Social History of Tea

Social History of Tea, Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge

A Closer Look: Taking Tea in 1715…

Anatomy of a Painting The 1715 oil painting, Two Ladies and an Officer at Tea, (above) has often been used to cite the prominent place that tea held in elite society of the early 1700’s. For tea social history enthusiasts, it is a quintessential image, one of the earliest to depict the partaking of tea in the western world. It is part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s vast collection. While researching for a talk I gave on history of […]

Social History of Tea, Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge

Tea Festival: Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton, Ontario

On Saturday, November 5, 10am – 5pm, The Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton Ontario will hold its first Tea Festival. I’m pleased to have been invited to speak. My topic – The Many Ways of Tea: Tea’s Journey Around the World. If you are in the Hamilton, Ontario region, come and participate. I’m scheduled to speak at 1pm and 4pm. In between I’ll be book signing The Tea Book. I hope to mee you there! Preview Save Save Save Save

Social History of Tea, Tea Science

More Tea Advice from Fannie Farmer (Part 2)

1906 As I continue to examine Fannie Farmer’s earnest observations and advice on tea in her Boston Cooking School Cookbook, it might be useful to put her book into the context of the world in which she and her readers live. Wilfred Laurier is Prime Minister of Canada Theodore Roosevelt is president of the USA As mentioned in Part 1 of this post, The US establishes the Food and Drug Act to ensure that only food that passes inspection may […]

Social History of Tea

Fannie Farmer advises on Tea

The Boston Cooking School Cookbook I was hunting for a corn bread recipe recently and found myself leafing through a decrepit copy of Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook. I don’t use it often, but keep it in my collection because of its venerable age and the dear departed friend who owned it before me. The pages of this 1906, 2nd edition, “cutting edge” cookbook are yellowed and brittle as you might expect of a 109 year old book. As […]

Social History of Tea

Upcoming Event!

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been invited by The Tea Guild of Canada to give a talk – “Form, Function and Style: A History of Teaware”. This event will be held in Toronto at George Brown College. Those of you in the vicinity and interested in attending, just rsvp to me. There will be tea! Hope to see you there.

Social History of Tea, Tea Cuisine, Tea Culture

Revising Afternoon Tea

Tiered cake stands, white linen, dainty sweets and bone china teapots are well-worn symbols of Afternoon Tea, – the popular, more formal approach to serving a cuppa. To that end, hotels and other venues have dreamed up all kinds of themed afternoon teas – the edible garden, Asian-inspired and ultra chic! Afternoon Tea is often erroneously called “High Tea”, a name which originally defined the meal that was served at a high (dining) table close to the supper hour. In […]

Social History of Tea

Dressing for Downton: “Yes, Milady. Spadina House Awaits Your Visit”

  Toronto’s Spadina House plays host to Downton Abbey’s Costumes   Season 4 of Downton Abbey has just ended and filming of Season 5 has begun, although in North America we will have to wait a year to view it. For those of us in Toronto suffering withdrawal from the series, it’s wonderful to know that we can indulge ourselves during the hiatus with an up-close look at Downton costumes. “Dressing for Downton” is an exhibit of 20 mostly Edwardian […]

Social History of Tea

Family Tea Relic: The Thonet Cafe Chair No. 14

  Grandpa Joe Up-cycles a Tea Chest My Grandfather worked as a furniture salesman in the early part of the last century. As well as selling contract furniture, he enjoyed attending auctions and finding furniture that he could adapt or repurpose. Ever resourceful and talented, he managed to outfit his home with items that he rebuilt or repaired. He made several lovely pieces from salvaged wood. There were spinet desks made from rescued cherry wood, a cedar-lined chest made for […]

Globe-trotting, Social History of Tea, Tea and Travel

Traquair House: Did Robbie Burns take Tea here?

  Traquair House, located in the borderlands of Scotland, announces itself as the oldest inhabited house in Scotland. Surrounded by lush lawns, ancient yew groves and a good-sized maze, it holds its history and age well. It has been visited by 27 of Scotland’s monarchs including Alexander I, Mary Queen of Scots, James VI (James I of England) and Bonnie Prince Charlie (Charles Edward Stuart). It was originally built as a hunting lodge for Scottish royalty in the 12th Century. […]

Social History of Tea

Family Tea Relic: The Doulton Girls

Another Curio I’m not fond of curios and figurines – what I consider to be the “tchotchkes” of decorative accessories. However, as I continue to sort the chattels of departed family members, I’ve been forced to take a closer look at a relic that made its way into my Mother’s possession after a cherished life with my long-departed Aunt Dorothy. Royal Doulton’s Afternoon Tea, HN1747, was designed by P. Railston (not sure if this artist was man or woman) and […]