My Mother Loved Tea - Review
The Story of Ruth Bigelow and How
She Changed the Way Americans Enjoy Tea
by David C. Bigelow
Recalling his mother's small American dream turned mega-success, David C. Bigelow's My Mother Loved Tea acts as a family scrapbook, history lesson and cookbook for the contemporary tea drinker.
Soaked in an abundance of historical photographs and illustrations, the story tells of Ruth Bigelow’s experimentation with a colonial-era tea recipe that received "nothing but constant comments" from those who tried it. The brew soon became known as "Constant Comment." Sixty-three years later, the Bigelow Tea Company has become one of America's largest tea companies. Still a family-owned company, it owns the only commercial tea garden in America, The Charleston Tea Plantation, which produces American Classic Tea, its own line.
Just as consumers delight in the rich flavors of Bigelow's teas, readers will find David Bigelow's account colorful and steeped in history. He follows the company's development from its humble beginnings to a streamlined corporation, including early packaging designs and advertisements. Perhaps the most endearing section is that of the Bigelow family recipes offering more creative ways to enjoy their tea, with selections such as green tea ginger tea cakes and "Constant Comment" cake. My Mother Loved Tea is a sweet read that should receive many "constant comments."
"Constant Comment" Cake
Yields one 9-inch round cake
½ cup milk
5 Bigelow "Constant Comment" tea bags
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 2/3 cups flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Combine milk and tea bags in a small saucepan. Heat over medium/low heat until bubbles from around the edge, stirring occasionally. (DO NOT BOIL.)Remove from heat and let cool (15-20 minutes); remove tea bags, squeezing out liquid. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and whisk to blend. Add the cooled milk; continue to whisk until thoroughly combined. Add flour and baking powder; mix until a smooth batter forms. Pour batter into pan. Bake approximately 35 minutes, or until center of cake springs back when touched.
Cool on wire rack before removing from pan. Let cool completely before serving. Dust top with confectioners sugar.
Reviewed by Lauren Creamer
(Updated: 12/22/10 CT)