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Cinnamon and Gunpowder: A Book Review and Tea Inspiration

 Well, nothing like waiting until the last minute to write this blog post for a book I finished a month ago.  Good grief.  Claudia from Honey From Rock is hosting Cook the Books this month.  She chose this delightful read for us and even though I didn't think I'd like it, I loved this book.  I even cast the movie version for it. 

Here's a synopsis of the book from Amazon:

The year is 1819, and the renowned chef Owen Wedgwood has been kidnapped by the ruthless pirate Mad Hannah Mabbot. He will be spared, she tells him, as long as he puts exquisite food in front of her every Sunday without fail.

To appease the red-haired captain, Wedgwood gets cracking with the meager supplies on board. His first triumph at sea is actual bread, made from a sourdough starter that he leavens in a tin under his shirt throughout a roaring battle, as men are cutlassed all around him. Soon he’s making tea-smoked eel and brewing pineapple-banana cider.

But Mabbot—who exerts a curious draw on the chef—is under siege. Hunted by a deadly privateer and plagued by a saboteur hidden on her ship, she pushes her crew past exhaustion in her search for the notorious Brass Fox. As Wedgwood begins to sense a method to Mabbot’s madness, he must rely on the bizarre crewmembers he once feared: Mr. Apples, the fearsome giant who loves to knit; Feng and Bai, martial arts masters sworn to defend their captain; and Joshua, the deaf cabin boy who becomes the son Wedgwood never had.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder is a swashbuckling epicure’s adventure simmered over a surprisingly touching love story—with a dash of the strangest, most delightful cookbook never written. Eli Brown has crafted a uniquely entertaining novel full of adventure: the Scheherazade story turned on its head, at sea, with food.

My Take:

I loved this book!  It was fun of pirate fun and interesting food made by Wedge, a chef who was kidnapped and brought on board to serve the captain-a woman!  Then there was this amazing love story that happens, more good food, more pirate fun, and back and forth!  I am so wanting this to be a movie that I can hardly stand it.  I want it to be a dinner theater, too.  Wouldn't that be awesome??

My Recipe:

My inspiration came from this passage:  “Sweet is the welcoming hand, the mother’s milk, the kiss, the warm bed. its color is the orange of dusk. Bitterness is the love behind a stern word, it is hard-earned fortitude. Its color is green. Astringency is a strong wind; it tightens and cleans, it invokes self-reliance. It is the blue of cold water.” p. 75

I decided to brew up a tea based on some of the words above: orange, milk, bitterness, green, cold water.  Do you see where this is going?

Yes, I made tea from green tea, oranges, milk, sugar, and water.  I also added a bit of lemongrass as well.  It is a wonderful blend of flavors, perfect for fall.

To steep one cup:

1 T green tea leaves
1 small orange
1 tablespoon whole milk
8-10 ounces cold water
1 t lemongrass

Heat the water to 175 degrees.  In a tea ball, add green tea and lemongrass.  Steep the tea 3-4 minutes, depending on how deep you like the color.  Add the peel of a small orange to the cup and the milk.  Enjoy with a biscuit (English for cookie.)

My Grandmother Holt collected teacups, so I got out one of her collections for this special brew. It made drinking it all the more special!

Thank you so much for this selection, Claudia!

Would you like to comment?

  1. This does sound like an interesting book! I'll have to check it out. And make the tea!

  2. I do love reading love stories. This sounds like a good book to read.

  3. I am so going to have to try this recipe and read this book! Sounds so fun!

  4. Sounds like a pretty amazing read, I have to look into giving this recipe a try.

  5. The books sounds so interesting and your review made me want to read it too!

  6. This is a perfect book to read over the weekend. I love the tea inspiration

  7. The book certainly does sound interesting. I do quite like the sound of the tea and that you add orange peel and heat to draw out the essential oils.

  8. That's fun to read a book and do an accompanying tea with it. Sounds like a good book - I'll have to add it to my list.

  9. The book looks like an interesting read, and I will definitely try the recipe soon!

  10. Anonymous6:06 PM

    Oh, I would love to read this book Cinnamon and Gunpowder! And that herbal tea, yummm! I need to try your recipe soon for my tea-lover husband 😍

    Everything Enchanting ❤️

  11. Tea is so under-rated. Folks tend to think only in the one dimension of tea with cream/sugar, but you can be so much more creative and offer such nice tasty brews

  12. What a lovely idea to make tea and I like the combination of flavors. I wanted to use lemongrass but could not find it: when I do I'll remember your tea :)


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