900. The 900th on a plate

(No audio today!)

It’s the 900th story on the 900th day! How to celebrate? Some people in their excitement toss their handbag in the air; some throw high their mortar board; yet others get tipsy and post pictures of themselves in the nude. I need to find something equally exciting to celebrate this occasion…

I know! I shall tell you about my crockery!

I don’t have much crockery, but the bits I have are used frequently and with pleasure. My regular plates are Libretto by Mikasa. It cost a pretty penny about sixteen years ago in North Carolina, and has been used almost every day since. It’s stoneware, and is now starting to look a bit scratched. I never saw the point of getting a dinner set for cabinet display. There’s eight pieces in the set, although one saucer broke when bringing it to New Zealand from Quebec, and I dropped the sugar bowl a couple of years back.


Then about fourteen years ago, in a quaint second hand shop on the banks of the French Broad River, in Asheville, North Carolina, I spied a turkey dish. It was selling for nearly $100, but I liked it, so bought it. It has been used (and washed) lovingly every celebration (turkey or not) since. It’s called “Home for Thanksgiving” by Johnson Brothers. It might not be that rare or unusual, but it’s quite my most cherished thing.


Then, to impress with finger food on hoity-toity occasions, there’s this little dish, again by Johnson Brothers. It is called “Leaving the Village”. Although costing only a couple of dollars, it was purchased online at considerable personal cost. I lost a lifetime of good reputation in a single purchase. The woman selling the plate online via a fairly reputable website never sent the dish I purchased, so I complained. She answered with an apology; her grandmother had died and she had to attend the funeral. Scanning through previous comments on her pages, I replied that I was sad to hear her grandmother had died for the sixth time. Well! Did that press a button! “The characteristics of this trader: callousness and arrogance beyond compare. A ‘lovely’ email acts as testimate to the true calibre of his character. With a 100% reputation from over 600 trades I have come across some prickly people, but this ‘gentleman’ takes the cake. Do yourself a favour and blacklist, he’s simply not worth the effort.” This stands as the crowning achievement in my online-purchasing-career, and serves as a story repeated whenever cucumber sandwiches are served. I’m still blacklisted by the website. I follow the seller with interest. Her grandmother sadly passed away several more times, but seems to have eventually snuffed it permanently. The seller is now a simple student struggling to earn money to become an eye specialist so she can help poor blind people in Africa! I would buy another dish to help her out if I wasn’t blacklisted.


Then there is the French Fish Dish (top of the two pictured), along with a French Cake Dish. I do like them. They are Sarreguemines and are not of great value. And I have never managed to find a fish long enough to fill the length of the plate. Besides, if I did, such a long fish wouldn’t fit in the oven. But the plates get used daily on the table piled with fresh fruit for the taking. And on special occasions they get used for this and that – nibbles, a bit of this and a bit of that!



Finally, a few years ago I visited a second hand store and there was a Christmas dinner set for six on display. “How much?” I asked. It was $15. I bought it, and it gets used from American Thanksgiving until the Feast of the Epiphany! Who said I wasn’t organized? The picture has food on the plate – just to prove that I sometimes eat.


There now! That’s my crockery! Fascinating eh? I bet you’re glad I didn’t celebrate the 900th by throwing my handbag in the air.

48 thoughts on “900. The 900th on a plate

  1. Susanne

    I didn’t know the 900th anniversary was the crockery year? I thought that was the 20th anniversary but nevertheless how appropriate to talk about perpetual Grandmother resurrection on Easter Sunday. Christ, what an act! Your crockery is lovely and again, how appropriate that your Mikasa dinnerware is called Libretto. I am a fan of “depression” glass and have some pretty green sorbet cups that match nothing else I have but who cares!

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Someone I know did a posting about tea cups and mugs – just when I was writing this! Blow it, I thought – we keep inadvertently copying off each other!

