Tea with a Twist: Entertaining and Cooking with Tea
by Lisa Boalt Richardson (Harvest House Publishers, 2009)
Reviewed by Angie Brown
Flowers, fruit, fiestas, even football—if you are looking for fun and adventurous new ways to host your friends, Lisa Boalt Richardson’s Tea with a Twist will inspire you to throw one of these themed teatime parties. At a Bubble Tea Party, everything from the food to the tea to the serving pieces is bubble inspired. Or invite guests to a Southern Tailgate Tea Party to indulge in barbecue, a tailgate favorite, except this time simmered in a sauce whose star ingredient is Lapsang Souchong tea. And just for children, the whimsical Under-the-Table Tea Party features breaking-the-rules teatime under the table, complete with Toothpick Fruit Caterpillars and Crispy Wormy Mud Balls served with a delightful fruity tea.
The Flower Power Tea Party, perfect for the months of May and June, offers an abundance of fresh blooms both on the table and in the menu to delight your friends. Richardson, a Certified Tea Specialist, suggests showcasing a blooming tea in a glass teapot so guests can enjoy watching the leaves open and the flower in the tea unfold. Flower Power Scones and Floral-Embellished Cupcakes feature edible flower petals of pansies, violets, or lavender. She includes tips on how to clean and use newly picked, fresh-from-the-garden flowers—tie small bouquets of blooms at the tablecloth corners, sprinkle flower petals by your front door and on the table, and decorate with an assortment of already-blooming teas in glass containers for a beautiful flowering tea.
If the smell of citrus or the thought of juicy pineapple entices you, invite your friends to a Tropical Tea by the Sea Party. Richardson celebrates tropical locales with her menu of Orange Tarragon Savory Scones, Citrus Chicken Salad, Tropical Fruit Salsa with Plantain Chips, and Key Lime Coconut Bars. In a refreshing iced tea inspired by her mother’s recipe, Richardson incorporates fresh-squeezed orange juice, while strawberries, mangos, pineapple, and Key-lime juice are featured ingredients in her teatime fare. Finishing touches to this seaside retreat include a serving tray filled with sand and decorated with shells, tropical-scented candles, the sound of ocean waves playing as guests arrive, and a palette of seaside colors—soft blues and greens—throughout the space.
A compilation of eight different celebrations, Tea with a Twist has something for everyone. Stunning photography and food styling lend even more life to the text and offer additional serving and decorating tips. Richardson’s ideas will inspire you to host a fun new teatime, savor your favorite cup, and enjoy unforgettable moments with your friends.