Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tuesday Tea and Tomes: Jane Pettigrew's 'A Social History of Tea'

One of the first tea reference books I bought when starting my new "tea venture" was 'A Social History of Tea'.  Its focus is England's love affair with tea, starting from the first recorded cup in the 17th century to the modern brewing conveniences of the new millennium. Written by Jane Pettigrew, the book, like the author herself, is engaging, beautiful  and full of passion for the subject.

Jane Pettigrew has the pedigree to write such a tome. She was a teacher and consultant before starting her own tea room in London in 1983. Knowing the industry from the ground up, she eventually gave up the tea room and concentrated on writing books. It's no surprise, Jane Pettigrew has become an award-winning tea educator and a  highly sought after public speaker.

Meeting Jane Pettigrew a second time with Rachel at Tea Expo 2010 Las Vegas

I first met Jane Pettigrew in 2004 at the 'Take me 2 Tea Expo', (later renamed the World Tea Expo) in Rhode Island. At the time, I had just laid the ground work for Barb's Tea Shop (later renamed Barb's Tea Service) and I talked to Jane about it. She shared her time and knowledge of tea with me like we were old friends. I've met her two other times since then, and she is always charming and captivating.

Meeting up with Jane in 2011 when she was guest speaker at Amherst Rose in Ohio

I have several of Jane Pettigrew's books and love them all, but 'A Social History of Tea' is my favorite. Although it spans centuries in less than two hundred (oversized) pages, it's filled with fascinating details, including a sales receipt for a tea purchase from 1759 and  an article from a  1920's shelter magazine on embroidered tea napkins and table runners.

It's a fun read with lots of glossy photos and covers a broad range of topics including marketing, etiquette and fashion.

My edition is from 2001, but it's important to note there is a much newer edition, with contributing writer and fellow tea educator, Bruce Richardson. This updated version covers a little bit more of tea history on this side of the pond. It is available on Elmwood Inn's website:  A Social History of Tea, Jane Pettigrew and Bruce Richardson.

Signed copy  from 2004 that I cherish - wishing me good luck with new 'tea venture'
An enjoyable book with something for everyone - whether you are starting a new tea venture or simply interested in learning more about the  social history of tea in England, and a little bit more!