Mustard Glasses

mustard glasses

It’s been a while since I’ve visited the jelly aisle of an American supermarket. But one thing I have etched in my memory from my childhood are the glasses with cartoon characters on them. Whatever marketing genius came up with the idea deserves more recognition than I can give here, but as a kid, we had to finish all our milk and “see Fred Flintstone” (whose visage was embossed in the bottom), before we could get on to dessert. And imagine where my career would be right now if I didn’t comply?

As long as I can remember, drinking glasses were a give-away item in the states, from being packed in cardboard boxes with powdered laundry detergent to give-aways at the local gas station. And that tradition has crossed the Atlantic when a few years back 6-packs of blue-banded Orangina glasses were offered as a token with a fill-up on l’autoroute.

Unfortunately the ones I like are no longer made and a few got broken, which I tried to replace on Ebay.fr. When I found some, the person shipped them without any padding – just a few sheets of flimsy newspaper – and, of course, when the box arrived, it was rattling with broken glass.

Oh La Poste!

[In one of the various “C’est pas ma faut!” (“It’s not my fault!”) moments here, the seller complained about the lackadaisical handling by La Poste, with no mention or blame inferred by stacking six glasses inside each other together in a box, putting a stamp on it, and just dropping it in the mail. Another one of those moments was when a friend was in a small accident recently and blamed it on his cell phone, which was making a funny noise when it was clanking against something else and distracted him. So the accident was, naturally, the phone’s fault.]

Dijon mustard glasses

Curiously a few years ago, some other enterprising Americans decided that French jam jars would make good drinking glasses. And even though they had snap-on plastic lids, they became wildly popular and repositioned as “working glasses.” We were invited to the home of some Americans and out they came as drinking glasses, and Romain was stunned to be offered a drink in a jam jar.

But time have changed and in a recent issue of a French food magazine, I counted dix, or ten, dishes presented and served in drinking glasses. This troublesome trend has really gotten out of control and while I can understand serving a crème brûlée or tiramisu in a squat glass, passing by a corner bistro and seeing a woman sitting by the window digging into a steak-frites, a jam jar full of dressed lettuce alongside, should be a wake-up call to all that it’s time for this silliness to stop. If you’re confused, just remember this: plates are for eating food off of, bowls are for eating soup and cereals from, and glasses are for drinking liquids out of.

But I’m obviously outnumbered, plus throwing a wrench in my argument is chances are, if you’re invited to spend any time with a French family, odds are excellent that somewhere in their cupboard will be at least one mustard or pickle glass, repurported for beverage consumption, like juice for the kiddies or libations for the adults.

mustard glasses

A Parisian friend of mine, who’s about my age, said, “I hate those glasses” and she was probably reacting to the fact that anyone over the age of fifty in France, about the time when frugality sets in (along with stone curtains begin encasing people’s minds, which as you can read from above, is happening to me as well), starts collects the cornichon glasses a bit more obsessively, which are used for everything from un verre d’eau to prendre un verre, water to wine.

I kind of think they’re charming but I haven’t spent my whole life drinking out of them. But I’m about to start since I’ve bought a few jars of mustard in, yes, wine glasses. What a lot of people don’t know is that most Dijon mustard either isn’t made in France, or that the spices that are used are shipped in from elsewhere, or across the ocean. But spicy Dijon mustard is still the condiment of choice in France and you’ll find jars of it on bistro tables and in for sure in everyone’s refrigerator or pantry.

cornichons

However don’t make the mistake I did, shortly after I arrived in France, by asking for some mustard to go with charcuterie at a wine bar. The server bellowed at me, “Our charcuterie is too good to be served with mustard!” I thought it might be those stone curtains, but now I realize he was right; the spicy taste of mustard obliterates the flavor of good charcuterie. Which was also why when I was making ham and cheese sandwiches for a train trip, Romain couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw I was about to slather them with a smear of Dijon. (The French usually use butter, although nowadays some are sneaking mayonnaise in there.)

Anyhow, the longer I live in France, the more of these jars I’m starting to collect myself. In the next ten years or so, it’ll be interesting to see how my collection is getting along. I do miss Fred and Wilma Flintstone – and Concord grapes a little (okay, the grapes I miss a lot) – and since my Orangina collection is dwindling fast, I’m going to have to ramp up my consumption of mustard. I can’t eat it with ham or cheese, and there’s only so much lapin à la moutarde a guy can eat. But I’m going to give it my best shot anyways.

mustard dijon glass



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107 comments

  • Love this. I definitely understand the love for jars. I’ve got enough jam jars to serve drinks at an entire wedding. Ha! Great shots.

