The big news for me this week is that my book "Dainty Dining" arrived about a week early, so on Wednesday I was able to send out pre-orders, giveaway-winner copies and some review copies, which has been quite exciting! I'll bet some of you will receive your books today or tomorrow, and I'm so eager to hear what you think. And to keep the focus on tea here at Tea With Friends, I have launched a new and separate blog just for "Dainty Dining," at daintydining.blogspot.com. I'll be posting there at least once a week, usually on Fridays, and IF the post pertains to tea, teawares or tea rooms, I'll post it here as well, as I'm doing today. I wanted a way to write about my experiences with the book for those who may be interested, but I don't want the book to eat up all the airtime here!
This week, I thought my fellow "dish detectives" might enjoy hearing the stories behind some of the restaurant ware and china that appear in "Dainty Dining." My sentimental favorite would have to be this Syracuse China oval plate, which is pictured in the chapter on the Higbee Company. I got interested in restaurant ware earlier this year and came across this plate for a few dollars at an antique mall in north Georgia. When it came time to photograph the Higbee Cinnamon Muffins I made for the book, this is the plate I decided to use.
Later, after the photo of the muffins was taken, I finally managed to locate a copy of the out-of-print book "The Silver Grille," which was the name of the tea room at the Higbee department store. I was reading along in the book when I turned a page and there was a photo of this very pattern of restaurant ware, distinctive because its design matches that of a border in the tea room. Quite unknowingly, I had managed to pair the Higbee muffins with Higbee department store china!
Appearing in the background of a photo in the book is this Lenox teacup from Seattle's Frederick & Nelson department store. While I don't have any reason to believe this set was used in the store's tea room, I do think it's a pretty shade of shell pink, and I enjoy knowing it came from Frederick & Nelson!
This Limoges plate with a band of pink roses is from Gimbel Brothers. Was it the Gimbels in New York, or perhaps the one in Milwaukee? I have no way of knowing and simply like it as a piece associated with the Gimbels name. I have a few more "dish stories" to share, but I'll save those for another day. If you have any china or restaurant ware that came from a department store or its tea room, I'd love to hear about it!