Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tea with Jane Austen by Kim Wilson, a Book Review
“The Prentice to His Mistress” - 18th Century Song
Tea with Jane Austen is a charming book, a lovingly told tale, of the importance of tea in the life of those who lived in the Regency Era. It is all here: How to make tea, tea and toast for breakfast (the usual breakfast fare for all but the wealthiest households), seeping the tea leaves, tea caddies and miscellaneous utensils, shopping for tea sets, and the different types of teas. In Austen’s time, tea was a valuable commodity that was kept under lock and key. In the Austen household, Jane was the keeper of the keys to the tea chest.
But, for me, the most interesting part of the book was Jane’s excursions into London to buy the best tea from Twinings warehouse. “[Jane] would have walked through a doorway that looked virtually the same as it does today... Once inside, she would have been greeted with the aromatic scent of many different sorts of teas… [S]he would probably have smelled the tea to judge its fragrance and character before she bought it.”
Although the afternoon tea we associate with the British belongs to the Victorian Era, there were rituals aplenty in the Regency Era, and this book shows how important tea was to Jane Austen and her contemporaries. Five stars.
Posted by Mary Simonsen at 8:44 AM