A Favorite Thing

By Sherry — I’m melting in the summer heat

I originally wrote about this on my SherryHarrisauthor.com website a couple of years ago. But I was dusting today and thought maybe you all would like this story too.

One day when I was wandering around an antique store in Concord, Massachusetts I found the beautiful little jar below. I loved it for two reasons — it was blue and white and it said Boston on it. I knew I would live in the area forever and thought it would be a wonderful keepsake.

IMG_2667This side of the jar reads: MAGDA TOILET CREAM, C.J. Countie G CR, CHEMISTS, BOSTON, U.A. — other jars say USA but the S on mine has disappeared.

I decided to use the jar in the third book of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries , All Murders Final. I wanted to find out more about the jar so I did some research (thank you Google). Boy, was I surprised! There was a jar similar to mine on Etsy and the seller provided a lot of information — you can view the full post here. I had always thought the lid said Counti of Boston with a little extra flourish by the word “Counti”. In reality Countie is the family name of the company that manufactured Magda Toilet Cream. Here’s a picture of the lid:

IMG_2669 The Esty site provided this information: One of the Countie family members was kind enough to contact me and offer more information about this beautiful jar. Here’s what she told me:

‘My Grandfather Francis’ two Uncle’s John and Charles started this business in the late 1800’s. They called it MAGDA toilet cream. They were Chemists in the beauty business and developed this wonderful cream. Beacause it was in such demand, Cheeseborough Company, which is now Pond’s bought the formula and called it Pond’s Cold Cream. They used the porcelain jar back in those days because of it’s lower cost. Pond’s Cold Cream

IMG_2670This reads: Ah, Exquisite Communion of rare blossoms (Isn’t that so perfect?)

IMG_2671And this one reads: A dainty luxury for me skin. (I love that!)

I’ve done some more research since I wrote the first post.

The National Museum of American History has one, but it’s not currently on display. Click here for the link.

There are eight jars for sale on eBay and range in price from $26.75 to $199.00. I paid $10 for mine. (I’m almost tempted to by another one!)

There are two for sale on Esty. Both are around $150.00.

Most sites date these from the mid to late 1800s to the early 1900s.

Readers: What small thing do you have that you treasure?

Antique Kitchen Utensils and Cookware

News flash: Kay Bennett is the randomly selected winner of Edith’s author apron! Congrats.

We are celebrating the release of When The Grits Hit The Fan today. Here’s a bit about the book:

Before she started hosting dinners for Indiana University’s Sociology Department at Pans ‘N Pancakes, Robbie never imagined scholarly meetings could be so hostile. It’s all due to Professor Charles Stilton, who seems to thrive on heated exchanges with his peers and underlings, and tensions flare one night after he disrespects Robbie’s friend, graduate student Lou. So when Robbie and Lou go snowshoeing the next morning and find the contentious academic frozen under ice, police suspect Lou might have killed him after their public tiff. To prove her friend’s innocence, Robbie is absorbing local gossip about Professor Stilton’s past and developing her own thesis on the homicide—even if that means stirring up terrible danger for herself along the way . . .

Robbie not only runs a cafe but she also sells antique cookware and utensils. Wickeds, do you have an old pan or utensil you love? Was it handed down from someone in your family? Do you remember them using it? Do you still use it or is it a treasure that provides warm memories?

Jessie: Congratulations, Edith on your latest release! I do have a favorite piece of cookware. I have a Bundt pan that belonged to my grandmother. She was an avid baker and every time I use the pan I think fondly of her. I imagine her peering over my shoulder encouraging me to tweak the recipe just a little bit. She was a big fan of adding a little something extra to whatever it was she was making. She’s been gone for many years now and often when I’m in my kitchen I wish I could pick up the phone and give her a call.

Liz: Congrats Edith! Can’t wait to read about Robbie’s next adventure. I don’t have a treasured piece of cookware, but as an Italian girl I do have an affinity for wooden spoons. My mother used to use them for many things – ostensibly for stirring sauce, but most notably as a threat to get us kids to do what she wanted!

Sherry: What an amazing journey to a tenth book!, Edith I’m so happy for you! I have an old butter paddle (at least I think that’s what it is) from my grandparent’s farm in Novinger, Missouri. I don’t have an recollection of seeing my grandmother use it or even seeing it at their house. But it was in a box of stuff from their basement that ended up with me. I’ve had it on display on and off in various homes. I put the pen in the picture to give a sense of it’s size.

Julie: Edith/Maddie, huge congratulations! I do have a few utensils that were my grandmother’s. A metal measuring cup that is bent up, and hand beater that gets a little stuck after a few rotations, and a glass Pyrex coffee pot that I have yet to make a decent cup of coffee with, but that reminds me of her, so it sits on my stove as a talisman.

Barb: I have lots of kitchen items from my family. I have my mother’s Christmas cookie cutters, very important because they need to be small, because the butter cookies are so short. I have pie plates from my mother-in-law I use all the time. I have the square, tin pans my grandfather made for my grandmother’s famous “cakes” that were really open-faced. fruit tarts. I have the recipe, too, but I’ve always been afraid to try it. And I have my Corningware casserole dishes from my wedding–which now are practically antiques!

Edith: Thanks so very much, my dear Wicked Cozy friends! I love all these stories. I still use my mother’s biscuit cutters, frosting spreader, pie pan, and sifter, along with a pair of cookie shapers – or are those butter ball rollers? Can you detect a theme? She loved baking – and was talented at it – but didn’t really care for savory cooking, although she made nightly dinners for our family of six.kitchenutensils

Readers: Do you have an old pan or utensil you love? What is its story?

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