Friday, January 29, 2021

The Great Depression and Teatime

 A bit of reading, but I hope you enjoy! I have thoroughly enjoyed doing research and playing at teatime this week. I thought it would be fun to explore what an afternoon tea time would look like during the 1930's or 1940's.

A peak in my china cupboard. The china is daisies and violets from Haviland and Co. Limoges, probably dating around 1910-1915. My grandfather purchased it and enjoyed it for many years. Now it  is enjoyed on my table. What I want you to see is the green depression glass. When I thought I might like to open a tearoom I started collecting green depression glass to use in the tearoom. Though it has been used for many teatimes, it never made it to a tearoom. Though you only have a glimpse of the cupboard, it is an old pie cupboard often found in kitchens for storage.

The Great Depression took place close to 100 years ago in the 1930's. It was my mother's era. Banks crashed, there was a dust bowl, and unemployment was at 20%. When I was young I heard stories of desperation and struggle. It was indeed a hard time in the history of the US. 

I also remember stories of finding premiums such as dishes like the green glass in cereal boxes, a free gift with purchase, jam sold in juice glasses, even movie tickets with cereal and teapots with Lipton Tea. The Lipton Teapot was made by Hall China starting in 1935. I was born at the end of that era, but can remember some of those free gifts. They were so exciting to receive. Even local markets were giving glasses with purchase and my aunt saved up her red glasses for me as a wedding gift. Can you think of any products today that give premiums with purchase?

Food was also in short supply and often cooks had to be creative in making a meal. They would need to find substitutes for butter, milk or eggs. Meat was scarce and often inexpensive meat was purchased in cans. Have you ever had Spam or deviled ham from a can? Refrigeration was often not available. I remember the ice truck coming around the neighborhood to deliver ice for refrigeration. Canned food became popular during this era until the 1970's when people such as Alice Waters started influencing the use of fresh food.Yeastless breads were served too, My mother often baked nut breads. Toasted nut bread was a treat. My mother loved sitting to relax in the kitchen as she cracked the nuts and stored them in canning jars. After all it was free for those that had nut trees in their surroundings.

Fruit cocktail was developed at the end of the 1930's as a way of using fruit scraps. This canned fruit was added to all sorts of salads or just served plain. I actually loved it, especially when my mom added marachino cherries; so had to smile when I saw cans on my market shelf with cherries added. I hadn't purchased fruit cocktail for many years and there it was with cherries. That just made me smile.

Some of the tea you could find on the market shelf was Lipton, King Cole, and Typhoo, mostly in bags. The Tea Council ad said, "Take tea and see, see what a glow you get from hot and hearty tea-see if it doesn't help you feel better, sleep better too!" During this time tea dresses, tea dances, and leaf reading were popular. The music in a tearoom or at a tea dance was often light jazz. Can you hear it now? Wouldn't you just love swaying to the music as you nibbled a small sandwich and sipped a bit of tea?

The wealthy began taking road trips. Since there were no places to stop for food along the way, they would pack a picnic. Many gas stations were beginning to serve food and often it was the gas stations owners wife that started a tearoom, serving fried chicken and tea. There would be a teakettle hanging outside to advertise a tearoom inside. If the weather was good, people would sit out under a tree to eat. In researching one author often came up, Jan Whitaker, and her book, Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn, A Social History of the Tea Room Craze in America. Looking on my book shelf I found I had a copy of the book and will be doing some reading to further learn about the tea room craze in America. I know many of you have heard of Knott's Berry Farm in Southern California. It was started as one of these tearooms serving fried chicken along the highway.

In the 1930s, canned foods were appreciated for their convenience and did not have the “not as good as fresh” association that evolved in the 1970s, thanks to the proselytizing of Alice Waters and the evolution of “California cuisine.”

Read more at:
In the 1930s, canned foods were appreciated for their convenience and did not have the “not as good as fresh” association that evolved in the 1970s, thanks to the proselytizing of Alice Waters and the evolution of “California cuisine.”

Read more at:
In the 1930s, canned foods were appreciated for their convenience and did not have the “not as good as fresh” association that evolved in the 1970s, thanks to the proselytizing of Alice Waters and the evolution of “California cuisine.”

Read more at:

As I was thinking on this era I wondered what would you serve for afternoon tea? I decided to serve a depression era tea to my family this week. Thankfully they put up with me, as it does involve food. 

