|Postat lördagen 08 juli 2006 - 02:04 ||
I am told that my great grandfather taught his children to drink coffee from the saucer under the cup. Was that just a family oddity, or did it have it's roots in Swedish traditions?
|Postat lördagen 08 juli 2006 - 04:40 ||
Certainly it's an old tradition in Sweden. You pour the coffee from your cup into the saucer and sip it - usually quite noisily - after blowing a little on it (to cool it). Dricka på fat (drink from a plate, i.e. saucer) can be combined with dricka på bit (drink with a lump, i.e. lump of sugar). You take the lump of sugar between your teeth and sip your coffee (from the saucer) through the sugar.
Neither of these customs are, however, common in polite society... And, generally speaking, I've only ever seen older people do it, years ago, and in the countryside.
Today's urban and international Swedes are more likely to have a latte - without sugar - in a tall glass, no saucer.
However, to drink from a saucer instead of a cup may not - originally - be so very Swedish. In older English literature I've seen the phrase "to take a dish of bohea", meaning "to drink (black) tea" - and presumably then not from a cup. I also seem to remember drawings/paintings from the 18th century with fine ladies drinking tea (or coffe or cocoa, difficult to tell) from very wide, handleless "cups", very reminiscent of old-fashioned saucers. And the French still like to drink their morning café au lait from a bowl.
|Postat lördagen 08 juli 2006 - 08:41 ||
Wonderful memories are recalled reading this post. My grandfather, son of Swedish immigrants, would sit at the table in the kitchen by the coal stove and drink his boiling-hot coffee exactly as Ingele describes. The lump of sugar, the sounds, these I only experienced in my grandparent's kitchen. I didn't realize that this was a Swedish custom. My grandfather was an old farmer, but filled with love expressed in his own way. He also cooked Swedish pancakes on that old coal stove.
Thank you for the memories, Scott and Ingela!
|Postat lördagen 14 oktober 2006 - 09:47 ||
I remember my maternal grandfather, who was Hungarian, drinking his hot coffee or tea from the saucer also. So it might be a old European custom in general.
|Postat tisdagen 02 mars 2010 - 00:16 ||
My father, Irving Nelson (1900=1995),was the son of a Swedish immigrant father and a second-generation immigrant mother. Although the family was pretty Americanized by the time I came along in 1934, I have vivid childhood memories of my dad pouring his coffee into his saucer, setting the cup on the tablecloth, and drinking from the saucer. The cup went back and forth on the saucer several times so it always left a coffee ring on the tablecloth! And that was before "Spray and Wash" and no-iron fabrics. My mother was a patient woman.
|Postat tisdagen 02 mars 2010 - 08:37 ||
I suppose they drank the hot coffee in this way, when they were in a hurry. Women aspecially sat and talked with other women, so the very hot coffee was allowed to be cooler.
My dad (b. 1917 in Ångermanland) drank his coffee in this way, when he was allone, not with other people.
If the coffee was too hot, my mum said that it was boiled on log of birch.
Mary, yes your mother was very patient!
|Postat tisdagen 02 mars 2010 - 09:44 ||
When I was a child in Småland (in the south of Sweden) it was quite common to drink coffea this way among elderly people. Between the lips they had a lump of sugar and sipped the coffe through the sugar. It was called "Dricka på bit" (drink with a lump of sugar).
|Postat tisdagen 02 mars 2010 - 09:57 ||
It might seem like this is a European custom, since both my Norwegian grandmother (b. 1903) and my English grandmother-in-law (b. 1908) also used to enjoy their coffee that way. It was not considered polite. I remember that my grandmother only did it in private, and she told me that only old people had that bad habit, and that I shouldn't learn from her. I got the impression that she did it as a treat, rather than because she was in a hurry. She would sometimes let me dip a lump of sugar to suck.
|Postat tisdagen 02 mars 2010 - 10:43 ||
One of my few memories of my grandfather (he died when I was five) is him sitting in his kitchen drinking his coffee this way. This was in the late 1970s. I strongly recall that I thought it was something I had never seen before and I've never later in life seen anyone else drinking this way. He lived "at the end of the road" up in the Lapland mountains so it must have been a widespread custom.
|Postat tisdagen 02 mars 2010 - 23:25 ||
I've always thought that this way of drinking coffee, on the saucer with the lump of sugar, was common among the elderly in Sweden since my grandfather (born 1930) has done so as long as I can remember! I've actually never thought of it as something unusual!
|Postat onsdagen 03 mars 2010 - 05:23 ||
Nowadays, I always get surprised when I see all young people holding the cup as a mug or a glass, that is without using the ear. 20 years ago, this custom was considered very rural and often used as a classmark in movies etc.
