Ramekin is thought to come from a Dutch word for "toast" or the German for "little cream."




Name

Ramekin

Variant

Ramequin, Ramekin dish.

Pronounced

(ramə kin)[RAM-ih-kihn]ræməkin

Function

English Noun

Plural

Ramekins

Hypernym

A type of dish

Purpose

Cooking

Etymology

French Ramequin from Low German ramken, diminutive of cream, circa 1706. middle Dutch rammeken (cheese dish) dialect variant of rom (cream), similar to old English ream and German rahm. Ancient French cookbooks refer to ramekins as being garnished fried bread.


Meaning

1. A food mixture, (casserole) specifically a preparation of cheese, especially with breadcrumbs and/or eggs or unsweetened pastry baked on a mould or shell.

2. With a typical volume of 50-250 ml (2-8 oz), it is a small fireproof glass or earthenware individual dish similar in size and shape to a cup, or mould used for cooking or baking and serving sweet or savoury foods.

3. Formerly the name given to toasted cheese; now tarts filled with cream cheese.

4. A young child usually between the ages of 3 months and 11 years exhibiting a compulsion to force or "ram" their head into various objects and structures.

These days, a ramekin is generally regarded as a small single serve heatproof serving bowl used in the preparation or serving of various food dishes, designed to be put into hot ovens and to withstand high temperatures. They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface. Ramekins have more lately been standardized to a size with a typical volume of 50-250 ml (2-8 ounce) and are now used for serving a variety of sweet and savoury foods, both entrée and desert.

They are also an attractive addition to the table for serving nuts,dips and other snacks. Because they are designed to hold a serving for just one person, they are usually sold in sets of four, six, or eight. Ramekins now are solid white, round, with a fluted texture covering the outside, and a small lip. Please bear in mind that whatever you ask for them on Internet auction sites, someone is still getting the same thing in an op shop for peanuts.

However, there are hundreds of decorative ramekins that came in a variety of shapes and sizes. They came in countless colours and finishes and many were made by our leading artists and ceramicists. My collection has ramekins with One handle only, fixed to the body at one point only. If it has no handle, it is a bowl. If it has two, it is a casserole dish. But the glory day of the Australian Studio Art ramekin is well and truly over. See some here, ask questions or leave answers.

P.S. Remember, just as real men don't eat quiche, real ramekins don't have lids or two handles. Also remember, two handles makes it a casserole dish. Also, please note If it aint got a handle, it's just a bowl.

P.P.S. To all you cretins who advertise your ramekins by associating them with "Eames" or "Eames Era". Get your hand off it, you are not kidding anyone. The Eames people have told me that they never made ramekins.

P.P.P.s To all the illiterates out there in cyberspace, just as there is no "I" in team, there is no "G" in Ramekin. I am the Rameking, they are ramekins.

If you have a set of Grandma's ramekins at the back of a kitchen cupboard, have a look through the site, maybe you will identify them. Thank-you for looking.

There are many of you out there that have knowledge of Australian pottery. Please let me know if you have anything that I can add to the notes. It is important to get the information recorded. You probably know something that nobody else does.

Please note that while your comments are most welcome, any that contain a link to another site will no longer be published.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tremar



Designer        
Roger Birkitt
Maker
Tremar UK
Marks
Stamped “Tremar UK” into side of base.
Description
Lidded ramekin, straight sided bowl with flared lip and flat base.  Hollow handle fitted at an upward angle, with hole in outer end.  Swirl decoration to inside of bowl and lid created during throwing.  Lid has impressed design on outside edge and small rolled clay handle to centre of lid.  Matte glaze to interior with unglazed rim and exterior base.  Interior of lid has matte glaze with small patch of matte glaze around lid handle.
Number

Production Date
Late 1970s
Width
140mm
Depth
55mm  (with lid 80mm)
Length (with handle)
190mm
Weight
465gm
Volume
500ml
Acquisition
Salvo Stores
Rameking Reference Number
TRE 001
TRE 002
TRE 003

Named after the Eastern Cornish villages of Tremar, (Tremar, Tremar Coombe, Tremar Upper and Tremar Lower) the pottery was started in 1962 by Roger Birkitt, then later his wife Doreen worked there.  For the geographically challenged, Cornwall is the pointy bit stuck on the bottom left hand corner of England and the Tremars are in the middle near the eastern border.  For the cunning linguists, Tremar is Cornish for Mark's Farm.  Originally hand-thrown for the tourist market, Tremar earthenware paid homage to Cornwall's Celtic past.  Cornwall is one of the Celtic nations trying to reclaim their history and ancient language.    Tremar was an early example of good quality naïve style retro pottery that was marketed to collectors wanting complete sets.  Now collected like the much better known Cornish pottery "Troika".

Expanding in the 1970s, to mostly moulded wares, Tremar produced distinctive decorative wares of “tourist collectibles” such as figurines, including various animals and cars.   Eventually they had three potteries in Tremar and the neighbouring town of Liskeard, and sold all over the U.K, & U.S.A, and probably Australia because that is where I got these ramekins.  The Birkitts ended their association in 1980 and the pottery closed after going into administration in 1983 after their kiln exploded and rebuilding costs proved prohibitive.  Graham Alcock of Shelf Pottery in Yorkshire later acquired some of the Tremar moulds and produced similar wares for a short time, so look at the marks.  I am surprised Tremar closed because unused pottery kilns were not exactly in short supply in the UK back then.  You could say they went out with a bang.

Earthenware is a moderately porous pottery body that is fired to a temperature somewhat below that required to produce a vitreous article.  Ceramic vessels are fired to temperatures of 700-1200° centigrade. It is generally opaque, porous, course ceramic and made from potash, sand, feldspar and clay.  It is one of the oldest materials used in pottery. 

Classically, most earthenware has a red coloring, due to the use of iron rich clays.  However, this is not always the case, and for the modern potter, white and in the case of Tremar, buff colored earthenware clays were commercially available.  It can be as thin as bone china and other porcelains, though it is not translucent and is more easily chipped.  Earthernware is also less strong, less tough, and more porous than stoneware, but its low cost and easier working compensate for these deficiencies. Due to its higher porosity, earthenware must usually be completely glazed in order to be watertight, this isn’t.

There is a quote about Tremar that I think is appropriate; "If you had to design pottery perfect for Bilbo Baggins and Hobbits I think this would be it!  There is a certain ancient charm about it.  Tremar pottery is so earthy, rustic and charming-but not without a high level of craftsmanship.  The pieces are beautifully and confidently hand-thrown and so lovely to the touch-very smooth, very matt glazes and with a great use of pattern, colour, form and decoration."

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