Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Saucered And Blowed

Today’s guest post was written by Garland Davis.

Saucered and blowed coffee
Saucered and Blowed written by Garland Davis

I can remember my Granny Salmons, Mama, and various Aunts and Uncles pouring a cup of boiling hot coffee from the pot that sat on Granny’s wood cook stove. They would then pour a little into the saucer, blow on it and then sip it from the saucer. I also remember us kids being given highly sugared white coffee and pouring it into the saucer and blowing it.

I was in third grade where the teacher taught a weekly session on manners. I distinctly remember her saying that no ‘lady or gentleman’ poured their coffee or tea into the saucer. I was actually embarrassed for my family because of this method of drinking coffee. I stopped drinking from the saucer. After we moved from the wood cook stove to the electric range I don’t recall anyone drinking coffee from the saucer.

It was many years later, while reading a novel by the late Robert Heinlein that I came across the term “Saucered and Blowed”. He explained that it was a custom inherited from the Danish, the Scots, the Germans, et. al. He said it grew from the early use of a shallow bowl or ‘saucer’ to drink tea’.

Our pioneer ancestors cooked with wood or coal as fuel. They boiled the coffee and served it boiling hot. One source that I read said, “My Granny served coffee so hot the only reason that it didn’t catch fire was because it was wet.” Pouring the coffee into the saucer created a larger surface area and permitted the coffee to cool to drinking temperature quickly.

In many trades the term “Saucered and Blowed” has come to mean the completion of a job or the thorough study of a problem, as in, “That new manufacturing process is ‘saucered and blowed.’”

That about does it. This article is “Saucered and Blowed.”

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I hope you enjoyed Garland’s post as much as I did! I can remember my Great Aunt Pearl sitting at Granny Gazzie’s kitchen table ‘saucer and blowing’ her tea. I’ve seen Granny saucer and blow her coffee over the years when Pap gets it too hot for her. How about you-ever heard of saucered and blowed?

Tipper

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39 Comments

  • Reply
    Betty Cloer Wallace
    February 19, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    In British Isles (Northern European) literature of several centuries ago, a reader will sometimes run across a character drinking from, or being served, a “saucer of tea” or a “bowl of tea” or a “dish of tea” (or coffee, after coffee became popular), which predated the later and more refined cups and saucers that we are talking about here. And yes, my family drank hot liquids by “saucering” it until sometime in the 1950s when we got coffee makers called “drip-a-lators” that did not boil the coffee, and while at the same time we graduated to mugs without saucers.

  • Reply
    Lois Tootle
    October 25, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    There was an episode of Gomer Pyle USMC in which Gomer asked a high ranking officer if he would like him to saucer and blow his coffee. The office replied he hadn’t heard that since he was a young man back home.

  • Reply
    Sherry
    February 28, 2014 at 11:15 am

    I especially remember my great-grandmother on my mother’s side her coffee from a saucer. I loved the smell of coffee brewing and begged for some but my daddy said it would make my toes black!

  • Reply
    brenda s 'okie in colorado'
    February 27, 2014 at 2:21 am

    My precious Granny always saucered and blowed her coffee. I always thought it was sweet and unique. Loved watching her sip from her saucer. Garland, my husband will not allow me to wash his coffee thermos that he takes to work each day. He says it will ruin the seasoning he has developed. lol If anyone of you have ever watched Red Steagall Show on RFDTV, knows he always ends his show with, “Like my ole Daddy used to say, we got this saucered and blowed.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    February 26, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    I still love JFG and I remember being SHOCKED to discover saucering and blowing were “ill mannered”!

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    February 26, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    I enjoyed Garland Davis story and we as young children saw this but I had never heard it call saucing and blowing. The JFG smelled so good and I wanted to drink it, but Mother gave me a cup more milk than coffee she just ruined the coffee taste. I would beg her leave the milk out. I told her one day when I get grown I will drink my coffee black, she patiently said when your grown yes but now you drink it my way.I drink my coffee black now it makes me sick to think of the coffee flavored milk and how bad it taste.I loved to have a black cup of JFG. I never mastered the saucer style too small and would spill it down my white penefore.some might be old enough to remember wearing a penefore over your puffed sleeve dress. Mother would make them white mostly and starch them stiff and it had ruffles made sort of like an apron. Little girls were dolls sure enough in these outfit.