  • They’re better made than most anything from ikea! Once you remove the labels on the cornichon jars, they look like they could be heirlooms! Love it.

  • I love this post! I have also been holding onto my Maille mustard jars in the hope that they might come in handy one day, though I suspect that it has more to do with frugality and an inclination to hoard. I have yet to see in Zurich mustard sold in wine glasses – as cute as they are, they do look a bit dinky ;-) I can’t imagine my French in-laws having one of those on the dining table … which is why I will buy some for them for Christmas ;-)

  • Its such a brilliant idea, environmentally friendly and practical. Unfortunately I don’t use any at present but my vinegar bottle could become a very nice wine decanter. Its a pity that countries that need to use such techniques don’t use it, lots of glass jars are thrown away (not recycled) and drinking glasses are bought at the same time.

  • A friend recently dropped two of my “Wine Glasses” and tried to give me money for them. I just opened the fridge and explained that there were two more in there (pickels & mustard) waiting to find a place. I’ve got so many now half are always in the dishwasher.

  • To collect more mustard jars, use the original contents as a dip for your pretzels. Personal fave.

  • Not until I visited a Moutarderie here in the Charente, was I aware of the popularity of those glasses and pots for mustard. They had a huge display of vintage and even some antiquish containers.

    But then, it’s a perfect customer loyalty idea, whoreally just wants one glass, we all want sets of four or six. So, more mustard we eat….

  • Heh, we have those orangina glasses too although I think we actually bought ours in a shop rather than collecting them. They’re the perfect size and shape though!

  • So Dave….those cornichons are from the same people who make the Dijon ?? Malle (?).. I wonder if I can find them here in New York City…. I love the glasses…they are very elegant !!!

    • Yes, Maille packages cornichons, vinegar, and a few other things under their brand name. In Paris, at the Maille shop in the Place de la Madeleine, they have special blends of mustard that are only available there (which change seasonally) – I’ve seen Roquefort, cassis, saffron, walnuts, garlic, in there. But don’t think they have anything packed in drinking glasses (!)

  • I could get seriously addicted to the pickle glasses

  • I pick up a couple of the Maille mustard or cornichon glasses on every trip to Paris.

  • Insider tip:

    If you get tempted to buy some of the store-brand versions of condiments in order to save and re-purpose the jars, be forewarned that the glass in those jars is much lighter in weight and therefore more prone to breakage than that in the name-brand (Maille, Amora) jars.

    I find the store-brand mustard and pickles from Carrefour taste just fine, and of course they cost less, but man, the jars are not up to the job!

  • These are called “Kuehne Kristall” in Germany, after the well-known producer of mustard and pickles … As kids, we bugged our mother endlessly for the ones with sesame street characters, and never got them. there were even mugs with mustard, so funny.

  • As a still life painter French supermarche are a goldmine of wonderfully shaped glass containers just waiting to be painted.
    I have a field day at Monop or Carrefour.
    There’s nothing like it in the US with all the awful plastic used.

  • My kids and I have gotten addicted to the Disney characters on the little Amora mustard jars. They are just about the size of the little jelly jars from my childhood, and the paint holds up really well in the dishwasher. They are great for when kids come over, because they always remember whose glass was whose. Much less prone to tipping over than the ubiquitous IKEA plastic cups, as well. I’m always scouting for new designs that we don’t have yet, and we were all so sad when the blue fairy glass got broken. We’re all hoping there will be some Tintin ones out soon, maybe?

    • Those wine glasses from Ikea seem to break no matter how gently you touch them – so yes, these are much sturdier, for sure. There is likely some licensing issue with Tintin, although with the film, I would not be surprised if those are in the works.

  • I have a life-long collection of nutella jars with all possible images, from puffi to cinderella. Maybe I can make wine glasses out of them! or easier, I can try to suggest Ferrero this idea…:)

  • well, if not meat & cheese, What is everyone in France using all of their mustard with?

  • This sort of reminds me of drinking out of mason jars in some restaurants in the Southern US.

  • You just gave me a great idea! Tintin Wine Glasses! Ok, maybe not. Back to the drawing board…

  • hilarious. i remember the first time i drank from a jar at my brother’s house in Seattle many years ago, i was like “WTF? can’t you afford glasses?” he had plenty of money by the collection of antique Brush/Mcoy pottery and paintings he had in his home. But it was then i discovered it was trendy.

