Thursday, March 14, 2019

Who Let the Hedgehogs Out? – & – Blue Willow Saves the Day

My husband asked me a question this morning that one doesn’t hear every day. “Did you leave a hedgehog out?”

Rather than reply with a facetious query as to who else might have, I concurred.

And no. We didn’t import those spiny mammals into our menagerie.

The last time we shopped the giant international market, Jungle Jim’s, I found these cute Japanese red bean filled buns in a representative shape. They weren’t expensive, so we brought a box home.

Don't call me Sonic...
Sad to say, the texture proved a bit dry, though I appreciated the lack of extreme sweet featured in most Midwest treats. With one left and freezer burn setting in, this lonely critter got set out on a plate to thaw.

Color Enhanced
They had been microwave heated in past, a tricky balance of defrost and high settings. Alas, this countertop method dried out the little guy further, though I’m sure the frost visible on its tiny intact head didn’t help.
The filling was a disappointment...

As you may know, the plate beneath bears the Chinese Blue Willow pattern first popular Stateside in the 1920’s. A fan since childhood (not the Roaring Twenties), I requested a few place settings for our wedding. Selected for special occasions, they saw zero use. For everyday wear and tear, we stuck with his old CorningWare set from long distant college days.

A few years ago I admitted having grown tired of that blue flower pattern and gained approval to choose anew, the old decent set donated to charity. Knowing from reviews that these new bowls would be too tiny for salads, I decided to pull out some more befitting from, you guessed it, my Blue Willow cabinet.

By the way, I bought additional recent manufactures from a kind colleague and avid antique collector, adding to our original collection despite their lack of usage. Anyway, the bowls brought into rotation saw not a single breakage.

Oh, and I once broke a plate from our old CorningWare. Shards appeared for years.

To my chagrin, the same hardiness could not be attributed to the newer CorningWare. After a few months the cute simple swoops became damaged, dulled and disappearing in increments quite unlike those vintage blue flowers.

Looking at our stack of nice untarnished bowls made me decide to replace all that increasingly ugly dishware (to which food tended to cling throughout various dishwashing cycles, I might add). The rest in storage, one now serves as a water catcher for my Christmas cactus.

Wish I had a use for the rest, not much fit for charity.
The China from my former coworker, made in the home country, show more white between the central and edge designs while our original pieces (as shown above) came from England and have a tighter configuration. All are servicing well, holding onto their designs and shrugging off food stains.

Did you know the term ‘blue plate special’ is thought to have originated with this design’s popularity?



  1. I know those corning ware shards all too well.

  2. The plate of the Chinese Blue Willow pattern looks so great. Love it.

    Have a great day

    1. I like it, for sure. ~grin~ I hope you're having a lovely day.

  3. I didn't know about the blue plate special thing, but it makes sense. We have corning ware here too. You can break them though.

    That bun doesn't look that good. Just saying.

    Have a fabulous day, Darla. ♥

  4. I collect Blue Willow. Not to use, just one of each, as there are countless variations of the pattern. The first ones were well before the date of your pattern, maybe as old as the late 1700s. It tells a story you know! Not an ancient Chinese story of course! The story ("The Story of the Common-Pattern Willow Plate")was first published in 1849. Every blue willow pattern has the same story elements, but each a little bit different, which is why I have so many! They hang on the kitchen walls (very pretty against the yellow paint) and in the hutch. I actually have photos on my phone so I don't buy repeats!
    My for use plates are from the Dollar Tree! I break a lot...
    They did get a new pattern in a few days ago, a very pretty paisley in aquas. I got them!

    1. Oh, just an edit... I don't collect bowls, they don't hang well on walls! Just plates, and the odd flat piece. And some shapes I have no idea their function! I have one mug, just because. Mugs were small back when it was made! It doesn't nearly hold enough for my morning cocoa!

  5. It's nice to change up the plates and bowls now and again.

  6. I did not know that is where the term came from. If you are ever looking for a specific piece from a pattern, check out replacements LTD, they have everything. Being a klutz, I have ordered from there several times. Cute hedgehog :)

    1. Thanks for the tip. I couldn't resist these little guys, though I won't get them again. Be well!

  7. So your little critter was not so tasty? sorry. But it made me think of a jelly filled donut I would like to have right now! Thanks, I don't need it. Keep in mind that when heating things like your critters again, wrap in a paper towel first. Usually works good at keeping it from drying out as bad. I have Corelle Ware with Ivy pattern on it. I have been using it for years...years....years. No staining, broke a piece or two (supposed to be unbreakable), but still going strong. Wanting to replace it for actual glass plates. Something I will get around to later....

    1. Thank you for the advice. And an ivy pattern sounds nice. Be well!

  8. That's true, the hardiness of the old ones isn't there for the newer ones. Though I have disposed of many old plates, there are some I still cling to.


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