Imagine my delight when I recently found a copy (for a very reasonable price) at Powell's Books. Sweetcakes was with me and must have been my lucky charm. I re-read the book, cover to cover, with great delight. Helen tells her story of tea, from her childhood afternoon teas to the heady days in San Francisco when tea was being reborn in the US. She was there. She took charge of the the tea service at Chez Panisse, educating the staff in clever ways and finding real-world solutions to difficult problems (like how to get busy wait staff to put fresh water in the boiler).
Here is one of my favorite recipes from the book, Pepper Toast. Helen had borrowed it from a friend (and since I've loaned out the book, I can't recall whom). It's quite simple!
* Take some good bread and butter it.
* Sprinkle liberally with pepper.
* Broil until golden and crunchy.
I used my toaster oven. She indicates that it also works well in an upright toaster - adding the butter and pepper after the fact. Either way, this IS delicious!