    So recently I was so tempted to serve my butternut squash soup as an “amuse bouche” in tiny little shot glasses, but I couldn’t bring myself to doing it. First, the soupe was much too good to have just one or two swallows and secondly, i already had some other appetizers out. so it became the soup in the soup bowl course. what can i say? I’m a traditionalist.

    but I am tempted to find a repurpose for all the FOND jars I use. Like in Paris, it’s pretty hard to find broth (chicken, meat, fish or veg). Switzerland being the inventor of the bouillon and all-it obviously is harder to find real broth here. (The bouillon is not Switzerland’s best invention, i have to admit)…when I finally found real broth, it was in a small jar and 3x the cost of the big cans in the US. so I buy them in bulk when see them (the cashier must think I’m crazy when she sees 6 jars of chicken and 4 jars of beef broth go thru her line). I go through tons when I’m making soups and risottos. Maybe it would be a lot easier to repurpose them in our home rather than recycle. (don’t get me started on the recycling system here. it’s not exactly made easy on the homeowner’s part.)

  • Great post! These jars that are meant to be repurposed seem to be very sturdy – I’ve used the same Nutella jar as my bathroom drinking glass for about 15 years now.

  • I had no idea that other people (not to mention an entire culture of people) liked butter on a ham & cheese sandwich! That’s the way my mom made it for me as a kid, and now I make them for my sons. My heritage is French-Canadian, so maybe that’s where this all came from!

  • In Italy, as Valeria pointed out, it is all about Nutella glasses. Every household has them. I never liked them much, but now that I have 2 kids I am stuck with two Smurf ones and a pink panther one…I am actually hoping my kids will accidentally break them (like I am sure they would if they were using my nice wine glasses).

  • Those are some awesome mustard jars!! I feel a little less self-conscious of my POM tea glasses that I put out during parties. They came for “free” as the tea containers, and when they’d go on sale for 2-for-$3, I’d buy bunches.

  • I think all my water drinking glasses are mustard or cornichons jars! I also have one with a plastic lid that I use for making vinaigrette! How funny and because they’re thick glass they don’t break, and if they do you don’t care. But I agree food in jars in restaurants has to stop, you can never get anything out for a start and its just plain pretentious!

  • Great article. We go through mustard pretty slowly, but we do have a full set of Nutella glasses, I’m somewhat sorry to say.

  • I now have my grandmother’s collection of “juice glasses” – which were actually skinny jam jars, no doubt collected to be thrifty, not trendy. I love them and still think they are so charming.

  • “… imagine where my career would be right now if I didn’t comply”. David, this line exemplifies why I adore you. (And I nearly spat my coffee on my keyboard when I read it).

  • I’ve been collecting these, too — so far, I have a whole set of the glasses with cows that the Leader Price mustard comes in. I’m not a big fan of this mustard, but since it’s only around 1 euro, I buy it for the glasses. ;)

  • Thanks for this post … although now you’ve made me long for the Asterix mustard glasses I carefully brought back from France decades ago. Alas, they broke. I wish we could get these here! Please have a little swig for me…….

  • Your post had me giggling – love it. Why is it all our snazzy water glasses get broken but the mustard glasses keep hanging on there. It’s my fault for being a working glass victim…One day I’m looking forward to these Cornichon glasses disappearing, as well as the last Dijon mustard glass with the ‘pied’. Even the kids no longer think they’re posh!

  • Busy day and I almost skipped this post but so glad the intrigue of those two simple words got me here…you have taken me ‘way back’ as I remember now so vividly the cabinets full of jelly jars we used as kids.Like Liz…with six kids I’m sure it was just one way to stretch the dollar, plain and simple.

    I’m mostly connected though because of the broken glass. I just got a package like that yesterday! I heard the rattle before I even opened the box (is that why the FedEx guys are gone before you even answer the door?) and was amazed at the shoddy packaging. Bubble wrap is much more effective if the object it’s wrapped in can’t freely float all over the package. Luckily the bottle of beer that the PR firm had also sent me was intact…I’ll survive without the glass! :)

    I love the cornichon glasses…now those look good enough to serve a drink in today. Fred? Not so much.

    I

  • This reminds me of my grandmother’s recipe for strudel passed on by my mother. It calls for ingredients in a *glass* measure (not cup). E.g., glass of oil, glasses of flour.

