dead bovine crockery
forty-first in a series of posts explaining the gruesome truth behind the bone china recipe for taking tea English style.
Thursday Tiffin #41: dead bovine crockery
The use of bone ash had been known from the middle ages, when it was first used in cupels for the assaying of metals. Interest in it as a tableware ingredient emerged about 1750 and in the succeeding fifty years several experimental formulations were tried. However, these were ‘soft-paste’ porcelains with the inclusion of bone ash. Whereas what we now know as bone china is a true porcelain of china clay and Cornish stone with 45%-50% calcined bone.
Who would have guessed that those cunningly clever rock rocking Cornish were supplying the stone to make bone china, I wonder who supplied the bone. Ethical vegetarians should probably give bone china a wide berth*.
How do you know if your china is bone china? It’s partially translucent you should be able to hold it up to the light and see the shadow of anything placed between it and the light. It makes a very distinctive sound when tapped, you can learn to identify it by gently tapping it and listening to the ring.
* Convenient sea room; sufficient room to maneuver under way or to swing at anchor