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Thursday 10 November 2011

Book Review: Tea and Cake

Last week I wrote about Emma Block's gorgeous illustrations, and this week a book comes through my lettter box with a loud thud! and it's packed full of the things. She's illustrated a gorgeous recipe book called Tea & Cake - a theme that's absolutely perfect for her drawings. And I was super excited to have another recipe book to read in bed. I love reading recipe books in bed.

But while I love the playful and colourful drawings, they're a little much all in one book. It's understandable - the book has a limited topic range after all. You're getting page upon page of tea and cake. That's no bad thing on one hand - there's really nothing wrong with tea and cakes. But the topic is limited, and it does get a little cloying. I love Block's work (and have some of it hanging on my walls), it's just a lot all in one go. The savoury section proved most interesting for me, it gave me something new to look at.

The recipes themselves pose a bigger issue for me. Some of them sound wonderful (chocolate and raspberry tarts? Yes indeed). My favourite thing about recipe books is often the stories that go with them - they're often what inspire me to make them, and probably why I think reading recipe books in bed is a fun way to pass the time. There's no introduction to the recipes, three are often sandwiched onto a page. And while that means you're getting a lot of recipes for your money, it does mean that the book feels a little soulless.

Tea and Cake is a beautiful book (available from Amazon for £11.69), one that I'm certain that cake-loving Domestic Sluts will go nuts for. The illustrations are divine (if you haven't discovered Emma Block's work before, this is a brilliant place to start). I think I just look for something a little different from my recipe books. I want a story, a tale to get lost in. This book just doesn't give me that, even though it's pretty.

But I'll still be making chocolate and raspberry tarts very soon.

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