Social History of Tea

High Style: A Fashionable History of Tea

I am thrilled to be hosting an illustrated talk for the Bata Shoe Museum in midtown Toronto on Sunday May 13th (Mother’s Day). It’s entitled, High Style: A Fashionable History of Tea. In preparation, I’ve been considering the influence that tea has had on style throughout history. I’ve been delving into Asia’s ancient past, but also investigating tea’s introduction to society in Europe’s Baroque period and beyond. I’ve uncovered some interesting nuggets.

  • During the early 1700’s 1 lb of tea was worth 2 years of wages for the average worker.
  • The introduction of gas lighting in the 1800’s into wealthy homes allowed dinner to be served later in the evening creating a desire for an afternoon repast that would satisfy the host and her female guests until dinner was served
  • In the 1860’s the French were dizzy for all things British and so adopted many English tea customs, fashioning teaware to emulate Wedgewoods and Mintons.

If you are in the Toronto area on Mother’s Day plan to attend the event.  Admission will include a tour of the new Roger Vivier exhibit! After the lecture we will be tasting some delicious treats and pairing them with 3 excellent teas.