Cookbook of Elmwood Inn recipes published

November 05, 2003|EMILY TOADVINE

PERRYVILLE - Another year of teas, another book at Elmwood Inn. "The Tea Table" is the third cookbook that inn owners Bruce and Shelley Richardson have published of recipes featured at the inn.

It follows "A Year of Teas at the Elmwood Inn," and "A Tea for All Seasons."

The latest book contains 85 recipes such as Shelley Richardson's personal favorite, Sweet Potato Biscuits. These are served with country ham.

"They would be a nice alternative to a regular biscuit at Thanksgiving," notes Shelley Richardson, who is responsible for finding the recipes served at the Thursday through Saturday teas at the 150-year-old inn overlooking the Chaplin River.

She is a collector of recipes, always putting new ones in her file with intentions to modify them.

"If it's a good salad, I always think it would be good as a sandwich with something added to it," she says.


For instance, the recipe for Falling Leaves Sandwiches came from a salad. Cream cheese was added to the beets, Gorgonzola cheese and ground walnuts to make them into a spread. Cream cheese also was added to carrots for another part of the sandwich.

Elmwood also puts its twist on Lemon Squares.

"Every tea room in America has Lemon Squares, but you'll not go into an American tea room and find Lemon Squares like these," says Bruce Richardson, who is in charge of photography for the books.

"It's kind of like a pie," says Shelley Richardson.

The book, illustrated with more than 75 photographs, is divided into recipes appropriate for each season. In addition to the Falling Leaves sandwiches, this year's crop of apples are appropriate for Apple Harvest Tea Sandwich.

A variance in this recipe book compared to the first two is that soups have been added. For summer, they have included recipes for cold soups. Blueberry Soup makes use of the local blueberry crop. Green and Red Soup is a warm soup.

"We used to do that when we first opened Elmwood," Bruce Richardson says.

The Richardsons think people who buy the book are adding to their collection. Bruce Richardson also has written "The Great Tea Roms of America" and "The Great Tea Rooms of Britain."

"We're finding that everybody who buys our first four books buys this one, too," Bruce Richardson says.

The Richardsons rely on their staff at Elmwood to create the books.

"Everybody has a different talent here," Shelley Richardson says.

Peggy Powell, Callie Minks and Mary Lou Mayes are pastry chefs. Editors are Jan Sheffield and Freear Williams. Masha Popkhadze is stylist. The Richardsons' son, Ben, is photo editor.

"It takes a lot of different people to get a book like this put out," says Shelley Richardson.

Now that the book is printed, Bruce Richardson is in the next phase of marketing by traveling to several book signings. He will be at the Kentucky Book Fair Saturday in Frankfort. They also have three more projects in the works.

A 2005 desk calendar, "The Great Tea Rooms," will feature 52 pictures. Bruce Richardson also is working with Jane Pettigrew of England, who wrote, "A Social History of Tea" and "The Tea Companion." They will do a joint project with the National Trust of England to reissue the "The Tea Companion."

"It's the bible for tea folks," he says. "It's gone out of print and the National Trust will bring it back. It's going to have my name and Jane's on it."

The inn also will expand the seminars it offers. One will be held in Perryville and others are planned for Dallas and Disney World. This year, Pettigrew spoke at the inn.

The Richardsons recently have been involved with several magazine articles. An article about Elmwood Inn appeared in Tea Time, a quarterly publication. Bruce Richardson recently visited Sri Lanka, which is the largest tea exporting country in the world. He is doing a story on the trip for Tea Time. An article on the trip already appeared in Tea and Coffee.

Richardson thinks it was the "neatest trip" he has ever taken.

"It afforded an opportunity to see how tea is grown and how it's picked and manufactured. It was important to see the women who picked the tea and how hard they work to pick tea leaves to make a cup of tea that we drink. I'll never drink a cup of tea that I don't stop and think about those women."

Richardson took several photos on the trip and may do a book that follows the tea process from bush to cup. The Richardsons do think that this book of Elmwood's recipes will be their last. They may turn their energy to more "how-to" books, such as how to make scones or how to prepare an afternoon tea.

"Afternoon tea made simple or something like that," Bruce Richardson says.

Falling Leaves Tea Sandwich

Beet mixture

16-ounce jar Harvard beets

6 ounces cream cheese

1 garlic clove, minced

Pinch of sugar

1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

1/3 cup toasted and ground walnuts

In a food processor, blend the beets, cream cheese, garlic, sugar and Gorgonzola. Add ground walnuts at the end just to blend. Place mixture in storage container.

Carrot mixture

15-ounce jar baby carrots, drained

8-ounce package cream cheese

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