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    February 26, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Tipper, my Dad was one of those saucer cooler sipper. We were talking about how the old folks use to do that just a few days ago. Brings back memories.
    Thanks, Peggy

  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    February 26, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    I can remember my Grandfather Saucier(Mom’s Dad)doing this. It always irritated my Dad to no end! thanks for the memories!

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    February 26, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    I love this post. It brought back alot of memories. Thanks to you Tipper and Garland.

    • Reply
      Susan Lewis
      August 26, 2019 at 9:26 am

      I heard from a Brit that it can also mean ; dressed smartly and ready to go out.

  • Reply
    Lula Mae VanWinkle
    February 26, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    My parents always poured their coffee into their saucer when I was small. It reminds me of a Michael Combs song:
    I’ve Never Made A Fortune
    and It’s Probably Too Late Now
    but I Don’t Worry About That Much
    i’m Happy Anyhow
    and As I Go Along Life’s Journey
    i’m Reaping Better Than I Sow
    i’m Drinking From My Saucer
    ’cause My Cup Has Overflowed
    haven’t Got A Lot Of Riches
    and Sometimes The Going’s Tough
    but I’ve Got Loving Ones Around Me
    and That Makes Me Rich Enough
    i Thank God For His Blessings
    and The Mercies He’s Bestowed
    i’m Drinking From My Saucer
    ’cause My Cup Has Overflowed
    o, Remember Times When Things
    went Wrong
    my Faith Wore Somewhat Thin
    but All At Once The Dark Clouds Broke
    and Sun Peeped Through Again
    so Lord, Help Me Not To Gripe
    about The Tough Rows That I’ve Hoed
    i’m Drinking From My Saucer
    “cause My Cup Has Overflowed
    if God Gives Me Strength And Courage
    when The Way Grows Steep And Rough
    i’ll Not Ask For Other Blessings
    i’m Already Blessed Enough
    and May I Never Be Too Busy
    to Help Others Bear Their Loads
    then I’ll Keep Drinking From My Saucer
    “cause My Cup Has Overflowed!”
    This reminds me of my parents

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    February 26, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Tipper,
    I done tried to post twice to no avail.
    Now I can’t remember what I said!
    Garland, I enjoyed your post today. I
    saw my parents use the saucer to cool
    their coffee. Daddy would jump backards
    sometimes cause it was still too hot.
    But they used JFG and 8 o’clock. I
    memember mama once saying there was a
    manufacturer that named their coffee
    “7 Thirty”, trying to beat 8 o’clock.
    …Ken

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    February 26, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    to this day my aunt uses a small, shallow bowl (probably a fruit or dessert bowl) that just fits her coffee cup. She bowls and blows!

  • Reply
    A&P Folger
    February 26, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Tipper,
    and Ed….My Father-in-law aquired a thick handled mug in the early part of his marriage. He didn’t like the feel or weight of the thin coffee cups or their handles. Having 8 children around, scrapping for every cup and glass, he deemed this particular mug his. No one was to borrow it, drink from it or wash it. It was HIS coffee cup/mug…
    I think it was a Buffalo China mug…I am sure it was sneaked and washed when he was at work..he he!
    Thanks Tipper
    I have enjoyed all the comments from folks that families surely did “saucer and blow” their boiling hot coffee to cool it before drinking! A lot of folks won’t admit to it! I found this out years ago! LOL

  • Reply
    A&P Folger
    February 26, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Tipper,
    and Ed….My Father-in-law aquired a thick handled mug in the early part of his marriage. He didn’t like the feel or weight of the thin coffee cups or their handles. Having 8 children around, scrapping for every cup and glass, he deemed this particular mug his. No one was to borrow it, drink from it or wash it. It was HIS coffee cup/mug…
    I think it was a Buffalo China mug…I am sure it was sneaked and washed when he was at work..he he!
    Thanks Tipper
    I have enjoyed all the comments from folks that families surely did “saucer and blow” their boiling hot coffee to cool it before drinking! A lot of folks won’t admit to it! I found this out years ago! LOL

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    February 26, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Hee! I was SO excited to read your post! I actually had a draft post for my blog about this exact same subject! I can remember my Grandpa Vaughn pouring his coffee from the cup into the saucer, blowing on it and then drinking it.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    February 26, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Yes! I grew up with that as a norm, although I was taught that saucering and blowing is something you do at home only. I thought that the only reason we don’t see it nowadays is because almost everyone uses mugs instead of cups and saucers.

