Wednesday, October 7, 2009


The yellow teapot on the left was a gift from Chris to Caro on her birthday last month; he bought it because she’s a teapot collector, plus it is a send-in-the-premium-coupon Lipton Tea Company giveaway item circa 1935. You clipped the coupons off the tea box, sent them to Lipton, and they mailed your teapot to your small-town post office. I suppose you could choose your color, for I found pictures of a lot of different hues from the same year; this one is the exact shade of the filling of a luscious, tangy cool slice of Lemon Icebox Pie.

Not Lemon Meringue Pie, which is a different item altogether; that one has a cooked filling, heavy on the juice and peel, with water and cornstarch as prime ingredients. Icebox pie is a diet-busting slice made simply with egg yolks, Eagle Brand Milk, and a lot of lemon juice, mixed and poured quickly into that lovely graham cracker or vanilla wafer crust, before it can thicken all on its own. That’s the filling. The whites are whipped into creamy billows, whirled into swoops atop, and baked for long enough to turn the smooth topping to a lovely tanny-gold.

(How do I ALWAYS interrupt with a recipe? That’s a great failing I’m working on).

The burgundy and teal pots are tall, graceful Aladdin cousins to the short squat burgundy Magical Pot of Mammaw legend.
These two are premiums from McCormick, and according to Mammaw, the pots were right there in the store to choose from, and there were several colors, but the choices grew scarce as the promotion neared its end. Aunt Lou’s part in the story was that several ladies in the town wanted to “reserve” a color for which time as they had accumulated the proper number of coupons. And then there was THAT froufraw when others found out and got angry at the store, at Aunt Lou, and at the ones who DID get the favored colors. (Some of whom, by the way, had had the gall/folly/lack of tact to mention it at WMU and Club).

I don't know if Mammaw CHOSE hers, liking the squatty roundness better than the tall elegance, or if hers was the last one left. She had a thing about taking advantage, just because the prosperous store owner was her sister, though another sister, Aunt Lo, was a firm proponent of the nepotism rule of Pick 'n' Choice all the way.

And the waiting and hoping tells of the times---when tea was probably thirty cents a box, and perhaps ten coupons would get you the teapot---today we'd just throw all ten boxes in the buggy, pick our color, and go home with the lot. But THREE DOLLARS!! That was a week's wages for a lot of people, those who HAD work. It would more than buy the week's groceries, or a needed pair of shoes, or fabric for making several dresses for the daughters of the house. Those little pots were hard-won and sought after, and when it was the only teapot you HAD, daily use was careful, indeed, and special occasions were made more special by the having.
It’s unusual to find one with the little clerical collar insert still intact. I like to use the two tall ones when Chris and I have afternoon tea together---I drink coffee in the mornings, and the pot is too big for one. We use the insert in either one, and it makes a lovely, perfect-to-the-last-cup pot of tea, because after the five or six minute steep, the insert is removed to a saucer, and the flavor of the tea remains the same for every cup, without that over-brewed tannic flavor that can happen with loose leaves in the pot.

And I don’t know who the little yellow girl on the right is---she just sits there solidly on her perfectly flat bottom, taken down from her perch over the microwave when Chris wants a pot in the morning. My neighbor knitted me a variegated cozy, white with almost every color you can think of amongst the threads, and it looks good on all our pots, with an opening for spout, handle, and a teensy tonsure which fits over the lid button. We use the small yellow most, and she never spills a drop.

She has no credentials, no provenance, as do the other three, but she’s family, too.
Please drop in at and see all the lovely Vintage Thursday treasures that other folks are displaying.


Kathi Fly said...

What a nice story! I've never heard of the Lipton give away. The teapots are such pretty colors and what a nice tradition to have tea every afternoon in such special teapots - credentials or not!

racheld said...

We enjoy it especially now, on these Fall days, when we can step out onto the patio and enjoy a pot in the late afternoon with the sun slanting through the leaves.

Thank you for dropping in!!

marian said...

what great giveaways!!..i love your teapots & that yummy recipe too!!

Debbie said...

