On Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 3 p.m., Mabry-Hazen House will host a traditional tea on Mabry’s Hill.


What goes best with tea? A spoonful of gossip, of course. Tea drinking has long been associated with tittle-tattle. And although men drank tea and were not immune from gossip, it was women who have been stuck with the bad rap. Nowhere is this more colorfully demonstrated than in dictionaries of slang compiled in England and America over the last few hundred years. Not only was tea disparagingly referred to as “Scandal Broth” or “Chatter Broth,” but women enjoying a cuppa could be called all kinds of unprintable things. Tea drinking, thundered one angry Englishman, was the gateway to the brothel.


Why was tea so stigmatized? And why were tea-drinking women considered loose? Join us for a short Tea Talk, and travel through the inns and alleys and elegant drawing rooms of London to learn about this fascinating chapter in the history of a beverage we love.


Nina Martyris is a freelance journalist who moved to Knoxville from Mumbai in 2009. She writes on books, history and food for several publications including the New Yorker.com, the Economist.com, The Guardian and the Wall Street Journal. Nina also contributes regularly to NPR’s Tea Tuesday column, which explores the fascinating social and political history of tea.


Tickets for Tea & Tattle are $40 and may be purchased online by visiting www.mabryhazen.com/tea or calling 865-522-8661. A tour of Mabry-Hazen House will be offered after the tea. The event will take place rain or shine.