Columnist: History of drinking vessels is passed down to today’s youth

Published 10:58 am Tuesday, July 28, 2009

While shopping with my grandchildren recently, we strolled through the housewares looking for some unbreakable glasses that would be suitable for using outdoors. Their parents finally settled on some hard plastic tumblers that were extremely colorful and available in two different colors and sizes, so each child was allowed to choose the color of their choice. They were so finely detailed, that unless you actually handled these tumblers, you would have mistaken them for glass. The bonus in this purchase was that they were even dishwasher safe.

A shopping trip can be such a rich experience for my grandchildren; and I admit I am not beyond taking advantage of such an occasion such as this to turn it into a bit of a history lesson. They were literally spellbound when I compared our modern day drinking vessels to those used by prehistoric people, and could not fathom how early man drank from anything that was hollow and would hold liquid. Whether it was gourds, animal horns, coconut and egg shells and disgustingly even human skulls. I related even how primitive drinking vessels of bygone years were often made with two or more handles so they could be passed easily from person to person.

In colonial America, guests at an inn usually drank from a communal bowl passed around the table, even when the revelers were total strangers. In the late 17th century, Americans used leather drinking cups, which were stitched and waxed and fitted with a silver rim. Wooden and pewter tankards and earthenware were popular until the early 19th century, when glassmaking began to be mechanized. Nonetheless, the communal drinking cup, usually made of tin, was common in public places such as schools, offices and railroad cars until the early 1900s. It finally died a lingering death after doctors began crusading for better health through better sanitization.

A crusade that popularized the individual paper cup which was finally invented in 1908. These throwaway cups were first used in large white porcelain vending machines which dispensed (providing you were lucky) a whole cup of water for just one penny. This new device was enthusiastically endorsed by members of the Anti-Saloon League, who believed that men were enticed into saloons to get a drink of water. Modern cups and glasses have to be stronger than ever before, not because they are  dropped more often, but because they must withstand the rigors of going through a dishwasher.

When temperatures begin to rise outdoors, it seems that this is when the readers request for beverages increases, so here are some suggestions to “quench that thirst!”

Coffee Punch

2 quarts strong coffee, cooled
1 pint milk
1 tablespoon vanilla, scant
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 carton whipping cream
1/2 gallon ice cream

Mix the milk, coffee, vanilla and sugar; then place into the refrigerator to chill. Place ice cream into your punch bowl, then pour this mixture over. Cover with whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg.

Fruit Punch

1 quart tea
1 quart cranberry juice
1 quart orange juice
1 pint lemonade
1 pint grape juice
1 pint pineapple juice
2 quarts ginger ale

Mix thoroughly, chill and serve.

Pineapple Punch

1 small package orange-pineapple flavored gelatin
9 cups boiling water
2 small packages lemon flavored gelatin
1 can crushed pineapple
4 cups granulated sugar
4 cups water
1 – 16 ounce bottle concentrated lemon juice
2 – 46 ounce cans pineapple juice
4 quarts ginger ale

Dissolve the gelatin in boiling water and then add the pineapple.  Combine the sugar and the four cups of water and bring this mixture to a boil. Stir into the gelatin mixture, then allow this to cool. Add the lemon and pineapple juice. Place into half gallon milk cartons and freeze. Yields about 3 1/2 cartons. Remove from the freezer one hour before serving, then add one bottle of ginger ale to each carton of punch. Note: Serve this as a slush.


2 small cans frozen orange juice
2 packages strawberry soft drink mix, unsweetened
1 large can pineapple juice

Mix the soft drink mix according to package directions, then add the other ingredients. Mix well, chill and serve

Sherbert Punch

2 small cans frozen orange juice
4 small cans frozen lemonade
4 small cans frozen pineapple juice
1 gallon pineapple sherbert
1 – 32 ounce bottle carbonated lemon-lime soft drink

Mix all of the juices as directed on their cans, then mix them all together. When you are ready to serve, place the sherbert into a punch bowl, and pour the fruit mixture over the sherbert. Add the soft drinks to taste.

If you are in the mood for doughnuts, but  are out of yeast, here’s a recipe for a quickie you can whip up!

Camouflage Doughnuts

1 can biscuit dough
cooking oil
confectioners sugar

Open biscuits and separate. Cut center out with any small bottle or bottle top. Drop the circle of dough into very hot deep oil and fry until golden brown, then turn and brown on second side. When golden brown, remove from the fryer and place on paper towels to drain. Mix the confectioners sugar with enough water to make a thin glaze; then pour this glaze evenly over the cooling doughnuts.