Yes, you can see the green depression glass. The teacups were made in California during this time also. The vase was a gift to my parents on their wedding day in 1942. My mother's pearls most often are around my neck when I go to tea. It is a way of celebrating her, as I know she would always love having tea with me.
Our menu included fruit cocktail (of course with cherries), a yeastless cranberry bread, deviled eggs, cucumber sandwich with cream cheese and dill, deviled ham with pickle, chopped black olive, and pimento cheese. The sweets were pineapple upside down cake and brownie bites with a cherry on top.
The table cloth comes from my collection of vintage table cloths from that era. I just love them.
There was a fire in the fireplace which just added the right amount of ambiance and warmth to the winter day.
If the chickens were laying there might be an egg.
Joey was in attendance too.
Pimento cheese is often thought to be popular in the south, but I do remember my mother making it for me and I didn't live in the south but California. The chopped black olive is a favorite of mine. For a treat my mother would make it for me for my sack lunch when I was in elementary school. Whenever I had them, my friends would beg to trade with me. You know I didn't trade because I loved them so much. More recently when I would invite my half sister to tea I always made them for her, as it was a favorite of hers too.
I always loved it when my mother made pineapple upside down cake because (yes) there were a few cherries tucked in the pineapple. Can you tell I love cherries added, they are such a happy color.
We had the fruit cocktail plain and it was good.
The blue teapot is an original Lipton teapot, which I mentioned above.
In the teapot was Twinings pepperment tea, but I can imagine during the depression the woman of the house going out to her garden to pick mint and other herbs to make her own herbal teas.
It was a lovely late afternoon this week with the two guys in my house. They didn't have one complaint and for that I was happy. I loved exploring this time period and thinking about having tea then.
Hope you enjoyed reading this missive and maybe learning a bit about tea time during the 1930's and 1940's.
Happy weekend, dear friends!

Monday, January 25, 2021

A Word for the Week

 Today is my "live-in gardener's" birthday; so I was thinking this morning about gifts. What did he want versus what I am giving him. A gift may not be a tangible item, but a gift of time or yourself. Maybe the gift is a special word or song. My "live-in gardener" doesn't ask for much, so a couple days ago he said there was something he would like, something I am not sure I can find. It won't come for his birthday, but now the idea is planted in my mind I am trying to figure out how to go about accessing this gift.

From the dictionary:

Definition of gift

1 : a notable capacity, talent, or endowment 
2 : something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation 
3 : the act, right, or power of giving

What does gift mean to you?

How do you receive the gift when given to you?

The Gift by Mary Oliver

Be still, my soul, and steadfast.
Earth and heaven both are still watching
though time is draining from the clock
and your walk, that was confident and quick,
has become slow.

So, be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful. That the gift has been given.
Happy new week, the last week of January.
Can you believe a month is almost past for 2021?
Time is a gift to be treasured too.
Treasure and receive each day as a gift.

Friday, January 22, 2021

A Day Trip to the Coast

 The sea calls to me and I must go! So recently my "live-in gardener" and I hopped in our car and drove 2 1/2 hours to get tuna fish and chips here. Those of us in northern part of Oregon are known to do just this. There is always a line and on this winter day there was still a line. People were respectful to wear masks and stay 6 feet between each group. The half hour wait to get our food was oh so worth it. Just writing this my mouth is watering. Do you love fish and chips? Do you love going to the seashore? With the combination of the two it made my heart happy. After all, it is the little things these days, isn't it?

Across the road we could see the tug boats near the Columbia River and the mouth to the sea.

And of course there was a walk just to get that glimpse that makes me smile.
I must admit, many years ago I lived for awhile in the middle of the US and could not go to the sea.
Having grown up near the sea this was really hard for me. I am a water/sea girl through and through.
Turning the opposite direction while standing in the same place, this was my view.
It was a winter sky, but it wasn't raining and for that I was thankful.
Oh I can savor the sea even on a stormy day, but I will return again on a sunny day.
What touches your soul?
Is there something in nature that just makes your heart happy?
Happy weekend, dear friends!

Monday, January 18, 2021

A Word for the Week


There is a trail not far from my house where I love walking.

It feels like an escape from the city, though it is right in the city, near the airport. The city is working on the street lately, which makes it hard to get there. But I need to return soon to walk where the beavers walk. There are birds, turtles, and beaver, with an occasionally person or two. It is a peaceful place.

                           And sometimes I like taking tea to the pond and sip a cup or two.

In the tea group I belong to here in Portland I am known for being the reader of poems.

Most often I read from Tea Wisdom, a compilation of "inspirational quotes and quips about the world's most celebrated beverage", by Aaron Fisher. Here is one from that book on page 135.

Moonlight over the hills,

Reflecting on my balcony.

The night is young,

My rustic gate is ajar;

Through the woods,

My friend approaches,

Lantern bobbing.

Smoke curls from the stove;

I call for tea.

The autumn stars have paled,

Barking of wakening dogs,

The sadness of a flute carried on the wind.

And still we sit and talk.

