Vintage Ironstone

I started collecting Vintage Ironstone in the last few months, slowly growing a beautiful ensemble in my hutch. I was inspired by all of the beautiful collections seen pictured in decorating magazines, blogs, and videos of farmhouse decor. It’s not easy to find – I come across a piece or two every week, but early in February, the thrifting gods must have been smiling on me, and I brought home a ton of beautiful examples for a song.

I don’t know much about it, to be frank.  But a little research revealed that  Martha Stewart is credited for the recent rise in popularity of white ironstone when she featured it on her show and in her magazine. Here is a link to a Martha Stewart video that is well worth the watch – it will help you to identify features to look for, and give you some ideas about potential values.

Another website identified that some of the most collectible pieces were “sugar jars” – something I had never heard of before.  Older examples are generally “chunkier” in style and have a bluish cast to the glaze and are also much larger than their modern counterparts.   That was good news for me, because a large bluish sugar jar was among my purchases.

Old-fashioned Molasses Ginger Cookies

Just  before Christmas, my 100 year old Nanna took a bit of a tumble while she was fussing with her Christmas decorations–seems she tripped over a chair leg or something–and fractured her hip.  It was very scary watching her head into surgery, and a very anxious ninety minutes while we waited for the surgeon to assure us that she had come through it okay.  Fast forward a few weeks, and she celebrated her 101st birthday!  She is still in hospital, but the general consensus is, that she cannot return home.  She is up an walking, and becoming more independent (I’m telling you…this lady is a force of nature!) but now we need to turn our thoughts to packing up her household and preparing for a move to a retirement home.

The only thing I really wanted from  Nanna’s apartment was her Pyrex mixing bowls. I have nearly 50 years of food memories associated with these vibrantly coloured bowls. Mom had the yellow one too (and I have vivid flashbacks of the potato salad and scalloped potatoes served up in her’s). I have been looking for years for an affordable set of my own, but had to settle for a more modern set (on the left).

Now that I have brought home the treasured mixing bowl set, the more modern set–picture on the left–are going to youngest son’s apartment. Why? To quote him, “I have nearly 25 years of food memories in them.”

Like mother, like son.

To welcome the bowls home, I felt the need to put them to use with something old-fashioned, heart-warming, soft and comforting.  Ah yes – molasses ginger cookies.

 

Molasses Ginger Cookies

  • Difficulty: some experience
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Makes 3 Dozen Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsps baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cut fancy molasses
  • turbinated sugar (for rolling cookies dough in before baking) – you may substitute white granulated sugar

 

Heat oven to 375 degrees, placing rack in the centre. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves.

In a second bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, egg and molasses. Beat at high speed until light and fluffy.

Stir in flour mixture. The cookie batter is going to be very stiff, so finish the final mixing with your hands.

Form balls of cookie dough by the tablespoon full, roll into sugar to cover the outside surface and place on baking sheet, one dozen at a time.  Do not press.  Bake for nine minutes and allow to cool.