Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Litera-Tea Blog-a-Thon

Oh what fun! It feels like literary week here at Rosemary's Sampler. Yesterday we had a wonderful guest post by Susan Wittig Albert promoting her newest book in the China Bayles Mystery Series. Her series features a herb shop owner who solves mysteries. China and her business neighbor Ruby host tea parties as well. Is it any wonder why we love that series of books. The newest book in the series is named Nightshade, which is the family of plants that include tomatoes and peppers. Isn't that a great name for a mystery? Her post follows this one and focuses on the many ways she incorporates food and herbs in her books. You can also enter to win a copy of Nightshade through Friday at noon.

Now we would like to take a moment to mention a favorite Litera-tea book as part of the Gracious Hospitality Blog-a-thon. I can't begin to tell you how difficult a choice this was. When I finally made a decision on my favorite tea (and herbs!) books, they all turned out to be The Rosemary House publications. While these are indeed quality publications they are also quite sentimental to me as well.

When The Rosemary House opened in 1968 my mother and some of her friends would gather in the back room of the shop and the creative energy was so alive you could feel it. Between the energy of the shop and the joy of herb gardens, it was a most wonderful place to grow up. Sometimes the projects going on were to create new products such as a new seasoning or dip or working on the Mail a herb cards. Sometimes the creative juices were flowing to write a new publication.

One time, the gang was working on a little booklet called Herb Teas for Pleasure. This little 43 page booklet is crammed full of information including over 100 recipes. Herb butters, rose creams, easy herb jellies, herb tea blends - it's all in here -- and peppered with charming little line drawings and quotations. Mom once admitted "I put too much information in that one book". This little gem is still in print and available.

Another little gem that was created in the back room of The Rosemary House was this clever book Recipes for a Winning Political Party. Originally written in 1972 I find it still timely for this election year and many of the puns still current. Recipes for Inflationary Spirals and Political Punch just to name two. No matter what your political affliation this little book will make your party a success. We have just a few of these fun books left for our blog readers.

The other series of books is a compilation of work that took place in the back room of The Rosemary House and also with the lovely ladies of Penn Cumberland Garden Club. Penn Cumberland has an annual herb tea party. These are a most extravagant affair and every member attends this meeting! The herb tea party always has a theme. A Country Herb Tea, A Rose Herb Tea Party, A Feast of Flowers Herb Tea Party, An English High Herb Tea Party. The two shown here are A Shakespeare Tea and The Fairy Folk Tea Party. All the food feature lots of herbs and of course the beverage served is an herbal tisane. All the recipes from the Shakespeare Tea feature herbs/foods mentioned in the various plays of Shakespeare. For instance in King Henry VIII is this quote "These are the youths that thunder at the playhouse, and fight for bitten apples...." which leads to serving Apple Cake at the tea.

The Fairy Folk Tea party booklet has recipes for Puck's Pear Cardamon Bread and Magikal Meringue Mushrooms, Star Gazers Tarragon Butter and more. It also features fairy quotes some also from Shakespeare like this one. "Fairies, black, grey, green and white, you moonshine revellers, and shades of night."

Such a tough choice. There are so many books I turn to for inspiration, reference and fun and they all deserve a day on the blog.


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

This has been a fun, interesting visit for me! I'm also very intrigued by that offer of a free sample of "Roastmary." Hmmmm, sounds good!

Carrie said...

Thanks for the information on the herb tea book.

Grace Yaskovic said...

Tom and I grew Herbs for many years, I still love Lemon Balm tea to this day!! Great blog, enjoyed my time here

Miss Sandy said...

What a fun and informative post! I think being creative with tea is awesome! What fun those women must have had, thanks for sharing this charming story.

ellen b said...

Ahh what a fun business Rosemarie's as in plural meaning two of you.
Fun post.

Kathey C said...

I am "anonymous" from the other day. I am having trouble signing in to my Google account.
Would love to purchase the Shakespeare and Fairy tea books if that is possible.
I am a fan of the cozy mystery. They offer a something extra - like your site.
Stopping by your blog site is fast becoming a rest stop after the work day.
Thank you,

La Tea Dah said...

An interesting post --- and a great mention of your mother's wonderful books! Thank you for sharing!