Homemaker’s Hint
If you use a kettle to warm water on the stove, keep two marbles in it at all times. They will rattle when more water is needed.

A Touch of Levity: Help Wanted ad in a Michigan newspaper: “Adult or mature teenager needed to  baby-sit. One dollar an hour … plus fridge benefits.”

Jam/Jelly Cookies

2 1/4 cups sifted flour
8 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup ground nuts
jam/jellies – optional flavors
1 cup oleo

Soften the butter or oleo before using. Cream the sugar and butter thoroughly, then gradually add the extract nuts and flour. Roll into tiny balls in the palm of your hands. Make a small depression in the center of these balls, then fill with jam or jelly. Bake for approximately 15 minutes in an oven of 325 degrees.

Homemaker’s Hint: To quickly loosen burnt food stuck to either enamelware or a casserole dish, fill it with boiling water  in which you have dissolved a tablespoon of washing (soda carbonate) or baking soda (soda bicarbonate). This works fast.

A Touch of Levity: Appearing in a Los Angeles newspaper: “Lost gray and white female cat. Answers to electric can opener.”

Dishpan Cookies

2 cups light brown sugar
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups oil
4 eggs
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
4 cups corn flakes

Cream the brown sugar, granulated sugar, extract, oil and eggs. Add the flour, soda and salt. Fold in the oats and corn flakes; then drop this batter, by spoonful, onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Caution – do not over bake; for these cookies are best soft.

A Touch of Levity: From a California newspaper: “Found false teeth, in parking lot at Daily Review. Please come in and smile at the switchboard operator, and she will return them to you.”

Food Fact: Popcorn will pop better if you leave it in the freezer for 24 hours before using.

Icebox Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup nutmeats, chopped

Mix the sugar, butter, egg, cream of tartar, soda, extract and nuts in the order given. Add just enough flour to make a stiff dough. Roll approximately 12 inch rolls of about 1 1/2 inch thickness. Place into refrigerator to chill. When you are ready to bake, slice the dough thin and bake it for just 12-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

A Touch of Levity: On a newscast, a Kentucky announcer stated: “The Stork Club, located on Seventh Street here in Louisville, had its leer and biker license revoked.”

Homemaker’s Hint: Always check your cornmeal for weevils, especially when you have just arrived home with a package. If there is no sign of them, put the meal into a double plastic bag, label and refrigerate or store in the freezer.

Rice Krispie Crunch

6 cups popped rice cereal
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Bring both the sugar and syrup to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the peanut butter and the cereal, then press this mixture into a 9 x 13 inch buttered pan. Melt the chocolate and spread this evenly over the top. Cool and Cut.

A Touch of Levity: After buying our new home, we landscaped it. Since this was my husband’s first attempt to plant a lawn, he was careful to do the job right. He prepared the oil, put in a sprinkler system and watered. Finally, after work, on a day when the weather was exactly right, he seeded the lawn, rolled and watered  it, finishing under artificial light because it got so late. For the next three weeks he watered  the lawn daily, often rushing home at noon to run the sprinklers for an hour. He fussed over it, shooed away birds and our cat, and looked for the first blade of grass to peek through. Except for a few weeds, nothing happened. Then one Saturday morning my husband came in and announced sheepishly, “I just found the sack of grass seed … in the garage.”
“What in the world did you plant?” I asked him. With a sigh, he replied “Kitty Litter.”

**For the gentleman, G.M. who phoned me on several occasions, I have done as you have requested and endeavored to put together some dietary suggestions, that I am sure you will find useful! Eat only when you feel hungry, and not the clock. Chew your foods very thoroughly, eat slowly and it will be much easier to digest your foods. As much as at all possible, try not to attend banquets of the multi-course type. Simplify your meals somewhat by eating fruits at one meal, veggies at another meal, etc. For some individuals it is most difficult to digest both starch and protein at the same meal. Always try to avoid overeating, for this can do damage to your body … it can very definitely endanger or bring discomfort by over burdening your organs … thus bring discomfort to your entire body. They claim that it is better to skip the meal entirely, then eat when you are overtired or nervous. Endeavor to break way from the habit of ingesting any Dagwood type of actions after suppertime, and your body will thank you!

Culinary Conversation encourages reader’s recipe contributions and requests, helpful hints and timely trivia. Simply phone them to (269) 683-7266 or mal them to 527 Philip Rd. Thank you!