The Straley Family

Hello and Welcome to Nanny Goat Primitives' Blog! I am looking forward to sharing bits and pieces about my primitive adventures with you! Brew a cup of steaming hot tea and make yourself at home.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Solitaire Coffee Jars

I have this thing for Solitaire Coffee Jars. Many reside in my kitchen cupboards and some have found a home in my sewing room. I was at an antique store in Elizabeth, Colorado with my cousin Connie last October when I spotted yet another old Solitaire Coffee Jar. This one now holds my growing collection of wooden thread spools. The jars are a wonderful way to display and organize my rusty jingle bells, old clothespins, rag balls, old cookie cutters and quilting scraps. Sweet cousin Connie understands me in ways my family never will (she suffers from the same sickness).

Solitaire Coffee brand was roasted, ground and packaged at the Morey Mercantile Company located on the corner of 16th Street and Wynkoop in Denver, Colorado. The Morey Mercantile Company was a grocery warehouse and supplier that was started by Chester Stephen Morey in 1884. The company has long since gone out of business but the building is now home to The Tattered Cover (a wonderful bookstore) as well as Dixon’s Downtown Grill.

As I’ve mentioned before, my grandmother saved all sorts of different things, “just in case they could be used someday.” One of the things she always saved was Solitaire Coffee Jars. Grammy Byberg used the jars as canisters and she lined them up on her kitchen counter. They held flour, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, oatmeal, cornmeal, coffee, tea bags, and one or more were always filled with home made cookies. She always kept a slice of bread in the brown sugar jar. Grammy said it kept the sugar soft (she was right).

Grammy Byberg painted the coffee lids orange. She either loved the color or she found a screaming deal on some orange paint because I remember other items she painted the same color. She loved to paint! She once painted Grampy’s car (with a brush) but that’s another story. Daddy always used to tease her by saying that if any of us stood still long enough, we’d get painted too.

Every 4th of July, Grammy would make an assortment of mouth watering pies. She always made those pretty lattice pastry crusts and she did it with such skill and speed. Her pie crusts were always perfect and she knew from experience just how much flour to toss in her large, yellow Pyrex bowl. My favorites were always cherry and apple but all of her homemade goodies were wonderful. Daddy always used to say that he only liked two of his mother’s pies, hot and cold.

I’ll never forget the Thanksgiving Grammy pulled a kitchen chair for me to stand on in front her stove. I think I was six at the time. She stood beside me and loving taught me how to make her special pan dripping gravy using flour from one of her Solitaire Coffee jars, some water from her tea kettle, and a little sage, salt and pepper.

When my grandparents downsized to an apartment, Grammy brought her Solitaire Coffee Jars with her. How many times did she refill those jars over the years as she baked loaves of bread, cakes, pies and cookies for her family and friends?

When Grampy passed away in 1979, I inherited Grammy’s coffee jars. I use them everyday and they bring me such joy!! The lids are still orange! On the underside of the lid for the oatmeal jar, I found her oatmeal cookie recipe. I’ll have to post that recipe sometime. My family has given me REAL canister sets over the years, but I prefer my Solitaire Coffee Jars. They just don’t understand!


Kim said...

I stopped at a garage sale yesterday near my home and bought one of these lovely Solitaire Coffee jars for 50 cents! I have another jar the same size but not a Solitaire. I keep Saltine Crackers in the first one, not sure what I'll keep in this beauty, but ohhh, how lovely!

Thank you for the history!

Kim Wolinski, Longmont, Colorado
"Dr. DeClutter!"

Suz said...

I just found your blog and I'm in love with your story about your Grammy and her orange lidded Solitaire coffee jars. What great memories to have of her. I really enjoyed reading about the discovery of the oatmeal cookie recipe. It's like discovering a secret treasure. Thank you so much for sharing this story.

Helen Gray said...

Deanna, I am so jealous of your Solitaire Coffee jar collection! My mother used one as a cookie jar. I saved it for years, but it broke. I found another, someplace, and I broke that one too, something involving hot chicken soup, as I recall. I would love to find another - just one. I'm not a collector, but one of those jars would make me truly delighted. Have you seen any in your 2011 travels? Do you have any extras you would consider selling? I'm in Denver, but actually own a rental property in Parker. Thanks for helping me find a Solitaire! Best, Helen Gray, Denver.