    The glass? A burned out Yahrzeit candle glass. So now that the glass size has changed (or at least the shape has changed) I would have a hard time following the recipe exactly.

    And my mind is too stone curtain encased (love it) to fool around with weight measurements.

  • I just saw a huge collection of the cartoon jelly glasses at Goodwill the other day….I was tempted to buy a couple, but how to you decide which come home and which stay? I didn’t have room for all twenty (all different characters too), so I went without.

    I do have a set of tall POM glasses they sell their tea in, or at least did. But thats it.

  • when you’re a kid: brilliant
    when older: disgusting

    I HATE glasses that aren’t meant to drink from; all my mugs, glasses, jars etc that come with any food or drink and have a stamp on them go straight to the kids of my friends or get a free trip to the bottle bank

  • Took a longer view….

    OK, I’d crack for the Babar glass and I’d definitely go crazy over the Orangina glasses – I’ve never ever even seen them…. only on your shot of the broken ones!

    But it stops there

  • I love these glasses. I have a set of six Amora ones that I just flat-out adore . . . a bunch of Astérix and Obélix, a a few of those Orangina ones . . . and a bunch of Heineken glasses lifted from Parisian cafés by friends with sticky fingers.

  • I wish I’d held onto my collection of jelly glasses from childhood. I tried replacing them with Nutella glasses … but it just wasn’t the same.

  • If you want a few cartoon grape jelly jars, I have some old ones–Tom and Jerry and the Tasmanian Devil. As old as they are they still aren’t rare enough to be very expensive on ebay.
    French jelly jars make great drinking glasses, and, if the kid doesn’t drink all his milk, the lid goes on and the glass goes back into the fridge. Very convenient. Also, I don’t cry when one is broken like I would with one of my discontinued crystal pieces.

  • I love this post and I love my collection of mustard glasses. Lucky Luke, Asterix, Smurfs, Tin Tin, Sylvester and Tweetie Pie representing the last 20 years of family life. When we have huge parties and have to throw our entire glass arsenal on the table, they are the ones our guests admire the most. Thanks again for the opportunity to remember how much I love my durable, economic, nostalgic mustard glasses.

  • I am an obsessive jar collector. I buy stupidly expensive yoghurt at the supermarket just for the gorgeous earthenware pot.

  • Love those mustard glasses! Our entire set of whisky tumblers when we first got married and were broke were in fact mustard glasses! And how annoying about the smashed EBay items :((

    • Jeanne and lala: It was annoying, but I would like to know what someone was thinking by dropping glasses into a box with a sheet of newspaper as the only form of cushioning? Oddly, when I wrote them to let them know, they blamed La Poste. And they offered to refund half the shipping, which was €2. So they sent me a €2 coin. Um….

  • Make Carbonades à la flamande to use the mustard! What’s not to like in that rich meat stew laced with strong beer, pain d’épices and mustard? Perfect for the winter months.

  • I remember as a kid, nutella came in “drinking glasses” too. they should revive that.

  • David, sorry about the shattered Orangina glasses. I feel like looking for them on ebay.fr and buying a set just for you! :)

    And can’t wait to get my hands on those cornichon glasses the next time I’m in Paris, which is hopefully soon. Those cut glass jars look stunning. Imagine drinking punch out of one.

  • And I love the Babar one too!

  • I seriously laughed out loud picturing the woman eating salad out of a jam jar–silliness indeed!

    • Really. The whole “eating out of a glass” thing has really gotten out of hand here. At first it was kind of charming, but like most fads, it eventually comes time to retire it. As we say in the states, seeing that salad in there was really “jumping the shark” – except it’d be a little hard to translate that : )

  • I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only one that collects interesting jars and other things. My obsession over the years has lead me to collect things like old bottles, glass milk bottles, espresso cups, vintage New Zealand water jugs… I could go on but my husband may read this post and then I’d be busted!

    But what I think I should do, is be loud and proud of my wee collections. :-)

  • Oh, in the UK also the ham and cheese comes with butter. Fatty meat, fatty cheese and cold chunks of butter fat on bread. *shudder* so bland and and greasy. Other sandwiches also have butter, always thick enough to be a food ingredient instead of a condiment.

