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The Agony of the Leaves: The Ecstasy of My Life with Tea

Gustafson, Helen

28 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0805038450 / ISBN 13: 9780805038453
Published by H. Holt, New York, 1996
From Owl & Company Bookshop (Calvello Books) (Oakland, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Octavo in orange and yellow boards in orange, clipped jacket; color illus.; 174 pp., 22 cm.; inscribed by author on half-title page; boards and jacket show light signs of wear along the edges and corners; no major tears or flaws; pages are clean, crisp, bright and free of marks and creases; edges of leaves are clean; binding is tight and square; a gently used copy. In English. || Contents: Teatime in the sun room -- The faculty follies tea party -- Irish honeymoon -- The big backyard tea-in and other tea parties -- The Waters Upton Tea Room -- My early days at Chez Panisse : converting the heathen -- Latter days at Chez Panisse : preaching to the choir -- Gentlemen farmers on the prairie, or the summer of the peach dumplings -- Tea with Mr. T. -- All the tea in China; 'The "agony of the leaves" is the century-old phrase used in the tea trade to describe the transformative moment in preparing tea: when the oxygen of the boiling water allows the tea leaf to release its flavor. The leaves "may appear tormented and miserable, like autumn leaves in a storm, but they may also look dancing and fanciful", writes Helen Gustafson. She has been living in this moment for as long as she can remember. Widely famed as the tea guru of Berkeley's Chez Panisse, Gustafson is sought after as a lecturer, writer, and irrepressible tea personality. In The Agony of the Leaves, she creates intersections between her own life and her experiences with tea - from domestic tea rituals in her Saint Paul, Minnesota, upbringing to her Irish honeymoon where she encountered Barry's of Cork tea to her first meeting with the venerable Mr. Twining, of the Twining tea empire, in search of the incomparable Two Hundred Seventy-fifth Anniversary black Yunnan tea. Gustafson's approach to the minutiae of the tea experience is a magically macroscopic one - she makes the subject of tea as ecstatic ritual come alive through biographical detail, storytelling, recipes, and reminiscences. This charming little book reveals a true gourmet's sensibility, rendered brilliantly in her particularly warm, insightful prose.' -jacket SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: Tea. Cooking. First edition, first printing (full number line). Bookseller Inventory # 86265

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Agony of the Leaves: The Ecstasy of My ...

Publisher: H. Holt, New York

Publication Date: 1996

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: very good +

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


A nostalgic compilation of tea lore also considers its impact on the life of Berkeley's Chez Panisse tea guru Helen Gustafson, discussing such topics as her St. Paul domestic tea rituals and her first encounter with Mr. Twining

About the Author:

Helen Gustafson is regular lecturer on the history of tea at the University of California at Berkeley and Mill College in Oakland.

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