Monday, October 28, 2013

The Posset Cup or "Loving Cup"

Fancy That recently acquired a cup with two handles.  We have been asked what is the reason for a double hand, so we thought we would share some ideas.

A cup with two handles, or double handles, is not really a tea cup at all.  In European circles, tea cups have one handle.  In Asian circles, there are no handles as the cups are a little more squat making them a little more adept at capturing the smell and nature of the brewing tea leaves.

Double handled cups are often thought of as consomme or bouillon cups.  You may see soup bowls that have saucers or underplates and a handle on each side.  They may be called bouillon cups or cream soup cups.  They are usually larger in size and utilitarian.  If the hostess wanted to serve soup without lugging a tureen from the kitchen (or she had no staff to lug) she would fill the double handled cup with an underplate and deliver the soup straight to the table.

Then there is the "loving cup."  Shaped after a winner's cup or trophy cup, these were decoration or keepsakes for a significant event - christening, birthday, birth, et cetera. (The picture above is similar to a "loving cup" done in a "Fragonard Style.")

The double handled cup was a cup also made for the weak, infirm or those drinking a warm ale, curdled milk, or warm wine.  British will call that a Posset Cup.  After all, Posset is a drink that warms the hands as well as the soul.  Why not take it in a double handled cup named after the warm beverage...the Posset Cup.  Posset Cups were given as hostess sets especially during the "big wet" or damp season when common colds were as prevalent as the rain drops.

Loving cup, Posset Cup, Consomme or others, but rarely a tea cup.  Now you know!  :)  Thanks for stopping by!

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