Saturday, July 26, 2014

How to Store Your Washcloths (why in transferware of course!)

Several years ago I wrote a post about a purple transferware soup tureen that I had come across and now use as a storage container for washcloths in our master bathroom.  I roll the towels up lengthwise so they resemble roses and place them in the tureen.  It mimics a huge bouquet of roses in a beautiful vessel.

This is one of my favorite pieces of transferware and I throughly enjoyed researching and learning about, though it took a little time to gather the information I found.

The stamp / makers mark on the bottom of the tureen reads Chantilian (pattern name) and R & C.  R & C which stands for Read and Clementson, Staffordshire potters at High Street at Shelton, Hanley.

   This firm, as with many of the early transferware manufacturers, had a short production period from 1833-35, when many potters sprang up out nowhere because of the huge business transfer printing had become in England.  I was elated to know I had found such an early piece, nearly 200 years of age, and that it must be quite rare being that it was produced by a firm that had a short life. I researched further and found nothing about the pattern and little, only two or three mentions of R & C, in my Staffordshire books.  One mention was in Jeffrey Snyders Romantic Staffordshire Ceramics where he shows a photo of a plate in another pattern by R & C but no additional  information is given.  I continued looking and looking until one day I found something that had me totally soupified…er, eh, er, I  mean stupefied!  I discovered that a shipwreck had taken place about 7 nautical miles off the coast of England.   The site has been named the Bottle Wreck for the many beer, wine bottles and bottle shards  found in the scattered cargo around the bow area.  It has been determined that the ship was a wooden merchant sailing vessel that sank between 1833 and 1835.  This is based on the fact that…guess what….broken pottery shards just north of a large cargo mound were found, some of them being attributable to Read and Clementson (R & C).   Quoting the article linked to about the Bottle Wreck: 

"The identification of the maker of one of the blue and white transfer printed willow pattern plates allows more accurate dating, as the pottery Read & Clementson only existed between 1833 and 1835. The terminus post quem for the sinking of the vessel is thus 1833. The terminus ante quem could tentatively be defined as 1835, but there is a possibility that Read & Clementson transfer printed ware continued to be traded after the pottery closed down."

Today, some remaining pieces from the works of Read and Clementson are housed at a nautical and archaeological museum in Littlehampton.   That makes me feel like I've found a really special piece.

Below is a photo taken in our bathroom.  The bathroom is a large, open room but oddly there isn't lots of storage and not much room at all around the sinks but for a soap dispenser.  My sink is just to the right of the large floral picture seen below so they are easily within reach.  You can see the tureen in the niche built into the wall along with some other transferware, towels, figurines and a favorite non-transferware plate that belonged to my Grandma.  

And, next to the niche, on the wall are three other pieces that I'm really fond of.  They are all antique two color transferware plates that bring together the colors in the room.    

Roll up some washcloths and enjoy the remainder of your weekend. 

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Grilled Pork Chops with Homemade Garlic Herbed Butter

Tis the season to be grillin'!   Shawn might argue that there are no seasonal boundaries for grilling.  I take that back.  Shawn would actually insist that there are no seasonal boundaries for grilling. During rain, sleet, snow, even during a tornado watch it isn't at all unusual to find my husband standing outside in sub zero, torrential weather if there is some meat he can grill.  And grill he does!

This is a dish that we used to make quite often, summers ago.  I'm not even sure how it fell off of our radar because it's a win-win dish as it is just as easy to make as it is delicious to eat.  Do you ever forget about a dish and then something sparks your memory and you're like, "oh yeah, we have got to make that soon"?   A couple of weeks ago we were talking about a Spinach salad I make with warm bacon dressing and these pork chops immediately popped into my head;  I've never not served the chops without the Spinach salad.  It reminded me how good they were and so we made them shortly thereafter.

For the pork, you can grill whatever your favorite cut is.  We always do thick cut, boneless chops but a tenderloin would be equally yummy!

Just brush the chops with a little olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and grill them to your liking.  The real treat in this is the herbed butter you allow to melt on top when they are just hot off the grill.

Here's the butter at room temperature in a pretty red transferware salt cellar.  These are great little bowls for all sorts of sauces, etc.  Last Fall, when I wrote about how I was chosen to provide a new nightclub, Rose.Rabbit.Lie, at The Cosmopolitan Hotel with 1700+ pieces of transferware I showed you all a pic of how these are used in the restaurant for serving caviar.

The butter can be frozen and thawed later as well so you might want to make a couple of sticks.  You can take them out of the freezer as needed.

Herbed Butter (for poultry or pork)

1 stick butter, softened
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon rosemary (I used dried this time but prefer fresh)
2 teaspoons dried orange peel
salt to taste (or use salted butter)
pepper to taste, if desired

Mix all ingredients well.  Serve soft or make it extra pretty by chilling and then rolling into a tube or shape however you wish.  
You can slice it into pats.  Serve a dollop or small pat of butter on grilled chicken or pork just after pulling it off the grill.  

Below is a pic of the butter, after being rolled and chilled, cut into small pats.  The wooden carved butter dish is antique.  Check my shop for these if you're interested as I've currently got one or two, one with a blue transferware insert.  

I plan to post the recipe for the Spinach salad soon, as it goes so nicely with the pork, but the only close to decent pic I got is this one of Ethan helping put it together.  So, the spinach salad recipe will have to wait until I get better photos to share with you.

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