Assisted by the British Tea Council (!), Richardson visited 22 of the best tea rooms in Britain, from London to North Wales to Scotland.
The writing is gushing but doesn't really excite one's tastebuds. The photographs are odd: clearly staged, but nevertheless a bit awkward and clumsy looking. Trays of pastries are badly lit, or are set so far back in the photograph that all details are lost. Oftentimes sandwiches curl at the edges, as though dried out, and the bread is separated from its fillings. Chocolate eclairs have depressingly cracked tops and lumpen shapes. The pictures have no captions, and often the recipes are not accompanied by a photo of an example (or if they are, I can't tell--it's hard for an untutored eye to distinguish between a Sally Lunn, Welsh Cakes, Bara Brith, and drop cakes. I'm sure they've very different! But without labels, I surely can't tell one from another.)
And yet, there is something really enticing about this book. It's so earnest, and the hints of history (this is where "dyed in the wool" originated/this is where Wordsworth died/Henry VIII ate these) are tantalizing. Plus, it's hard to say no to pastries stuffed with cream. Reading this book made me want to jump on a plane to the UK, so--well done, British Tea Council! You win again!