  2. Cynthia Jobin

    I am sitting here feeling like such an ungrateful wretch of a granddaughter…..my grandmother loved nice crockery probably even more than you do, and I have inherited quite a bit, about which I am quite nonchalant. My inherited everyday dishes are from a set with scenes called “Historic America”, made by Johnson Bros. in England, and probably purchased in the 1920’s. Each set piece has a different scene and all the borders are arabesques of oak leaves and acorns…..all in blue on white. The dinner plates show “A View of Boston,” the luncheon plates, “Sacramento, California; the salad plates, “Wall Street, New York”; The tea-and-saucer show “San Francisco Gold Rush” and the soup-and-saucer, “Williamsburg, Virginia.” You would love them. I wonder if they’re worth much to collectors…. and, there is a set of beautiful translucent cobalt blue pedestaled water glasses and sherbet cups to match!

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      I always think it’s nice to be nonchalant! My mother had the most beautiful (and expensive) crockery and cutlery. And she used it every day – even for picnics! What is the use of lovely things if we don’t use them?!
      I inherited my grandmother’s fruit bowl (her wedding present) – which broke in the luggage getting transported to America!
      Here is my turkey dish on eBay – same picture but the blue of your set!

      1. Cynthia Jobin

        Thanks for the link…a perfect match. I wouldn’t be surprised if there had been one like that at my grandmother’s house, since we always had Turkey Day at her house in the early days…..with time, it would have gotten broken, like so many things

  3. thecontentedcrafter

    I love old blue and white crockery! I used to have quite a collection and gave it away when I was moving around a lot and just wanted to be rid of ‘stuff’. I still have and use regularly a small selection of odds and sods mostly bought at boot sales in the UK when I dwelt there. You have a lovely collection of old plates Bruce – and so does Cynthia from the sounds of that 🙂 I agree with using beautiful things on a daily basis too – why not enjoy them while you can? I used to take my Czechoslovakian cut crystal wine glasses on picnics. I no longer have them either. 🙂 I’m curious about how you got your plate from the woman with multiple grandmothers in the end. I once purchased something from a woman who lost her beloved mother suddenly. Several other people also reported not receiving their purchases from her [mine never turned up] and that woman eventually got banned from trademeing. 🙂 It was a pleasure perusing your lovely collection!

    1. Cynthia Jobin

      I often did let the dog lick plates before consigning them to the dishwasher….and once when some cousins of Mary were visiting and saw that, they took her aside and whispered as to how she should get me to stop doing that…imagine! a dog licking a plate that was for human use!

    2. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Thank you. I “go through” my crystal wineglasses regularly! And once they’re all broken, there’s always the inconvenience of having to drink it out of the bottle (in the supermarket car park!) The woman with the late grandmothers sent the plate once I wrote my letter of condolence. I THINK I know who it was – and in fact THINK I ended up teaching her son in South Auckland.

  4. Yvonne

    Well, you turned crockery into such an interesting post! There aren’t many people with that rare talent, I reckon.

    900 posts, nothing to be sneezed at nor gumboots thrown at. Well done, Bruce Almighty. And, also, thank you for entertaining/shocking us each and every day.

    PS I do covet your lovely plates. Sigh. If I ever make it to your country, will you please serve me cucumber sandwiches?

    1. Cynthia Jobin

      Yvonne… it you ever make it, I will try to make it, too, and we can bring along some crockery to throw against the hearth and smash to smithereens in celebration, like the Greeks do!

      1. Yvonne

        Wouldn’t it be a hoot if we could both get there and make Bruce Almighty’s day!? I think he’d be able to cope. Now, let’s practice that Greek dance. Ουρά!

            1. Cynthia Jobin

              That’s it. The Greek dances are beautiful and androgynous…in the spirit of Zorba, intensely expressive of the individual who, at the same time, is formally, reservedly, co-operatively—maybe poetically— linked to others. Not the same thing as “Dancing with the Stars”, which is mostly the vertical expression of a horizontal desire.

  5. wolfberryknits

    Congrats Bruce! 🙂 I read the whole post with much interest until the amazing words ***CHRISTMAS DINNER SET***!!! Now I have forgotten the rest and am fixated by this idea. What a magical thing! 😀

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Ebay might be the place to find it! Or whatever you have in Australia! (I actually have two Xmas dinner sets, but the older one has a lot of pieces broken over the years, so now the bits get used spasmodically!)


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