Thursday, April 8, 2010

Remains of the day

This morning I was nursing my butter addiction along side my coffee addiction. After Easter, the butter is the battered remains of a molded lamb. Two years ago the little old lady who made these for all of southern Fairfield county broke her leg and up and ended up in a nursing home just in time for Easter.

I cannot tell you the ruckus that ensued over how anyone was going to be getting any lambs. She would not tell anyone else how to make make the clove-eyed wonders nor surrender her molds. She just slammed shut the door of the whole buttery lamb thing and bid us all keep in mind how critical she was to us.

The next year, a local church in an enough-is-enough-with-your-broken-legged self-importance gesture, ordered a whole mess of lamb molds and doled them out liberally. So, everyone was pretty well-lambed last year, though people still called the Ukraine church and asked for the old girl and her lambs. She was home by then but still not willing to allow the lamb-tending into the hot hands of some bush league butter dilettante who maybe had never even laid shifty eyes on a real lamb and certainly would have no clue as to the spiritual meaning of the thing. Just not a thing for butter putters and the like, obviously.

This year, the lamb lady is holed up somewhere and, likely having heard everyone with a birthday was given a lamb mold last year, is hot, if not downright antagonized. I can only hope she has not begun to mold little voodoo figures out of margarine in hopes of evening up the score.

I digress, but I've been sore about this lamb bickering and subsequent fiasco for three years running. I have to tell you, I just do not want to hear about anymore. I mean, really. Is cloistering yourself with a hundred lamb molds the Christian thing to do? I'm talking my sacred lamb plastic and I'm going home. You are not going to have the old lamb bag to kick around anymore!

I know, I know, let it go. But look, it's a little crazy (hang on while I clean the windows in my glass house, will you?).

Alright. In any event, there I was, half a slaughtered butter lamb (made by my Mama, touche!) and some nut bread and I got to thinking about this pretty set of dishes my Mom used on Easter. I remember them fondly. My Grandparents saved grocery store tickets to get the full set when we were very tiny. This is the blue set, there was also a green. I will say this was about 1978 or so, it is one of my earliest memories.

Can you honestly believe a grocery store gave away something this pretty and delicate? It is, I promise you, beautiful. I understand their diligence in saving those Finest receipts now.

The mark is Myott, England, Forget Me Not, Fine Staffordshire Ware. While it may not have been all that "fine" in quality, it is very fine to the eye. The lambs looked heavenly on them.


Splurgie said...

I asked my husband (Polish on both sides) if he was familiar with the butter lamb. He smiled and remembered that his grandmother made a lamb each Easter and whittled it herself with a paring knife. She didn't own a mold. In his mind's eye, it was flawless. He explained to me the tradition behind it. Beautiful.

Karena said...

Love your lamb butter story and the china is beautiful!

Art by Karena

little augury said...

Leave it to the experts-Mother. Is there nothing they can't do? You are a delicious storyteller, little lamb. love the china-and no it is hard to imagine getting that at anything resembling a grocery store- but at one time they delivered too-so it goes. pgt

Bonnie said...

The dishes pulled up such memories. My grandmother did the exact same thing - saved her Acme grocery receipts for months for that entire set of dishes. And you're right - the quality may not be the best but they are pretty. I think they may actually still be in her house (my mother hasn't been able to sell it yet & my grandmother has been gone almost 4 years...). I'm going to have to take a walk down memory lane...

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Another enjoyable visit Catherine!

The dishes are really does make you realize the sad affair of what some stores consider beautiful offerings.

And who doesn't want darling butter to accompany their toast!

LPC said...

Favorite. Post. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Haha, that was a good story about the butter lamb since I didn;t even know they existed. And love, love, love your china. Beautiful.

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Oh Goodness- I got my good laugh for the day! Very funny story. I'm happy that you have your sacred lamb plastic!

I also see that you have a nut roll- another prized culinary delight.

But the true treasure are all these lovely blue and white cups and saucers! They are beautiful.
It's been just wonderful to visit you!

pve design said...

My sister inherited the "Lamb" cake and I am so jealous. At Christmas, Coconut fluffy Lamb chop is magically transformed to a Chocolate Rudolph! Red maraschino cherry nose! Pretzel antlers....
I now covet that lamb butter mold.
Butter me up now.
Love love love that china.

randee said...

too funny! loved the lamb tale.

i've bought butter lambs from gfs (gordon food supply) several times. no one wants to be the first to cut into him, though.

Mrs. Marciano said...

Hysterical! Those holiday rituals really bring out the best in Christian traditons, don't they?

I remember the Finast grocery store from when I was growing up. I think back then they had Green Stamps and there were treasures to be had! The dishes are so lovely and remind me of a set in an charming hotel in Paris. Tres jolie!
Great post, thanks for the giggles!

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

I have one of those lamb molds! Your first photo stole my heart. My BaBa was Slovak (I am half Slovak) and we always had a butter lamb on Easter and I continue the tradition. Everyone loves the butter lamb. Nut roll and poppy seed roll were also a part of our celebrations. We're talking soul food here! So happy that you shared that story.


The Blushing Hostess said...

Splurgie - Indeed, we inherited the tradition from old, old family friends decended the Tyrol, we bless our whole Easter Brunch meal on Holy Saturday, ours is the biggest basket, but I think others are beginning to follow suit. I cannot believe she carved it herself! Thank you and your Husband for sharing!

Karena - Thank you as always.

LA - So true.

Bonnie - so glad there are others who remember this kind of thing. These dishes survived a home-ending fire, to my mind, they can sit right up there with the Motthedeh. Undoubtedly, your Grandma's saving will put them in a prized place for you too. Do let me know how the visit back goes.

A&A - True. Surely there are many who woul have no qualms about calling them fine "antiques" now as well. Such is the world we live in... hope you are well, are you coming soon to eat scones with me at Salamander? :))

LPC - Many kind thanks as always.

J - oh yes, they have to be blessed on Holy Saturday, this lamb thing is a huge deal. Many thanks.

Yvonne - glad you came by, thank you and come back often.

PVE - now you've got me to thinking, as you always do. That never occured to me. Chocolate lambs, brilliant.

Randee - we have the same discussion every year - no one wants to be the one to slaughter him!

Mrs. M. - That's it exactly! Thank you for your comment, my Mom and I were trying to remember the process, indeed it was Green Stamps! Oh, what a process it was. Thank you for solving the mystery!

Catherine - It certainly is, the blessed food at brunch is the most important part of our tradition. In honor of you, I wandered back to the counter for an extra slice of nut bread and lamb! Keep in touch.

Mom on the Run said...

Great story! I have about 24 turkey plates that are Myott, so cheap and collected at Tuesday Morning, Homegoods, and Old Time Pottery. The box says they are a copy of an antique transferware pattern, so perhaps that's where the beautiful pattern on your dishes came from also.

SuSu said...

I can't tell you the dismay when our local (Ashland VA) grocery, Cross Brothers, could no longer get the old-fashioned Christmas candy mix nor the "other" jelly beans. We have all become accustomed to the "new" jelly beans but the Christmas candy is still mourned. Important issues in a small town!

SuSu said...

I can't tell you the dismay when our local (Ashland VA) grocery, Cross Brothers, could no longer get the old-fashioned Christmas candy mix nor the "other" jelly beans. We have all become accustomed to the "new" jelly beans but the Christmas candy is still mourned.

Important issues in a small town!

The Blushing Hostess said...

Patterns (although not lambs) in response to interest on this post today...

See you there!