tidbits, quotes, and a plethora of ideas fill this book!
In "Friendship Teas to Go" (2006) Emilie Barnes shares ideas for specific themed teas. Great recipes, ideas for decor, quotes, beautiful pictures, and prose are included for themed teas such as Country Tea, Heart-to-Heart Tea, Remembrance Tea, Neighbors Tea, Tarts and Tea, Princess Tea, Lilies Tea, and more. In this book Emilie continues her trait of writing as though she was sitting in your living room and chatting with you personally. This book totally draws you in!
"The Twelve Teas of Christmas" (1999) is a book filled with not only the essence of tea, but the true meaning of Christmas. Filled with wonderful thoughts on hospitality, this book contains a wealth of recipes, decorating and gift ideas, and much information on using tea to celebrate the holiday season. She does a great job of sharing the true meaning on the holiday in this book.
I know that this book has been a major influence in many who love and enjoy the art of afternoon tea. If you were planning on sharing about Emilie's tea books for your post this week, please do! We each come from a different viewpoint and field of experience. I would love to know how Emilie's books have influenced you. Write on!