Cute teapots and I am so impressed at how much you know about them. What fun to have treasures that you know the history of.

Ulla said...

I loved your story (with recipe iterruption and all) and your teapots. I'm a tea lover and I seem to make my tea the wrong way, but I like the tannic flavour of the tea leaves staying inthe pot.

Diann @ the thrifty Groove said...

i loved to hear the story of these pretty teapots! Thansk for sharing it!

Miri said...

Wonderful premium teapots! and I love the story-a perfect description of living in a small town!

Keetha Broyles said...

I love tea pots.

I love tea cups.

I love the name of your blog - - - but then, I think I told you that last week - - - still love it THIS week.


~~Carol~~ said...

Well, I sure learned something today! I had no idea that Lipton and McCormick had premiums, where you could get a teapot. I wish companies would do that nowadays, but I suppose they just couldn't afford to do it. It would be way too expensive to mail the pots, that's for sure! Those pots are all gorgeous, and I liked the recipe interruption!
Happy VTT!

Postcardy said...

Those teapots are so cute. I think they are much nicer than fancier teapots.

PlantSomeRoots@Lakewood said...

Ohhh...I love their colors. The teal is my fave, of course. Thanks for sharing!
Living it up at Lakewood,

racheld said...

My Goodness!!! So many callers, and me still not dressed for the day. You WILL excuse my lazy ways.

These are just lovely comments, and I so appreciate your stopping in. I'll be popping by to see your own lovely treasures during the day.

I've added a link to the original post, about the Magical Teapot of my childhood. We STILL don't know how THAT worked.

The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

Wow, and perfect for me cause I love tea. I never thought to look for these at sale but I will now. They would be a wonderful thing to use... and lovely too

LV said...

I love the little tea pots. They are real treasures. Wish I had a slice of that pie right now. Thanks for finding your way to my place.

Coloradolady said...

Lovely tea the colors too. and the recipe sounds great...wish I had a slice of pie....Have a great weekend and a wonderful VTT!

Jeanne said...

Hello Racheld, thank you so much for your visit today. Yes, some of the salt cellars had little spoons. They didn't show up in the photo at all. This is a life long collection. My aunt is 82 and still having lots of antique sales. She primarily sells antique buttons. Check my previous post on this past week. I think you will love it.

Your teapots and their stories are wonderful. I had several chuckles about the pre-selection of the teapots. I love the recipe too and have made it and loved it. I too love tea, cold or hot.
Years ago it was rather common to have premium gifts. The good old days!!!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Hugs, Jeanne

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

I love your little teapots. I'm just getting around to visiting the VTT blogs. It's always so fun to see what everyone is showing.


Sandy said...

Oh premiums....I wish they would bring them back!!!! I had a lot of nice little kitchen items years ago from them. But can you imagine these beautiful teapots???? Wow!

racheld said...

It's been a wonderful day, looking in to see that so many nice ladies have left their calling cards and nice comments!

Thank you all for dropping in, and I hope to join the VTT Thursdays again soon. I also enjoyed each and every one of the posts, from buttons to quilts to that snazzy Joan de Hamper, with her fancy earbobs.

This has been such fun!

Pam said...

Congrats on the foodie blogroll!

Simply Life said...

Those teapots are beautiful!

Indy Cookie said...

Treasures abound!! It is because of posts like this I have included you in the following award post
God Bless!!

Becky said...

Racheld, what a great story and you are a great storyteller too.

Thanks for sharing your teapots! Happy VTT!!


I guess to sell more tea you giveaway a premium
teapot to make it in! Great story!

Kouign aman said...

Ah, tea pots and your inimitable voice talking of them.
Please do not break the interrupt-with-a-recipe habit. Its part of what makes your voice special.

Tea pots - three
1 brought home from a trip to England
1 sent by a friend from Berlin when she broke the lid of the English one during her visit (it glued together nicely tho).
1 brought home from a later trip to England, waiting in the wings.

Both the first two pots are damaged and I'm considering turning them into planters. But your pix make me want to keep them both active, at their respective 2 & 4 person sizes.

Take care