Thursday, 6 February 2014

Rediscovered rituals

Or, how old friends become reacquainted again.
Welcome back Mistress of Zip, Madam of Zap.  It's been a long time.

Last century, 1991.
Early 20-something single female living solo for the first time.
Her own TV, her own front door key, her own washing machine, her own stereo…

Her own fridge.

Contents of fridge owned by early 20-something single female living solo for the first time (in order of then importance):

  • Chanel nail varnishes lined up in the butter compartment,
  • coffee beans in the freezer,
  • the current opened tin of cat food (neatly cling-wrapped) on the top shelf,
  • a bottle of flat Diet-Coke languishing in the door bracket,
  • a bag of pitted prunes.

Maybe, if early 20-something single female had been ‘grocery shopping’, some eggs.
(I was partial to a soft-boiled egg then, and remain so now).

The day would begin with my morning coffee ritual, the whizzing of the coffee beans, the heating of water, pre-heating the coffee pot.  The readying of the coffee cup.

My morning coffee was made in my Grandmother Helena’s coffee filter contraption and I used a coffee cup I had purchased on sale at David Jones whilst a Uni student (still a splurge at the time on a student budget). The weight of it and the feel of the cup in my hand as I brought it to my lips always pleased me, as did the shape of the saucer, which was curvaceous enough to accommodate the occasional spill as one perambulated down the hall coffee cup in hand to dress for work.

Like many other young people, I overdid it on the caffeine jag, imbibing coffee on waking, on arriving at work, all morning at my desk, at lunch, after lunch, and just before leaving the office. Completely jazzed on caffeine.  From morning ‘til night.

The headaches began and after some time I made the connection.  Farewell my love, you are hurting me.  And so caffeine and I parted ways barring the occasional flirt with after-dinner short blacks in restaurants.  My daily coffee ritual faded from my routine.  Grandma Helena’s coffee contraption was packed up into storage and the coffee cup and its saucer companion floated about in a seemingly purposeless existence on the cup shelf in the kitchen (too small for tea, the cup ended up presenting perfect half-domes of plated up rice and the saucer probably did service as the cat’s biscuit bowl for some time).

I didn’t miss the caffeine and the comforting ritual of laying out breakfast coffee items was replaced with the paraphernalia relating to the making of tea.  For 20 years I have drunk tea.  English Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey Tea, Lady Grey Tea, Russian Caravan Tea.  Orange Pekoe Tea; I loved tea.  It was the perfect beverage able to be savoured morning, noon and night…  You always felt better after a cup of tea.

Then all of a sudden, I couldn’t bear the thought of another cup of tea. 

Just. Like. That.
No more tea for me.

And so the Mistress of Zip, the Madam of Zap has been quietly entering my life again.  My old friends; my Grandmother Helena’s coffee contraption and my old coffee cup have made a triumphant return to my daily morning ritual.

Grandma’s coffee contraption makes the loveliest cup of homemade coffee, the finished product is surprisingly grain-less, the crosshatched porcelain in the base of the filter is very effective.  I would love to know more about this coffee pot and filter, was it the Bodum of its day?  Grandma escaped Russia in 1913 and lived in Germany until after WWII when she immigrated to Australia.  I suspect this coffee pot and filter is of German origin.  Can anyone help?

Happy days!

PS.  Over two decades have passed since 1991 and I now share a fridge with a man and a child.  The 2014 fridge contains the makings of meals; vegetables, meats, sauces.  The nail varnishes in the butter compartment have been replaced with a tube of ‘age-defying, wrinkle-reducing’ eye cream. And butter, of course.

PPS.  Here is a link to a site where you can purchase something very similar to my coffee brewer, (thank you an old friend, Michael, for finding this!  The video on the site is also very informative).

Click here to take you to the Walkure Karlsbad Porcelain Pour Over Brewer

From top LHS clockwise; the underside of the lid, the filter with crosshatching and the top filter
where hot water is added.

Apart from the number 5 and another small mark (both in racing green shown in previous photograph), this is the only other mark, I can't quite make out the letters... 'P A I E N T I R T'... Patent in German? Or a maker's mark?

The four components making up Grandma Helena's coffee pot and filter system, sitting upon a perspex tray purchased recently at 'Spotlight'.  My coffee cup (shown in the first photograph) is Wedgewood, bone china 'Palatia R4700'.

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