  • Reply
    Jackie
    February 26, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Heard of it? I’ve done it and still do when the coffee is too hot to drink. As for the teacher’s idea on manners, Every culture has their own ideas on what proper folks should do or not do. I always crumble my crackers into my soup. A Yankee told me that this was rude behavior.

  • Reply
    Charles Fletcher
    February 26, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Always did this while growing up and especially for the the time in the Army from 1942 –1946 using the Aluminum cups. I did a lot of HUFFING & PUFFING.
    Charles Fletcher

  • Reply
    ncmountainwoman
    February 26, 2014 at 10:52 am

    My grandpa took his coffee in a big white cup. His saucer was actually a small bowl. He poured the coffee from the cup into it and then sipped it piping hot.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    February 26, 2014 at 9:42 am

    ED, speaking of not washing your coffee cup very often. I served on a ship with a Chief Petty Officer, who brought his own cup with him when he reported aboard. It was a white mug with a dark mahogany colored interior. He swore that it had not been washed in fifteen years. He threatened death to anyone who washed his cup.

  • Reply
    Quinn
    February 26, 2014 at 9:12 am

    I’ve never developed a taste for coffee, but LOVE the smell!

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes
    February 26, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Oh my gosh, I had forgotten this but my Granny and Papaw always saucered and blowed!! Thanks for the warm memory.

  • Reply
    Shirla
    February 26, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Dad always saucered and blowed his strong black coffee. It was brewed on top of a coal stove and got extremely hot. I complain about my Bunn coffee maker not getting coffee hot enough. Maybe it’s because I use so much of that addictive liquid Coffeemate.

  • Reply
    Marc Kruger
    February 26, 2014 at 9:01 am

    My Grandmother from Russia would drink her tea this way. She also never pre-sweetened her tea, she would place a small lump of sugar in her mouth and then drink the tea from the saucer.

  • Reply
    Gwen
    February 26, 2014 at 8:34 am

    My grandfather (of Highland Scot ancestry) used to drink his coffee “saucered and blowed.” I had forgotten about it! Sure takes me back to when I was a kid, and would spend the night with them. My grandmother used to take a leftover biscuit, split it, sprinkle with sugar, and pour some leftover coffee over it. That was her mid-morning snack. I sure miss those two!

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    February 26, 2014 at 8:28 am

    I am another who remembers saucered and blowed coffee at my grandparents house. Like Kat, my early efforts were messy. Mother says these new one cup at a time coffee makers don’t make it hot enough. She microwaves it before drinking!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    February 26, 2014 at 8:24 am

    I remember my granpa doing this, also heard and still hear saucered and blowed from the older members of the family!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    February 26, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Well, Tipper, this is another ‘new one’ on me. Not that we were a sophisticated family (ELEVEN CHILDREN)living in the Matheson Cove. But I found Garland’s note today strange and meaningful! This is one I will share with my grandsons – who are from an vastly different background – if you know what I mean!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Java Jane
    February 26, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Tipper,
    and Ed…we being removed from WNC in the forties, drank JFG also…My Grandparents drank 8 o’clock…You’re right it was just nasty. Maxwell House was out of the question, (high as a cats back)but occasionally purchased when it was known company was coming for a few days visit. Go figure that one out!.
    One other thing about JFG…We would save out coupons! That was a trip and a half to go to the JFG Company Store in Knoxville and redeem those coupons. If you never loved coffee, you would fall in love with it when you opened the door of JFG Company. The aroma would hit you like a Mac truck, and cause you to float up in an invisiable sea of coffee! Today, I wish that when I was a child, I would have had the sense to ask for one of their 1940’s posters! I loved to pick out their JFG light when going thru Knoxville on top of their building!
    We never got a whole lot for our coupons. We never could save enough of them for an expensive coupon gift. Mom was always afraid they would guit giving them away on the package. So she would turn them in when she got just enough for some little gadget or towels she could use that she remembered from her last visit to JFG.
    Kids today don’t get to experience the joy of going to the product (coupon) redemption centers.
    Don’t even get me started on going to the Green Stamp (S&H) or Top Value (Yellow stamp) redemption stores! What a treasure hunt I thought that was!
    Yep, loved me some JFG, and when I was first introduced to coffee at my Grannys, (I begged for it) they gave it to me, while I was standing by the table. Served in a saucer and I “blew and then slurped” it right up. They wouldn’t let me hold the saucer, for fear I would spill the hot coffee on myself. I still love the stuff today!…
    Thanks Tipper and Garland!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 26, 2014 at 7:51 am

