Egg Cups or Bust

All in all, I think I can safely say that it is all the fault of PBS. I started watching Masterpiece Theater and Mystery! at an early age, when Alastair Cooke and Vincent Price were the respective hosts. I even named one of my teddy bears Alastair. When you’ve been watching British shows for that long, there are going to be some repercussions, and in my case one of those repercussions was a teapot obsession. I mean, those people are always taking breaks for tea.

But I lived in a tiny, 750 square foot house, and so my passion for teapots could only go so far, because I was running out of room. I moved on to teacups.

I didn’t go for the precious porcelain teacups. No, I collected the well-used ones with chips, or the ones that looked like something someone’s grandmother would use if she also happened to live in a cottage. I had a whole imaginary world attached to these teapots and teacups, and knew that my world and an actual Britain were two very different things. I liked both pots and cups to be a little sturdy and preferably blue and white and Wedgewood-ish.

This obsession had a better shelf life, and when I got married I even registered for Denby, because it’s one of those quintessential British brands and the Wedgewood selections that year looked a little frou-frou. Twelve years later, and I’m still not tired of my Denby pattern, so good on me!

But I couldn’t go on collecting teacups, because I already had quite a lot of teapots, and teacups and saucers also take up a lot of display space– especially when you are a new married, sharing your apartment space with someone’s guitars and pedal boards, and amps big enough to use as table extensions (I did take a larger one and stick it next to the kitchen table, then toss a pretty tablecloth over the whole deal).

Well, go gung-ho for egg cups, obviously.

I had always thought they were cute, I won’t lie, and I even had a favorite few that I used for soft boiled eggs, but once I had reached teacup saturation, I started scouring secondhand shops and Cost Plus for egg cups instead.

They are the perfect foodie thing to collect. Small, food-related, and not very easy to find. I have most of the newer kinds of egg cups, so I focus on antiques now, just to purposefully slow my habit down. Also, I like to actually use my collection, so I try to buy designs that are not so precious or delicate that I will be afraid to use them.

My very favorite egg cup is one that does double duty, since it has a cup sized for chicken eggs and another for what I’m assuming are goose eggs. Who even eats those anymore? It’s very plain but has an attractive craquelure, and says Grindley England on it.

Anglophilia can take many forms. Observe Eggs-hibit A: the egg cup.
Anglophilia can take many forms. Observe Eggs-hibit A: the egg cup.

A collection that isn’t used is not, in my opinion, very interesting. Part of the fun for me is admiring the thing (in this case, an egg cup) while I am using it. I like to think about who used it before me, and what their day must have been like after breakfast. Was it a girl, like me? Was she a WREN, or a factory worker? Did she have a boyfriend or solve mysteries or have high tea at the Savoy? Probably none of these things, but they were fun scenarios to imagine while I was poking toast soldiers into a soft boiled egg.

 

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