Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Tea and Tea Drinking" by Claire Masset

It's amazing that every time a new tea book comes out, I learn something new about tea. You'd think every topic would be covered eventually, but that just doesn't seem to be the case. "Tea and Tea Drinking" by Claire Masset is a small book from Shire Publications in the UK, and I love it both for the enlightening text and for the great artwork throughout. Although I knew that tea in England was originally served in coffee houses (ironically enough), I did not realize that the brew was taxed as a liquid. "Because it was taxed in its liquid form, and only once a day by a visiting excise officer, the tea had to be brewed early in the morning and reheated as and when required." What a headache -- and what yucky tea! (In 1689 tea began to be taxed in leaf form, Masset says, so the all-day brewing was scrapped.)

And I'd heard of the famous Lyons tea shops, but I did not realize the company actually started as a tobacco business! The above image shows another tea venue, an elegant tea room at the London Coliseum in 1905. Wouldn't you love to have taken tea there?

Tea drinking also became an outdoor activity in England, as evidenced by these ladies of the woods. Another image in the book shows ice skaters stopping for a spot of tea.

But perhaps my favorite image in the book is this one, which depicts "a French 1920s poster celebrating the fanciful idea of a 'tea promenade,' during which travellers would be able to savour tea and cakes while enjoying glorious mountain views from a luxurious, chauffeur-driven car." Now that's MY kind of tea party! (And a brilliant idea. Someone in the travel business ought to offer such an experience!) All in all, "Tea and Tea Drinking" is just a charming little book and gave me lots of new things to ponder in the wide, wide world of tea.

11 comments:

  1. After reading your interesting review of Tea and Tea Drinking, this book will move up on my Amazon wish list.

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  2. I'm going to look for this book. The photos alone draw me in. Love tea! Deb=^..^=x4

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  3. I'll definitely have to check this book out. I quite agree that an open chauffeur driven touring limousine would be an elegant venue for a tea party.

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  4. Great book! I have several other Shire books for several of my collecting areas. They are super! Didn't know they did this one. A great find! Thanks for sharing!
    Ruth

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  5. Tea and taxes - my, my...the saga never ends. ;-) Thanks for showing us this great book!

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  6. oh my I am so glad to hear of this book..I LOVE tea history, your post was so fun to read! Tea served in coffee houses...GASP! The pix are great in that book...thanks!

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  7. That last picture is amazing. I love it too. That would be like tea on the go too. What fun and a great find.

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  8. Great review, Angela - I must get this book! The illustrations are gorgeous. I would love to take tea at any of those settings.
    Thanks for sharing your book,
    Joanie

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  9. OK, thanks to you, Amazon sold another copy of this book! *smile*

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  10. Wonderful looking book and pictures. I feel like I am in the book with the characters.

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