Raising A Glass To The New Year


We are in the run-up to the New Year and there is way too much to do, between family visits and other things that must be accomplished by year-end. And as tempting as it may be to pick an old piece to re-run, I am kind of proud of the fact that I have yet to resort to a rerun in the three and a half years of this blog project, and am loath to start now.  So, we turn to an important topic – drinking glasses.  Particularly the kind that begin life as something else.


I made some appetizers for a gathering. Most know them, those little round pieces of dried beef (Armour, again – they are going to have to start paying some advertising here) with a filling of cream cheese mixed with some horseradish. My in-laws do not care for the spice of the horseradish, but on the Cavanaugh side that’s how we roll.

I am now having to summon some willpower. No, it has nothing to do with the eating of the appetizers, something I plan to attack with dedication and gusto. I refer to the willpower necessary to avoid adding to our glassware collection.

The problem: Those little dried beef jars with the row of stars around the tops have served two generations of my family as daily drink-ware.

When I was a kid jelly jars were the most commonly re-purposed drinking glasses. My sister and I must have broken a lot of them, because they seemed to go away early. Or maybe we just did not eat enough jelly. It was the dried beef jars that took their place. They were sturdy things and served at the daily table for breakfast, lunch and dinner for quite awhile.

I think they got retired when my Mom got far enough along collecting the set of drinking glasses that came with each fillup at the local Marathon gas station. The pump attendent must have liked Mom, because she often got an extra glass. She was even awarded the pitcher before the rules allowed. It helps to have important friends, I suppose.

A side effect of my upbringing was an appreciation for matched sets of drink-ware. But that practice didn’t last because . . . kids.

We started with the plastic cup phase, but all too soon the time arrived for “big kid glass glasses.” I reached into my inheritance of parental wisdom and made Armour our go-to supplier.

We may have broken one or two by freak accident over the years, but these things are incredibly tough to break. Really, you could almost pave roads with the things. And of course, they served our kids just as well as they served my Mother’s kids a generation earlier, in one of the few examples where they really do make something like they used to.

Most of them have been pitched from our house by now, with only a couple of stragglers keeping a place way at the back of one of the top shelves. They remain unbeatable for using as rollers to crush cookies and graham crackers for use in baking.

So while I don’t want four more cheap Armour glasses, I have not yet thrown them out. Old habits are hard to kill. It is a good thing that I have no grandchildren, or else I would be keeping these for sure. But we only have adults here.

I wonder, though . . . I know that bacon is becoming trendy in cocktails, but is there one that uses beef as an ingredient? Because these glasses would complement it perfectly.   As well as offering me a proper segue into wishing you all a happy and fulfilling new year.


Photo credits:  Unopened product – Amazon.com

Opening photo by the author.

13 thoughts on “Raising A Glass To The New Year

    • And in Indiana we call them Ball Jars, named after a big manufacturer that used to make them about 60 miles north of me. They donated the land to what became Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.


    • Some of us have been using Mason (or Ball) jars for 40 years! It was a staple of childhood as all beverages taste better when coming from a canning jar. I’ve even been to a few restaurants that use them; a small is a pint and a large is a quart.

      Long ago somebody gave me a Mason jar with a handle; it was one of the best gifts ever.


      • We don’t have any with handles, just the plain ones. And isn’t it true that the right glass can make all the difference with a favorite beverage.


  1. I had no idea there was such a thing as jars of dried beef. And now that I have that idea it is a disturbing one.

    We have recently acquired some small glasses via Costco Tiramisu. Seems like quite a waste to immediately recycle them so we’re using them..

    Speaking of recycling, congratulations on the lack of recycling on this blog.


    • The pieces of dried beef are thin circles of maybe 4 inches diameter. I am amazed they still package it in glass jars instead of a plastic package like with lunch meats.

      And thanks. I hate to break a streak, but it will probably happen some time.


  2. When I was a child we got a set of amber plastic tumblers which my Mom still uses some of the time. I know that the brand is Texanware, because when she mentioned a few years ago that she wished she had a couple more, we went on an ebay hunt and found another half dozen that she got for Christmas.


  3. I worked in marketing for Ball for four years and it was astonishing how many people reused commercial packer jars not only to drink from, but to can with! It was a consumer affairs nightmare. Having worked at Subway prior to the company rolling out pizzas, I could imagine that some of these would have been great while we workshopped our own (we used carbonated 20 oz. bottles).


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