(Meddelandet ändrat av GSt 2010-03-03 08:43)
|Postat onsdagen 03 mars 2010 - 08:42 ||
One of my friends in Florida collects antique coffee cups. She told me one way to know tha a cup and saucer is old (late 18th century) is the shape of the saucer: it's "deeper" - very much like a shallow bowl. The reason for that shape, according to her, was that everybody drank coffee from the saucer back then. Not only rural Swedes.
|Postat onsdagen 03 mars 2010 - 09:43 ||
Here you see my grandmother (1891-1979) drinking from the saucer.
I always thought that they do it because the coffee was very hot when boiling on the stove.
|Postat onsdagen 03 mars 2010 - 10:08 ||
One of our relatives in the U.S., a lady in her 70s, is always asking us to bring a packet of the hard Swedish lump sugar for her, so she can indulge in "dricka på bit" (put a lump between her front teeth) and then drink from the saucer, when we come for a visit.
|Postat onsdagen 03 mars 2010 - 14:14 ||
My father who normaly were a well educated man...he was not allowed to do it while my mother or grandmother (his mother!) were present, did do so with delight while only I was there! He said it tasted better and as Gunnar said above it was too hot directly from the cup. Occasionaly he also took a sugar lump between his teeth and that probably was even worse in the ladies opinion...I never drank coffee while I was a boy but a sugar lump dippt in his coffee tasted wonderfull, even a good swedish cinnamonbunn or so would do (neither good manners I was taught by my mum and granny!). "Smiley"
|Postat onsdagen 03 mars 2010 - 21:28 ||
That's a wonderful picture, and I think it says it all! This lady is clearly delighting in her coffee from the saucer, not just thinking of it as a means to have the coffee cool a little faster. Because she's having a well-earned break, enjoying it and not just consuming coffee as fast as possible.
|Postat torsdagen 04 mars 2010 - 12:54 ||
Yes Gunnar! Its a wonderful picture, as Ingela writes. Also; Look at the apron! Always those aprons .. For us from the working class; No grandmother without the apron..
|Postat torsdagen 04 mars 2010 - 21:11 ||
As long as "national dress" (folkdräkt) was worn as normal, everyday clothes, which is to say until about 1850-70, the apron was a necessary part of the dress: a woman wasn't decent unless she had an apron and something covering her head.
Women could (and did) work openly in the fields (not to mention at home) dressed in nothing but a very thin and revealing shift (särk) - as long as they also wore an apron and a kerchief on the head, they were as decent as you could wish for.
It is to be noted that this old lady indeed is dressed exactly like her mother, grandmother etc. - an apron and a kerchief covering her hair. If asked, I'm sure she'd say it was for practical reasons and that she'd take off both apron and kerchief if she was to venture further than the local grocery-store. But you don't get rid of centuries-old traditions in a hurry, rather you give other reasons for adhering to them.
|Postat fredagen 05 mars 2010 - 11:47 ||
I have enjoyed this discussion on "dricka på fat" and I soon rememberd a big oil-painting in my grandfather's house of a woman pooring coffe(?) from o abowl on to a saucer.
(As a matter of fact there were two paintings sitting at the top of the sofa. One of my grandfather's grandfather and one of the painter's housekeeper. The man inactively posing for the portrait, but the woman active, concentrated pooring coffe. Nowadays you often see men in action and women posing in portraits.)
|Postat tisdagen 23 mars 2010 - 02:53 ||
Recently I went out to Sunday dinner with a group of friends after church. When I told them about this discussion, immediately two of the men shared that their fathers always drank coffee from saucers in this way. One of the men is from a family of Germans who had settled in Russia and then emigrated to North and South Dakota when they had to leave Russia. The other is the son of a German man who emigrated to Chicago after the first World War. It must have been a German custom too!