    But I have the obsession with interesting food packages. I convinced my husband to buy some sort of dry preserved salted cabbage in a lovely little pottery jar in A Chinese grocery once. It was so strong that we never used it for more than a garnish, or as a seasoning. 5 years later we moved it cross country, but when we moved overseas we gave it away still half full. There is something improper about just dumping out the food to get at the glass or dish, isn’t there?

  • A friend once gave me a Nutella jar with some cartoon on it. She said it reminded her of the jelly jar her mother used to drink gin. Hmmmmmm…..

  • I liked this look into glasses of the past – I inherited 3 huge boxes of antique canning jars from a friend who moved – I have since been obsessively decanting everything in our home into them- cereal, pasta, sugar, even leftovers- buttons, face creams, cotton balls- everything is fair game-
    and now they have slowly, insidiously inserted themselves into the drinking glass cupboard…

  • Bonne Maman (from France) jam jars – with the wonderful checkerboard tops…they are a favorite. I have even seen them in American magazines used for a variety of items – salt and pepper shakers, and even powdered sugar shakers – just by popping a few holes in the top of the lid.

  • Speaking of mustard and charcuterie, Once I was in Rodez and ordered a jambon and fromage sandwich at a bar and they refused to combine the two. It was either cheese or ham. But not together.

  • I too grew up drinking from the cartoon jelly jars–then served wine in them to my friends in grad school. Muppets in Space were particularly popular. I’ve come to love mole jars as juice glasses–that tall thin shape is perfect.

    But food out of jars in a restaurant? Yuck. I recently encountered a local gastropub with a section of the menu called “Things in Jars”–but they were all either pickles, confits, or rillettes so appropriate. Salad?!? I am shocked, I tell you, shocked. Thanks for the many laughs!

  • I loved Babar when I was growing up. It would be awesome if I could find glasses similar to the one in your first photo.

  • This is a fun post! I save all of these mustard jars too, here and over there, also the stone jars!

  • Uh oh…the photo of the cornichon jars next to the Royal Copenhagen…who’s been rummaging in my cupboards?

  • This post is ‘right up my alley’! Loved it and I have an idea now…….

  • Fun post! I read it just as I was getting ready to open an Amora “glass” with Toy Story 3 on it: on Cape Cod. We’re not too snobby to drink from them, but I wouldn’t consider serving salad of any sort. Cheers!

  • When I was little it was peanut butter that came in drinking glasses – maybe jam did too, but my mother made all our jam so I never saw that. The pattern I mostly remember was circles with triple tails, like shooting stars all over the glass. You could collect a bunch of different colours of them and I loved them.
    More recently Marmite came out in little glasses with New Zealand “icons” like a kiwi, gumboots, a buzzy bee etc, so I bought a couple for my grandkids to use on the rare occasions they’re in this country. Of course that meant I had to eat a great deal more Marmite than I usually would so that I could clean the glasses.

    As far as ham sandwiches go – I can’t conceive of one without butter on it. Mustard or mayonnaise too maybe, but you have to have butter. Do you mean to say that in some countries they’d give you a ham sandwich without it? Perhaps they are countries in which butter is not generally delicious.

  • Wow! Those French jars are pretty! Very practical indeed and environmentally friendly. My grandmother used to reuse Nescafe coffee jars that look exactly like those Maille Cornichons jars. Lovely post David!

  • This make me so happy, I hate when here at the States the use mustard in a good, honest ham sandwich.

  • I have 5 glasses that contained mustard when I bought them at Le Grand Epicerie next to the Bon Marche. It was quite a few years ago and each glass has a small print of a painting by various French artists – Gaugin, Renoir, Cezanne, etc. Haven’t seen them since.

  • Does it count if I often sip pickle brine from its jar? :P

  • You forgot about the sour cream glasses small and tall from Breakstone. My husband still has his from when he was a boy and is the only one that may use it! When he keeps after me to clean out my collection of bottles and jars under the sink I remind him I too may find a use for them some day………..Great post David as always. And been meaning to tell you we wondered into Christian Constant’s restaurant Les Cocottes a few weeks ago when in Paris and it was well worth the wait. Thanks for the heads up.

    Glad you liked the restaurant! I don’t get over there as much as I’d like, but it’s a fun place to eat. I wish he’d replicate it in other parts of Paris… -dl

  • How interesting! I have a fantastic recipe for a cold couscous salad from my beloved friend’s neighbor in Rigny-Usse that calls for a “mustard-glass” of oil. I’ve never made it, afraid of the sheer volume of oil! It would seem there’s a bit of lee-way here. Thanks for the great post, David.

