Saturday, September 3, 2016

My Country, 'Tis of Tea — Ohio

Wikipedia informs me that Ohio gets its name from the Ohio River, and the name came from the Iroquois word ohi-yo, which means "great river" or "large creek." Ohio is known as both a swing state and a bellwether state in presidential elections, but I'm not going to be discussing presidential politics today. (And aren't you glad?)

• Did you know a famous former tearoom in Ohio is now a bar? This 1906 photo is from Put-in-Bay, Ohio. The banner across the street advertises the Round House, Tea, and Ice Cream, and if you enlarge the photo (courtesy of the Library of Congress), that poster at far right says, "Tea, Coffee, and All Kinds of Bottled Goods Delivered in the Park." The Round House opened in 1873 as the Columbia Restaurant, was at some point a tea house, and is operated as a bar today. And tea friend Michele in Ohio knows right where this is located because it's the place where she grew up! I love it that even if I haven't been to some of these historic places in our nation's tea history, one of you probably has been.

• One of the most delicious tea bread recipes you will ever find is from the old tearoom at the Halle Brothers Co., a department store in Cleveland, Ohio. I found this booklet of some of their holiday recipes a few years back, and now I make their Cranberry Bread every Christmas. Just looking at those fresh cranberries in the bread is making me hungry, so I may not wait until the holidays this year to bake another loaf! I first shared this recipe about five years ago, but here's the link for anyone who would like it.

• Have you ever heard about the 1920 explosion at an Ohio tea and spice plant? I found this article in the August 1920 issue of the Tea and Coffee Trade Journal. The photo led to a little more exploring, and I came across another publication that said the Newton Tea and Spice Company was said to have been clean at the time of its last inspection, so it was believed that perhaps when firemen were fighting the fire at the plant, the floor fell in with the uncovered barrels of spices, and the clouds of spice came in contact with the flames, causing the explosion that knocked out a wall and killed the firemen. Today in Cincinnati, there is a group called Box 13 Associates which pays tribute to those who lost their lives in the fire. The call box for the fire was "Box 13," and in 1933, Box 13 Associates was formed "by a group of businesspeople and professionals who were interested in the operation, welfare, and public relations of the Cincinnati Fire Department." Go here to visit their web page, which offers a heartwarming tribute to the firefighters who lost their lives that day. I always love to see something positive come out of a tragedy!


  1. More interesting tea facts this weekend! All new to me. That cranberry bread does look delicious.

  2. Interesting history, must've been a very beautiful tea room Thanks for the recipe, seems delicious.
    Have an amazing weekend.

  3. Wow. What a tragedy. I had no idea spices would explode. Thanks for the history lesson.

  4. I made the cranberry bread-substituted pumpkin for the water & orange juice. Delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

  5. This cranberry bread looks so good. Thank you for sharing.


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