Saturday, November 5, 2016

My Country, 'Tis of Tea — Utah

I must admit that the thought of unearthing a few tea facts about Utah made me a little nervous. Utah is, after all, the home of Mormonism, and Mormons don't drink caffeine, right? Well, as we say, "It's complicated." What I learned is that some Mormons can and do drink caffeine, while others believe it's best to avoid all hot drinks, including tea and coffee. (Go here to see what NPR had to say about the matter earlier this year.) 

 This 1914 sheet music for a song called "At Our Tango Tea" is from the musical "The Girl from Utah." This Edwardian-period musical was about an American girl who ran away to London to avoid having to become the newest wife of a wealthy Mormon man. Here are a few lyrics from the musical, and I'll let you decide whether Broadway needs to resurrect this one. 

“At Our Tango Tea Last Week”

"Ev’rything is Tango in this world of sin;
We have Tango eatables and Tango drops of gin.
Last week at our church we had a Tango Tea affair,
Ev’rybody filled their Tango Little Marys there.
Listen, brethren all and in a world I’ll tell to you a few things that occur’d.


At our Tango Tea last week,
Ev’rything was novel and unique.
Little Missis Jones wore a Tango dress.
What you couldn’t see of her of course you had to guess.
Miss Lucinda Greene did the Tango bow,
Someone caught her bending and she’s with the angels now.
We had Tango tea, and without a doubt,
It was so very weak it couldn’t Tango thro’ the spout.”

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Dhatfield)

• Ever heard of the "Utah teapot"? Wikipedia says it is "a 3D computer model that has become a standard reference object (and something of an in-joke) in the computer graphics community. It is a mathematical model of an ordinary teapot of fairly simple shape, that appears solid, cylindrical and partially convex." The Utah teapot, or Newell teapot, dates to 1975 and gets its name from the fact it was created by a British-born computer graphics researcher at the University of Utah, Martin Newell. He needed a simple mathematical model of a familiar object, and his wife suggested their tea service since they were having tea at the time. It's nice to know that tea has influenced even the world of  computer graphics! (I wonder if we'll be able to print one of these teapots anytime soon?)

• Apparently somebody in Utah was drinking tea back in 1904. I found this advertisement in the January 9, 1904 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune, and it advertises Tree Tea, a Japanese tea and "the tea all Utah drinks." Who knew?


  1. Still laughing at that song!

  2. Interesting. The Grand America Hotel in SLC serves a lovely afternoon tea.

  3. One of my best wholesale customers when I was selling jams was a tea shop in Utah. It always amazed me and I finally asked. She said plenty in Utah still drink tea.

  4. Interesting. Thanks for another informative state.


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