cover image Little Book of English Teasd

Little Book of English Teasd

Chronicle Books, Rosa Mashiter. Chronicle Books, $6.95 (60pp) ISBN 978-0-87701-622-9

Crumpets, brown bread ice-cream and Northumberland ``Singin' Hinny'' are among the morsels proposed for an English tea in this decorous midget of a book (4 5). But recipes, charmingly illustrated, are written with the British cook in mind. Before assaying them, Americans will have to find translations (and, sometimes, substitutions) for such ingredients as muscovado and caster sugars. Mashiter, who owns a restaurant in Cornwall, England, discusses tea only cursorily as a beverage, though her comparison of a typical aristocratic afternoon tea--offering dainty crustless cucumber sandwiches and rich chocolate cake--with a heartier ``farmhouse'' tea--serving cheese scones and wholemeal fruit cake--is informative. The most interesting recipes, though of questionable appeal to Americans, are for such distinctively British dishes as Porterhouse plum cake (a raisin, nut and fresh grapefruit concoction). Tidbits of English culinary history are included along the way: mashed strawberries and cream, said to be a specialty of the famed Eton school, was known affectionately as ``Eton Mess''; ``Maids of Honour'' almond tartlets apparently were named by Henry VIII after the ladies of his court. (June)