A GAME OF BRIDGE, A BLUE RIBBON, AND A BLUE TEAPOT

When I was growing up I watched the ritual of tea being made in this blue teapot.     Every day tea was made in a large brown Betty,  a teapot as plain as  its name.  Tea made in the blue teapot was reserved for special occasions; brides and baby showers , afternoon whist drives and most important of all, bridge.

To me this was the most beautiful teapot in my world.

Everything had to be perfect.  The tablecloth  freshly laundered and carefully ironed.  My Mother had bought this cross stitch  tablecloth with matching napkins during the hard days of the depression.    An  enterprising  woman was  going door-to-door selling her exquisite  handiwork.   I remember my Mother saying  it had been priced rather “dear” , but well worth the price.

Weeks in advance cookbooks would be poured over  and consulted.    It was a given the sandwiches would be cut from white and brown bread in the shapes of hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds.  The fillings,   egg salad, deviled ham, creamed chicken, cucumber.

This  1924 edition of  a Fannie Farmer Cookbook, was considered the most up-to-date cookbook on the shelf.

The pages provided inspiration for sandwich fillings .  It was World War Two.  Many  ingredients were impossible to come by.  Sugar was rationed.  Creative cooks improvised.   Not even War could stop the rituals of bridge.

While my Mother read the  The Boston School Cook Book, I poured over this Blue Ribbon Cook Book.  This cook book  was printed in 1905,  “for everyday use in Western Homes”.

Would I make a  Minnehaha cake, a simple yellow cake with a delicious filling of  boiled icing with raisins and almonds.

No, I had made that cake the last bridge club tea.  This time  a selection of cookies; lemon snaps, horns of plenty and coconut jumbles.  Perhaps this was the occasion to make brandy snaps, rolling the crisp wafer thin cookies around a wooden spoon, then filling them with whipped cream.

Heady decisions for a ten year old baker.

It’s been more than sixty years since  those days of  food rationing, whist drives and bridge tournaments.   I was never into bridge.  My sisters, however,   still play bridge several times a a week.     I am still baking, and  pouring over cookbooks.

This recipe for lemon snaps was one of my favorites.  I have copied out the recipe EXACTLY the way it is given in my Blue Ribbon Cookbook.  You will notice there are few instructions.  You must judge how much flour to add, and  know how to judge a “quick oven” by putting your hand into the oven.  By the way, a quick oven would be 375-400 F.  It meant having a lot of kindling on hand to keep a very hot fire going in the stove.  Another job for the cook.

Recipe for LEMON SNAPS:

2/3 cup butter, l cup sugar, 4 tablespoons hot water, 2 eggs, flour to roll soft, 1/2  teaspoon soda, 2 teaspoons Blue Ribbon lemon extract.  Bake in a quick oven. That’s it.  No other instructions.    You’re on your own.

The beautiful blue tea pot – now over 90 years old,  sits on a shelf in my kitchen, a reminder of those elegant days of   afternoon tea.

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6 thoughts on “A GAME OF BRIDGE, A BLUE RIBBON, AND A BLUE TEAPOT

    • Florence,that particular colour blue of the teapot was the first colour I fell in love with as a child. I am still mad for blue china. Of all the things I have of my Mom’s that teapot is my absolute most cherished possession. Have a wonderful week-end. V.

  1. What a marvelous story!!! I love the memories of childhood and the awakenings of our gifts and delights of our senses. I too have a teapot that was my Mother’s favorite. We were quite German and tea was not part of our routine; however, this teapot was very special to my Mom and it is covered with tiny blue flowers……..thank you for this post…….

    • My Mother felt there was nothing a good cup of tea couldn’t sort out. She always made tea in a pot (no dunking of a tea bag in a mug). The milk was always in a creamer, the sugar in a bowl. XXOO V.

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