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




Ramequin, Ramekin dish.


(ramə kin)[RAM-ih-kihn]ræməkin


English Noun




A type of dish




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.


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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Japan (Ironstone)

For my blog post number 99, here is an example of what I would describe as the “missing link” of ramekins.  Probably some of the last of the handled ramekins coupled with the fluted exterior of the modern.  These are allegedly made from what is known today as Ironstone, although this is usually just used to describe a tough product.

A lot of people have ramekins that were made in Japan.  They began to arrive in Australia after the Trade Agreement between the two countries was signed on the 6th of July 1957. Australia thus became the first nation to trade with Japan after World War II.  Because of the standard of living in the respective countries at the time, trade was mostly one way for manufactured goods.  The signing of this agreement began a shift in Australia’s reliance on Great Britain, with Japan quickly becoming Australia’s most important trading partner. Initially, their ramekins were copies of existing Australian makers with a few decorative changes.  This was common practice for the times as many Australian makers copied other designs anyway.  Copyright compliance in Australia was viewed somewhat more flexibly than today.  Many  of the earlyJapanese copies were of Martin Boyd designs. 
It is sometimes difficult to trace the makers in Japan as they would make up western names to add to their wares.  Now, most marks have been washed off over the years.   Others simply had the word “Japan” stamped on the base, or “Made in Japan” moulded into the base.   These have neither but I believe them to be Japanese from the design and quality of manufacture.
Ironstone is a term that has often been misused, particularly in the late 1970s when these were made.  Most ramekins that are called “Ironstone” is actually stoneware, which is earthenware that has been fired to melt the silicates in the clay to make the pottery water-tight.  The term is used to make you think that what you have is tough and durable.  So, to sum up, ironstone is highly vitrified earthenware that is known to be sturdy and chip resistant.
Genuine ironstone (sometimes mistaken for meteorites)  is a type of stoneware that was made in England early in the 19th century by Staffordshire potters who wanted to develop a mass produced porcelain substitute.  Ironstone dinnerware is thicker and heavier than porcelain and was marketed as being hard and durable as iron but contained remarkably little iron.  Ironstone is actually a type of sedimentary rock that contains some iron compound from which iron can be extracted. 
Technically the clay body of ironstone is dense earthenware containing china stone.  China Stone is s a medium grained feldspar rich partially decomposed granite.  Its mineral content includes quartz, feldspar and mica.  Other minerals include kaolinite and fluorospar. It is found in one area of Cornwall and is the UK’s only indigenous source of feldspathic material currently being commercially extracted.  Other names include Cornish or Cornwall stone.
Identifying genuine Ironstone should be easy. Genuine Ironstone should be quite heavy and feel thick and solid. Genuine Ironstone can also be indentified by the colour which should be solid. If the colour is uneven, it is likely not genuine.
It became popular in the early 19th century when some Staffordshire potteries experimented with making an inexpensive, porcelain-like dinnerware that could be mass-marketed. Though often referred to as "semi-porcelain," ironstone is refined earthenware and not true porcelain.  Wedgewood manufactured a "stoneware" china in the 19th century, commonly used in their heavy-duty dinner services.  It is still used as a component in some ceramics.

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