The sky lightens;

Rosy clouds and chilly dew,

The earth moss-covered.

~Cheng Pan Chiao


I can actually imagine walking through this place with lantern in hand to a moss-covered log to sit awhile and sip a cup of tea. Come join me. I will bring the tea and read for you.

Is there just one word for today, no! But just notice each word, let your mind imagine, take a trip to another place even if only in your mind. Notice what you notice!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Bouquets from Twigs

 Searching online for bouquets from the winter garden I still just saw flowers bought from the florist or market. With COVID I haven't been visiting the market often, but still wanted a bouquet or two in the house. I may be addicted to having fresh bouquets in the house year round. Ha! I feel like I am missing something in the house if there isn't a fresh bouquet every week. So starting in Autumn when the garden was finishing up I went searching for a bouquet.

Well I did find a little bit of "this and that" at the end of Autumn.

Now with Winter from the garden it is twigs from the herb garden.

Then I buy a small bunch of red roses or whatever is inexpensive at the market to add some color to the twigs around the house.

Evergreen twigs with citrus and ivy to spruce up my back step and all from my garden.

My heart is happy with bouquets all year long.

Twigs in winter can make a bouquet.

What are you doing during this COVID Winter to make your heart happy?

Happy weekend, dear friends!

Monday, January 11, 2021

A Word for the Week


Colors for a Palette


Sooty black for the precise

Etching of bare trees. For ice

A pale translucent hue

Approximating grey; and blue

For shadows in the rifts

Between the moon and new snowdrifts.

~Kitchen Sonnets by Ethel Romig Fuller

"I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields,

That it kisses them so gently?

And then it covers them up snug.

You know, with a white quilt: 

and perhaps it says, 'Go to sleep, darlings, 

till the summer comes again.'" 

~Lewis Carroll 

The words from both Ethel and Lewis conjure up different colors to me.

Can you imagine walking through the grey and blue or

maybe covered by a quilt of white?

Do you sleep or hibernate through the winter months?

Are you searching for new life of the springtime?

Note: pictures taken on this day four years ago in my garden.

Today is much warmer with just rain and seeing a few daffodils pushing through the ground.

So if you haven't guessed the word today is WINTER in a multitude of colors.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Happy New Year

 Happy New Year, dear friends!

This morning as I was sitting in meditation I realized I had not made my list for this year.

I am a huge list maker and yet there is not a list.

Cleaning off my bulletin board this week, because at the beginning of the year I also clean, I saw my list for 2020.

Did I get anything done on the list? Not much! Afterall, March was fairly early in the year and it was downhill from there. I did get Christmas up and now packed away, but no travel, no adventures, and very little time with my little guy.

My "live-in-gardener" also does some wood carving and made this for our "little guy" for Christmas.

When I started thinking that I needed to make a list for 2021 this is what came:

Create JOY

Receive JOY

Give JOY

I think that will be my list for 2021. Nothing specific, but to take each day with this in mind.

What would you put on your list for 2021?

Have a great weekend, dear ones!

Monday, January 4, 2021

A Word for the Week

 A poem for you on this first Monday of 2021:


As you set out in search of Ithaka

Pray that your journey be long,

full of adventures, full of awakenings,

Do not fear the monsters of old...

You will not meet them in your travels

if your thoughts are exalted and remain high,

if authentic passions stir your mind, body and spirit.

You will  not encounter fearful monsters

if you do not carry them with your soul,

if your soul does not set them up in front of you.

Ithaka by Constantine Peter Cavafy 

(1911, as read at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's funeral)

The meaning of Ithaka:

In Greek poet C.P. Cavafy's poem, he conveys the meaning of life, or as he calls it, Ithaka. He notes that as we all try to achieve our goals, it is important to not lose sight of the journey. This journey is what offers us wisdom and makes us rich in experiences, knowledge and maturity.

Let's savor each day of the journey. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Word for 2021

I give you my gift of my words.

Please receive it with love.

Notice the sorrows of the past year,

Then release them,

Let them fly away, wave goodbye.

A new day is coming.

Move forward with Hope.

Walk with the light.

A brighter day will soon arrive.

Receive it with JOY

Peace will be with you,

Peace will delight you,

And Peace must dance in your heart.

Happy New Year to you, dear ones.

~m. miller

As I move into the new year a word will come with me.


Quote from Simple Abundance: "We trade a life that we have tried to control, and we receive in return something better - a life that is manageable." ~Melanie Beattie 

Receive is a gift from a friend and one worth noticing for 2021.

I also intend to notice trees.
A simple thing, I know, but one that will give a healthy way for the world to heal.
Let's plant trees.
Let's treasure trees.
And let's receive what they have to offer each of us.

Happy New Year, dear friends!