Friday, February 21, 2014

More on Meadow Brook Hall

With thoughts still mulling around in my mind from yesterday's outing at Meadow Brook Hall, I went to my bookshelf and pulled Matilda Wilson's personal guidebook to the mansion, and the Meadow Brook cookbook I purchased in 1996.

The cover of the cookbook shows a photo of the forecourt iron gates to the main entrance of the mansion with a superimposed Sheffield sterling silver and Waterford crystal bowl epergne filled with fruit that is said to be displayed on the main dining table in the Christopher Wren Dining Room when it's not in use.

The cookbook contains fun tidbits about Alfred & Matilda Wilson.  Their granddaughter, Judy McClung, said her grandmother was a collector of cookbooks, and had well over 100, and frequently cut recipes out of newspapers for her cook.   'Sunday' fried chicken and mashed potatoes were a favorite, and she could have eaten Baked Alaska or Cherries Jubilee every night.  She often ate cookies for breakfast.

Cherries Jubilee
3/4 cup currant jelly
3 1/2 cups canned bing cherries, drained [27-29 oz. can]
1/2 cup brandy
Ice cream for 6 servings

Melt currant jelly over low heat, stirring gently.  Add cherries to jelly and heat until simmering, stirring occasionally.  Pour brandy into center of cherries.  Heat undisturbed until very hot.  Light with match and ladle over ice cream while still flaming.  Serves 6.  Recipe submitted to Meadow Brook cookbook by Eleanor Driver.

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The Wilson's daughter, Barbara, said her parents were always going on diets - her dad was successful, but her mother wasn't because she loved candy.  Matilda was not fond of beef, hated lamb, but loved pork and chicken.

Dinner was always at 7:00 o'clock and lunch at 1:00 o'clock - except on Sunday when it was at 2:00 o'clock due to their church schedule.

A favorite of Matilda's that is included in the cookbook is Carrot Pudding which was served at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas.  There is also a recipe for Ruby-Red Grapefruit Chicken that was submitted by Mrs. Gerald [Betty] Ford when she was First Lady.

A section on Tea Time at Meadow Brook Hall is included in the cookbook, as well as a photo of Mrs. Wilson's elaborate 1815 Georgian silver tea service, which she frequently entertained with.

I blogged about my 2002 Afternoon Tea experience at Meadow Brook Hall here, where Matilda's beautiful tea service was on display in the dining room.

Changing the subject of Meadow Brook Hall, but still on the topic of silver, I have some photos of silver tea equipage that I've been wanting to share, and this seems like the perfect time. While at a friend's house last month, she graciously allowed me photograph a few pieces of her silver collection.

I love her Victorian tilting pot for water, coffee, or tea, with pouring stand and attached cup/mug holder.

Below is her beautiful silver urn with a spigot.

Pictured below is my tilting brass kettle/teapot on a stand with warmer [left], and non-tilting silver plate teapot on stand with warmer [right].  

Silver has long been highly regarded as a superior material for tea equipage.  It is a natural conductor of heat and lends itself well to the serving of hot liquids.

Some silver tea services have a tilting tea kettle/teapot in addition to the teapot and coffee pot, which is used for hot water.  

It is believed by some that silver can impart a metallic taste to tea, but I've never experienced that with my teapots.  Silver polish should never be used to clean the inside of silver teapots. Rinse only with hot water to allow tea tannins to build up on the inside of the teapot to prevent the possibility of a metallic taste.

Do you use silver tea equipage at tea time?


  1. I thought maybe the brass one originally was silver plated. I love yours and hers!

  2. Hi Bernideen, I bought the tilting teapot new in a retail shop, and was told it was brass. It's undergone several polishings with Brasso over the years, and the brass finish remains. It must have been a brass coating on the warming stand though because it quickly wore off with polishings and looks like silverplate now.

  3. The tipping teapots are elegant. I tried to use the silver teapot and coffeepot handed down to me from Glenn's late aunt but both are pitted and a jeweller said it would be very costly to have them resilvered. So, I just polish and use them for show now but wish I could use them.

  4. The silver teapots are so elegant and lustrous and just plain gorgeous! It would be wonderful to have one... someday.

  5. I enjoyed reading about those cookbooks, and your friend's silver collection is just lovely! (I want a tilting teapot!)


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