Monday, August 27, 2007

Vintage ceramics and pottery

Some of you, I'll bet, share my passion for vintage teawares. Sure, you can go buy a brand spanking new tea set any old time. But finding a surprise vintage piece, something with character, is just so much more satisfying. And I thought I'd share that the bowl I photographed that Sugar-free Strawberry Tea Bread in -- well, if you look at the bottom you'll see it's not really a "bowl" after all.

I was at an antique mall and found this unusual (to me, at least) piece on a table marked "Things That Have Been Here Too Long." Now that just struck me as quite humorous. Some antique malls, after all, seem more like museums, keeping their overpriced wares on display forever, apparently unworried about making a sale. Thus this lovely reticulated strainer thing, 7-1/2 inches in diameter and in absolutely pristine condition, was marked down from $16 to just $3. Aren't those pink rose garlands just luscious? And considering its apparent age, how on earth did all that fretwork remain intact over the years? How did it come to be so little valued that it was discounted to less than the price of a latte?

The other thing I love about finding odd pieces for my tea table is that a bit of sleuthing is always involved. What is it? Who made it? What was its purpose? The bottom of this piece is marked Germany and has a maker's mark I haven't yet identified. But there are some good ceramics and pottery sites online, so I'm still investigating. And happily, I discovered that slices of tea bread serve up in this piece just fine, even without the small paper doily I imagined I'd need.


  1. Granted, this is not heart shaped, BUT here is a recipe for this sort of mold:

    Coer a La Creme (6 Servings)

    1 pound cottage cheese
    1 pound cream cheese, softened
    Pinch of salt
    2 cups heavy cream
    Crushed strawberries, fresh or frozen and defrosted

    1. Combine thoroughly the cottage cheese, cream sheese and salt. Gradually add the heavy cream, beating constantly until the mixture is smooth.
    2. Turn the mixture into individual heart-shaped baskets or molds with perforated bottoms. Place on a deep plate and refrigerate to drain overnight. One large basket may be used, if desired.
    3. When ready to serve, unmold the hearts onto chilled plates and serve with crushed sweetened strawberries. Garnish, if desired, with whole fresh strawberries.

    NY Times Cookbook, p. 606, Craig Claiborne, 1961.

    1. Since your basket is German you might want to try cherries doused with kirschwasser (potent, I've got more than I can use in a lifetime)
    2. I had trouble unmolding the thing, so I tried lining the mold with coarse cheesecloth -- this was successful.
    3. Once I made it for Valentine's day, placed it on a plate on a large basket tray and had the florest make a beautiful ring of flowers to surround it. Was a nice centerpiece.
    4. Enjoy! GREAT find!

  2. What a great recipe! Thanks so much for sharing this info, and the tip about the cheesecloth liner, too.

  3. I've beewn wondering how you've come searching info on this dish, in all your plethora of spare time. Another idea for use of the dish is making yo-cheese. Slightly salted (to taste) plain yoghurt, again, with the cheese cloth...drained for a couple of days and then rolled up and balled up as a cheese can add your chopped veggies, or whatever into the mix...


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