    • I love those kinds of recipes, that call for a “coffee cup” of flour, or a “wine glass” of milk. I know people nowadays panic if they don’t get precise quantities, but it’s an amusing glimpse into a different time and era, when cooking was more free-style.

      (As a sidenote, a “French” glass is often smaller than an American glass – last time I went to the states and ordered an orange juice, a glass holding what appeared to be a pint came out!)

  • Sweet, sweet jars…I’ve been guilty of collecting jam jars, oil bottles, and beautiful beverage containers that housed the liquor. After all, why throw out a bit of beauty; just recycle it and enjoy! I was kicking myself just recently, having remembered that I’d tossed that GM bottle. I should have kept it just for the smell.
    ;)

  • i love the jars and glasses!

  • As a frenchwoman, I beg to differ with David on the use of mustard. Mustard can be used with hard cheese, but only with Gruyère cheese (Emmenthal or Comté or the savoyard type Beaufort). Spread on the bread for a Gruyere sandwich or add a teaspoon of mustard on your plate. If your never add mustard to charcuterie – you eat it with cornichons – you put mustard on the table any time you serve cold meat, like what is left from yesterday roasted chicken, veal or beef. And I can’t imagine serving a juicy rare entrecote or a piping hot pot-au-feu without mustard. Try pot-au-feu salad the day after with the boiled beef leftovers : dices of boiled beef in a strong mustard vinaigrette to which you add pieces of cornichons and a lot of chopped parsley… bon appetit

    • I’ve never cheese – or a cheese sandwich, served with mustard in Paris. Perhaps that’s a regional thing in Paris? (Maybe in Alsace, or elsewhere, they use mustard with cheese?) But yes, it is served as a condiment with meats and pot-au-feu. I like it with horseradish, but I’ve only once een horseradish root sold fresh in Paris.

      Interestingly, I was at the supermarket yesterday and they had mustard mi-forte (half-strong) – I guess some people like their mustard on the tamer side…

  • Man, I remember the old Tom and Jerry jams jars. They were the best.

  • In fact my region of origin is Rhone-Alpes (Lyon and the Alps). And you’re right David, it maybe a local custom. Or maybe the habit of eating gruyere cheese with mustard is now a thing of the past (but worth giving a try).

  • David re your previous post — I picked up Nigel Slater’s Tender from my library and love love love! Thank you for posting about it. I only allow myself to buy one or two cookbooks a year now since I have no bookshelf space left. But have to buy this one–love to grow, cook, read about, and eat veggies — the perfect book for me.

  • I have an ‘unhealthy’ obsession with Maille cornichons extra fins, I eat them stright out of the jar. I have so many of those glasses, I love them; they’re a nice size, have a heavy base and are really rather pretty. I’ve got quite a few Nutella glasses too.

  • Do you remember the shrimp cocktail that came in those little hourglass shaped glasses? Or the Kraft “Old English, Pimento or Pineapple cheese in the little glasses? I still see those in the thrift shops on occasion.

  • Great post – my collection of everyday glassware at home is a mix of old Nutella, cornichon and mustard glasses from France. I do avoid the cartoon ones … you know, I like to keep it classy :)

  • Dear Mr. Lebovitz,

    Thanks for the evocative posting.

    In regard to all these jelly and mustard glasses you and your readers have mentioned? They are all as NOTHING compared to what I have here in this old house.

    I think it was only five or so years ago that I (during one of my thrice-yearly lug-it-all-back-to-the-states shopping trips) came across a shelf of mustard jars (I can’t recall what the brand was) which were……riveting, to say the least.

    Each glass is emblazoned with the title “Kirikou et Les Betes Sauvage!”. At the time I first saw them, I vaguely recalled the animated film’s having been released a year or so earlier. French kids (my niece and nephews, at least) ADORE that movie beyond measure. French adults are (and as you probably have already noticed) less prissily and self-congratulatingly attuned to the predictabilities of American “Political Correctness “than their American counterparts…..so, they also think “Kirikou” is just dandy.