    I like my coffee hot and black. I use the same cup every day and only wash it occasionally, like when I find a critter in it or suspect somebody might have messed with it. I think a freshly washed cup gives the coffee a soapy taste. Besides that, without cream or sugar, germs cannot survive there anyway, right? Are there others like me?

  • Reply
    dolores
    February 26, 2014 at 7:34 am

    I never heard the term, but as I read the article, I remembered my Dad doing that when I was a small child. We had perculated coffee back then, and I’m thinking now, that my Mom may have let it keep cooking on a gas stove. It is very difficult to find sets of dishes for daily use with saucers. Very interesting article!

  • Reply
    ldockery
    February 26, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Yes! Seems like everybody used to do it. Guess I just wasn’t around many people who considered themselves well-mannered ladies and gentlemen!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 26, 2014 at 7:33 am

    I’ve heard the expression, saucered and blowed, but it was not a practice I ever saw being done. My mother, however, used the expression to describe the raising of children. When the children were raised they were saucered and blowed.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    February 26, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Tipper,
    and Garland…I do remember my parents, especially my Dad (German origin) and Grandparents drinking their coffee from a saucer until the cup cooled off.
    The saucers back in the day were deep too. Check out some old vintage dishes/saucers. Nowadays the fancy china dishes have flat saucers.
    After my parents got a electric perculator (all shiny and new)there seemed to be no more saucering hot coffee. Dad would complain that the coffee was just not hot enough from that new electric perculator, I guess since he could drink it right from the cup after pouring! My Mother quit “saucering and blowing” her coffee a long time before Dad did. She said she read that it was’nt proper to do so! Sometimes she, rode her high horse, since her parents got a new electric stove before she got married…LOL
    Thanks Tipper and Garland for the memories…
    PS…It must have been around 6th grade when we got our new electric perculator! I know I do remember that you couldn’t smell the coffee making like you could in that old aluminum pot on the stove. Boy, oh boy, if it ever was forgotten in the morning rush, and got left on the stove and scorched that last bit in it, whew it stunk to high heaven.
    I can just hear my Mom, fussing, scouring and scraping the bottom of that old aluminum pot!

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    February 26, 2014 at 7:29 am

    I remember doing this when I was younger and Mom and Dad and I always did this, just wish things like this was still being done today, would like to have an old wood cook stove to put in my out side building, where my wood furnace used to be.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 26, 2014 at 6:04 am

    My parents didn’t saucer and blow but they did make coffee like Garland describes. There weren’t no percolators or baskets with filters. The coffee went right into boiling water. The brew was ready when the grounds sank to the bottom of the pot. JFG was the brand of choice at our house. It was good coffee if you didn’t let boil too long. Grandma used 8 O’Clock. That was some nasty tasting stuff. From the first to the last drop.

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    February 26, 2014 at 5:40 am

    On rare occasion I have heard “Saucer my coffee”, but not saucered and blowed. I love reading anything about the old ways. I remember the old wood cook stoves, and the coffee served really hot with a neat cup and saucer. Some would dip their biscuit into the coffee. I thought the electric coffee pot and the drinking from a mug had changed this. Coffee smelled so good back in those days, I was not permitted to drink coffee until I was older, and I think that is why I love coffee so much. Thank you for this very interesting article, Garland Davis.

  • Reply
    kat
    February 26, 2014 at 5:26 am

    This sure brings back memories. As a little kid being at Grandma’s house, I’d want to to drink my sugared & milked up coffee out of a saucer too. Usually spilled more than I drank, but oh was it good. Now days, I don’t know of anybody even using a saucer.

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