Take time out for a restful tea break! Stoddard's personal philosophy is of a decidedly Eastern persuasion: life should be celebrated through the ceremony of tea. This doyenne of interior decorating extols the benefits of making quiet times a regular part of each day, where one enjoys solitary, comtemplative moments over a simple cup of tea. Stoddard also suggests unhurried tea parties for good friends or honored guests as a sure way of improving the quality of life through the sharing of carefully prepared light fare, fragrant teas, and treasured cups, teapots, linens, and other special items to enhance these occasions. Recipes for assorted goodies are included, and there will be line drawings to illustrate Stoddard's upbeat text. Alice Joyce
From Kirkus Reviews
Stoddard (Creating a Beautiful Home, not reviewed) makes some amazing claims about the healing powers of tea in this overwrought little book that focuses less on cooking than on personal memoir, entertaining hints, and egregiously inane aphorisms. Those who plod through the insipid writing will learn that ``each of us, whether broken or whole, is empowered by tea''; that Stoddard's husband thinks she must have been an apprentice tea-master in a former life; and that the sound track from the film Mission serves as the perfect accompaniment to ironing napkins. She spends an inordinate amount of time explaining how to make the tea experience special with everything from mismatched cups and saucers (buying a complete tea set is ``less exciting'' than collecting porcelain piece by piece) to flower arrangements (go asymmetrical, be sparing, let a leaf or blossom overlap the vase, ``play'') to using decorative swizzle sticks to spice up an ordinary glass of hot or cold tea (she seems especially attached to the set she bought at Pier I: ``Sometimes I put the blue ball at the bottom of the glass, and other times I put it at the top for color and delight''). The prize for making it to the end is a chapter of recipes, both sweet and savory, to serve with tea--from lemon bread to watercress-and-egg sandwiches. Most are well explained, one-bowl operations, and the scones are fabulous. But with only 19 recipes, no serious cook will look at this twice. Tea may soothe, but Stoddard will drive you crazy with her self-conscious, precious drivel. (Illustrations, not seen) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.