    My ten glasses (yup…I snapped these up with no hesitation, knowing exactly how I’d use them) prominently feature depictions of little brown Kirikou, placing a flower in his African mother’s mouth while smiling-she points her naked breasts at him….naked, toddler-sized Kirikou (with his little ding-dong in full display) scowling and running furiously across the savannah with his some-sort-of-rodent-buddy……and don’t forget the Evil African Sorceress (who sports a massive diadem, multiple gold-neck-collars, but seems to have not considered wearing anything else). The African sorceress is the all-time favorite in this house when we have parties and folks choose their glasses. I forgot to mention that her massively dread-locked hair, adorned with jewels and gold-bangles, shoots out in every direction, as though she’d just stepped into a puddle of water gathering around a malfunctioning dishwasher.

    Oh, I wish there were a way to include a photograph of these glasses. I could spare you my yattering-on about them. These things just have to be seen to be believed.

    Here in America, I live only a couple of blocks from the campus of Duke University….where I labored in the Politically Correct Hothouse of the English department for way too many years (nine, to be precise). And, yes, I was among those who carried Christopher Miller’s “Blank Darkness: Africanist Discourse in French” around as though it were a bible and I were a Baptist.

    There’s still plenty of that sort hereabouts. Occasionally, someone brings one of that sort to this house for a party. I’ll admit that, when this happens, I make a very distinct point of hauling my “politically-incorrect” French mustard glasses out onto the sideboard. The prissy sorts just wince….quite visibly….and they have NO idea of what to say when the person holding the glass without any obvious discomposure is, actually, French and/or black.

  • Lovely post! My wife can’t spot buying “Confiture Bonne Maman” for their vintage look.
    thank you for not writing about Beaujolais

  • I tried to sign up for your RSS feed but got a page of HTML code instead. I’ve tried it several times over the last few weeks, but always get this same page.

    • If you click on the orange icon in the upper right of the site, that is the link to the RSS feed. I clicked on it a few times and it took me to the feed page.

      Am not sure why that is happening. Where are you clicking, and if you have a link/URL, that will help me find out the issue. Thanks..

  • Glad to discover your blog… followed Carla’s hint and link

  • I love the glasses that the German Alstertor mustard comes in – it’s a small beer mug with a handle! (I love the mustard, too.)

  • I find that the fresh sharp flavor of Dijon mustard fades before I can finish a jar. But it’s cheap enough, and of course I collect the jars more quickly that way. I like the low footed Amora jars, with the colored band but have also started buying the low Maille cornichon tumblers. Those, however, will take longer to amass a collection.

  • My most prized posession is a 1979 McDonalds Grimace glass from 1979. When I was growing up, going out to dinner meant Mickey D’s. In fact, I had my 5th birthday at McD’s.
    I have the glass of Grimace in a revered spot of the house. I always loved thepurple guy. Although I always wondered what exactly he was. I mean he is just a big purple blob with hands. He coudn’t eat at McDonalds because his hands couldn’t reach his mouth. It is things like this and cold fusion that keep me up at night.

  • My beau uses Dona Maria mole (I don’t know how to add the accents) which comes in these varied patterned, slim glasses. They remind me of those Flintstone juice glasses in shape but no pictures. People always ask where I got them. I did have these great wine glasses with thick stems, but can’t find them anymore, so wine is usually served in these once mole then meant for juice jars. I saw some comments by others about using threaded jars. Many craft stores have glass cutters, then use sand paper to smooth the edge (obviously it’s necessary to smooth thoroughly). If you can bring yourself to do it, wine bottles are being turned into glasses this way too, but I don’t like that big bump in the bottom nor the weight.

  • I grew up not realising my grandmother’s glasses had ever been anything but that : drinking glasses. It was only when she gave a friend of ours boxes of kitchen things to help her set up her first home, & our friend asked – did your gran eat a LOT of Vegemite, & fish paste (which I can’t remember her ever having in the house) – that I was made to feel they were not ‘normal’…

  • My niece and nephew have been given La Fermiere yogurt pots as drinking glasses. Glass for juice, ceramic for milk. They seem to like them!

  • Awww! We collect striped ones here in LA at the 99cent store whenever they have them. These are reminiscent of the striped t-shirts of our childhoods, still one of my all-time favorite fashion statements. xox

  • I was clicking on the RSS button in the top right corner of your page. I cleared the history and cookies from my browser and it still did not work. But when I clicked in the link in your reply, I was able to add you to my Google reader. Thanks.

