Hello and welcome to Tuesday Cuppa Tea! This is a compilation post of odds and ends from a week of visits and things surrounding my birthday...all fun, but a bit of a whirlwind, with another full week coming up...last ditch of summer for a lot of folks, and for us a break finally from smoke as we have finally had a bit of rain clearing the air a bit...WooHoo! So we have come out of hibernating with a vengeance! Lol!
I found this tea themed poem from the writer T S Eliot recently as I was browsing Sandy Clough's book The Art Of Tea And Friendship while having a scone and afternoon tea in our sunroom with my Honey:
The naming of teas is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your everyday games--
Some might think you are mad as a hatter
Should you tell them each goes by several names.
For starters each tea in this world must belong
To the families of Black or Green or Oolong;
Then look more closely at these family trees--
Some include Indians along with Chinese.
T S Eliot
from The Art Of Tea And Friendship by Sandy Clough, pg 27
For my teacup (s) this week, I am sharing a perennial favorite today...various versions of the Willow pattern. Willow has always been popular and therefore was frequently made by various potters. Because of it's long life as a pattern and relative abundance of pieces, it is often overlooked as an important part of pottery design.
It is fun to compare the elements of the design. Some of these teacups are from the archives at Antiques And Teacups, just click on the photos.
This Willow teacup is by Woods and Sons, England in the line called Woods Ware in ironstone. The Woods are part of a famous potting family from Staffordshire, England with a long history back to 1865.
It is in the most popular colorway, blue, and many names of the variations call this version Blue Willow.
The history of the pattern, Willow and all of it's many variations goes much farther back...actually the 1770s.
Blue Willow comes from a Chinese legend of 2 lovers, forbidden to marry who elope and are chased by the emperor. At the end, the boy is killed defending his fiance and the girl commits suicide. Sigh...not too cheerful.
The elements that usually turn up are: of course, the Willow tree, the bridge the lovers crossed to elude pursuers...often with the lovers or with 3 people being variously the lovers and a helper or the lovers and the emperor...
a house they took refuge in and, of course, always includes 2 birds, doves flying together representing the 2 lovers which has become a symbol of undying love.
This is a Royal Grafton, England version from the 1940s in bone china.
There are even versions in red, yellow and green, although the blue is the most popular....
This is a red, unmarked early 1920s version in red...
Wedgwood made this Yellow Willow pattern in the 1920s as well...
And Masons, England made this Green Willow version in the 1920-1930s...
And this, a very thin porcelain version from Occupied Japan which dates it from 1945-1954.
And lastly, a 1950s version by Royal Wessex, England in a more modern mid century ironstone version...
So...long live Willow, and may there be many more versions to come to extend a wonderful history!
Our PBS station, KCTS9 in Seattle is hosted some of the cast of Downton Abbey in August 2011, to drum up interest for series 2. The actors attending were those that played Lady Mary, Cora, Countess Grantham and Matthew. As part of the promotion, they cooked up an Earl Greay Tea Cookie that was posted in our program guide.
I have made them several times, and posted them once before in 2011....
Earl Grey Tea CookiesProgram: KCTS 9 Cooks
Presented by: Paula Nemzek, KCTS 9 Cooks
Cook's Note: Try these delectable slice-and-bake cookies with your own favorite blend of tea. Delicious! We created these sophisticated cookies in honor of our August 2 event with Downton Abbey Cast members. We think Cora, Countess of Grantham, would approve!
makes 18 to 24 cookies
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves, crushed, or 1 1/2 tablespoons from tea bags (about 5 bags)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, cream together butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. In a separate bowl, blend flour, tea and salt. Add half of flour mixture to butter mixture and stir together. Add remaining flour mixture and mix together until just combined.
Place dough on a sheet of plastic wrap. Roll into a firm log about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Seal with plastic, twisting both ends tightly, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.
Slice the cookies into 1/3-inch thick rounds and place on the parchment at least 2 inches apart. Bake about 14 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. These are best served freshly baked.
The comments by the chef also said that they pack a buzz so use decaf if that would be a problem. Several of my friends have made them experimenting with other blends of tea including matcha or licorice spice and basically say any tea is great.
Thanks so much for joining me for tea today!
I am HOPING to join these blog memes this week, but....
Here is the Tuesday Cuppa Tea linky for your tea related posts...please remember that it is SSSLLLOOOOOOWWWW but if you are patient...it's there! I am so looking forward to visiting you!