January 6, 2012

June Rose

I have often wondered when Pyrex actually made an indent into the social milieu of Sibu which was so strongly Foochow and conservative. Bowls with chicken patterns were good enough for the table for even the most wealthy for a long time. The first Pyrex ware I saw was a measuring cup in the Domestic Science Home Room where I was taught the basics of cookery by Miss Ida Mamora at the Methodist Secondary School. (That will be another story in my blog). Having graduated from the US she equipped the room very appropriately and indeed meticulously .That was 1963.

 Upon my own graduation Sibu had changed. The town had doubled its population due to rural urban migration.The television had invaded the living rooms of the Foochows in particular. What Mcluhan (The Global Village) and Vance Packard (The Hidden Persuaders) wrote about became a reality even in remote Sibu!! Twiggy's mini skirts hit town and girls and women cut their long plaits and demurred pop socks and wide Audrey Hepburn skirts.

And I noticed that the Pyrex patterned crockery ware became a must have for home makers. Husbands were threatened if they did not present a gift set to their wives. Home dinners became weapons of war indeed! And slowly the beaming homemakers were able to proudly present their culinary skills on their dining tables...atop of course beautiful Pyrex ware....

I believe I was caught in this cobweb of covetousness for I too sinned in desiring a set of  June Rose set (six plates and three casserole bowls at least). But as a career woman I had to be smart in balancing my budget and home economics and I do have relatives who tsk tsk their tongues like  good cost controllers.

But I did not wrap up my Pyrex ware and place them under my bed in case my mother-in-law found out!!

I had only one choice then - the June Rose pattern.

The Pyrex June rose pattern featured an open rose and a rose bud. The "design is altered to fit the smaller pieces. June rose was introduced in the 1960's and is produced by the screen printed transfer method which gives a heavy enal deposit with a glossy finish."

I have actually 6 plates which I use every day for the last 35 years. I had paid cash for them and refused to  use the home instalment plans. Later I bought the set of casserole bowls to match. In subsequent years I bought a sauce boat. And stopped at that.
Bread is  sunflower seed triangle from Perth - a distant cousin but not a replacement for  the Foochow kompia.

I am sure many homemakers and career women as well would like to choose their own table ware. (Some even sold off those gifts they received for their weddings) Today they have 1001 patterns and origins to choose from especially in large departmental stores like
Robinson's and Marks and Spencers.

At Hua Ho in Brunei for example......the dinner ware section looks like a living museum of fine china and modern art!! And some of the prices are not for the faint hearted.

But nevertheless  prices over the years have skyrocketed...Now into my twilight years I am quite happy to collect Snoopy plates which are free gifts when I buy Darlie toothpaste. And I do not have to impress anyone..either with my culinary skills or my wealth on the table....You are welcome to my table...and you might even get a banana leaf meal!!

Notes: (Wikipedia)

Pyrex is a brand name for glassware, introduced by Corning Incorporated in 1915.
Originally, Pyrex was made from borosilicate glass. In the 1940s[1] the composition was changed for some products to tempered soda-lime glass,[2] which is the most common form of glass used in glass bakeware in the US[3] and has higher mechanical strength so is less vulnerable to breakage when dropped (the leading cause of breakage in glass bakeware).[4] In 1998, Corning divested its consumer products division which subsequently adopted the name World Kitchen.

A Corning executive gave the following account of the etymology of the Pyrex brand name:
The word PYREX is probably a purely arbitrary word which was devised in 1915 as a trade-mark for products manufactured and sold by Corning Glass Works. While some people have thought that it was made up from the Greek pyr and the Latin rex we have always taken the position that no graduate of Harvard would be guilty of such a classical hybrid. Actually, we had a number of prior trade-marks ending in the letters ex. One of the first commercial products to be sold under the new mark was a pie plate and in the interests ofeuphonism the letter r was inserted between pie and ex and the whole thing condensed to PYREX.[8]
Pyrex kitchen products in Europe made and sold by a subsidiary of Arc International tableware company are made from borosilicate glass.[9]


Bang CHhun Hong said...

I first came across the name Pyrex when I was a secondary school student. All the test tubes and measuring cylinders that we used for our chemistry experiments were made by Pyrex.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi BCH...yes all the science equipment in our school labs in the early 60's through the 80's was of great quality. Pyrex remains one of the best materials for science equipment. I am not sure what brands our Malaysian is using now...Pyrex is heat resistant and pyrex testtubes burning over bunsen burners never crack when the heat could be tgerribly high...but of course text tubes get broken when dropped!!

Ann said...

I like the ones that coud go in the oven and on top of the hot plate. I was given a jap made one, but alas, in my multi tasking roll of wife, mum and computer wife, I burnt rice porridge one day when my daughter was sick, It cost a lot of money, (gift) so I don't want another.

Ann said...

Miss mamora, I was under her for domestic science in Form one, dye the material blue and sew a pencil case. Did you make one too?

I msg u on fb

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ann..the new Vision cook ware is the craze and it really can go on top of stove and in oven..Pricey. I have a small one. The June Rose casserole bowls I have can go into ovens but cannot go on stove top...But I am glad I have a six plates and three bowls to boast of for the last 35 years!! LOL. I did not threaten my husband to buy my sets. 6 plates first with my savings and three years later..the set of 3 bowls and two daughters! My dream came true....

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Nope Ann. I made a skirt and an apron. I broke the big yellow mixing bowl...and was labelled "butter fingers" for the rest of my life!! We still laught about it. I knew how to "blue" and starch my pillow cases. I did not make any pencil case. My zipper sewing was almost perfect ...It was terrible under her careful eyes...I can still fry paku with belacan to perfection!!

Ann said...

I was in B class and was offered only sewing etc, not cooking. The girls in A class looked down on us that we were second class because we were B class.

In hindsight, I don't need cooking or baking class from Miss mamora, my mum could teach me that. I got knitting class from Miss Wong, crochet from Mdm Tiang, and cross stitch from Miss Mamora. A better deal. LOL

Sarawakiana@2 said...

I always feel sorry for my own students who could not choose their own subjects. Sometimes some kids could not fulfil their own dreams because of Malaysian style of streaming..I only wish we can have a better system..more classes..more dedicated teachers..and better exams system...and the universities have varying ways of taking in students. At the end of the day..the Open University help some people achieve their dreams...and along the way..too many suicides in Asia!! Yes..you had a good deal. Y

Ann said...

Ah Ya!!!!!!!,

you mentioned about suicide. I have this true story which I was wondering if I should say. I won't name names.

K. joined us in pri 6 from the afternoon class, and you could say she wasn't slim. The boys were very rude and called her nick names. She didn't have a nice personality.

Some how, K and 2 others and I form a very closed group. The 4 of us were always together. The first public humilation, which I wonder til now if it affected her, we were having domestic science class, by that teaher, you know who. K. spake into the sink. That teacher went on and on and on about it about spreading germs etc. She made K scrub clean the sink. I felt so bad for K. Guess we Chinese used to spit too.
Then when we were in form 4, some boys burnt her school bag. She reported to mr. Lau, but no punishement was meted becuase there was no proof who did it. She was very unhappy that Mr. lau didn't investigate enough.

Any way, cut Long story short. As an adult, she killed herself. Big news in Sibu. I cried for my girl friend who was always unhappy.
I tell U when U come.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

thanks for the prelude to a sad story...will listen to you when I come.....don't forget.

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