  • What a fun post! I hate that I’m giving away my age here, but does anyone else from the states remember the Apollo space mission glasses? I wish I knew where those were now! I hope if you ever come to my house that Romain won’t be offended when I serve homemade wine in mason jars…

  • When I was in high school (30 years ago, -eeeeek!), Taco Time sold their soda in Looney Tune glasses. They were quite large, -probably 16 oz. and oh how I loved those glasses. Especially the Tasmanian Devil. Wile E. Coyote was cool too. Also my husband ordered prime rib at a new restaurant recently and they served it over mashed potatoes in a bowl! I will admit it looked pretty, but how is a person supposed to cut a piece of meat with a knife in a bowl? Very impractical, and it made the whole dining experience uncomfortable.

  • Enough with the glasses! Except Vegemite that is……

    David, thanks for the tip that eg. Moutarde grise de Dijon isn’t the same all over the world. Frustrated that I can’t get the same piquancy in say lamb and mustard sauce dishes here in Australia as inhad in France. Thought the mustard I bought in St Jean de Luz was different from the same-name mustard we get here, you have confirmed. So…. what to do? Thinking…..

  • Seriously? What kind of seller ships glasses only rolled in newspaper? HELLOOO!!! Ever heard of double-boxing?

  • Oh it is not just the over 50 that collect those glasses out of trift. I have two young children and let me tell you, I find it very handy that Nutella has a small pot that can double as a glass once it has been washed…

  • My friend still has her collection of cartoon jars she got as a kid, I think from McDonalds. She was thrilled when they offered the same thing last year as part of a kids menu toy with Shrek, only to be recalled a week later due to some carcinogen in the glass. They certainly didnt worry about those in the old days.

    I can relate to the butter on sandwich. My British mother used to give us roast beef sandwiches with butter, which no other American kid was eating.

  • I remember being able to buy Pimento Cheese in small glasses when I was much younger than I am now, and saving the glasses. I have some juice-sized glasses that I’m sure contained potted meats or some such things years ago, that I use daily, and gather again when I find them at thrift shops. Why waste such good material? There was a brand of peanut butter (REAL) that’s no longer made, but the jars were a great size, resealablll, useful for repacking gift jars of chutneys, maple syrup, jams and condiments! Dang–now everything’s packed in plastic!!!

  • Make salad dressing, obviously! :-) I go through so much mustard, probably at least a jar each month, and I don’t eat sandwiches. I do put the good mustard on burgers and hot dogs. I miss Amora so much, I ran out months ago. I have 4 of those wine glasses with the coloured orb in the stem. I find them perfect for bourbon.

  • Oh lord, you’ve really struck a nerve here for me…I have a gargantuan collection of Bonne Maman jam jars, in fact all my spices have their very own jar, WITH LABEL! I have carried them with me everywhere, I bake deserts for picnics and tailgates right in them to take with, in short, I adore them. I have even, on occasion, drunk liquids out of them, although I prefer a real dedicated glass. Still, I can relate to your collector mania when it comes to jars! Great post.
    PS: I can relate to Romain’s horror too: I was telling an Italian friend about bread in cans, as in Boston brown bread, and he scoffed, literally SCOFFED! at me, but then he googled….oh the horror! ;-) I think it actually offended him. Go figure.

  • Love this post! We moved to Paris last year and have started a mini collection of mustard jars. Ours are Toy Story – perfect for our 2 year old. Also, Nutella jars look like real drinking glasses that I have purchased in the US. I don’t think anyone would know the difference – well maybe a French person.

  • What to do with the mustard? This lovely stew. I first saw the recipe on rec.food.cooking yeaaaars ago, and it’s a pleasure every time.

    http://www.foodgal.com/2011/02/curl-up-with-dijon-and-cognac-beef-stew/

  • I would so love those mustard glasses! You know, TJ Maxx carries jam in those cornichon jars and I always want to buy it just for the glass, but I am sooo frugal, even though I get a drinking glass AND jam for the price, it is still pricey. For Christmas I’m throwing my inhibition to the wind and getting me some of that jam! I also remember that practice of collecting jam jars with cartoons on them as a kid. Oh no! I’m having memories as to where my jam frugality stems from: my mother never bought those cartoon character jar jams. Because she was too frugal. That’s it, I’m buying some tomorrow!

  • I dearly loved my Flintstones glasses! Wish I had discovered my inner hoarder back then! Eight years ago, my husband thought I was weird when I brought home all of our little yogurt glasses from a 2 week stay in Brittany (I have a set of 14). I use them to hold tea light candles out on the patio, because it’s often too windy at night to use regular holders. Don’t cringe, David, but maybe I’ll use them now as little amuse bouche glasses.