Treacle and Ink, for those of you who don’t know, is a reference to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. To be a bit more specific, it actually comes from Through the Looking-Glass.
One of my favorite movies when I was a child was the 1985 two-part made for TV version, of both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, that my parents managed to capture on VHS . If you’ve never seen this version, try to find it. The cast is a who’s who of great performers of the time, many of whom have since passed away, like Sammy Davis Jr., Donald O’Connor, Sid Caesar and Red Buttons. This movie was also my introduction to Carol Channing, whom I had the great fortune to see perform live about three years ago. I had such a vivid imagination, the I almost really thought that if I wished hard enough, I might spot the white rabbit and be able to go on such an incredible adventure.
The first time I read Alice in Wonderland was one summer, a few years later, at Girl Scout camp. There was a one-room cabin near our campground that contained a small collection of books, among other things. I spent our afternoon rest times each day sitting in the window of the cabin flying through the pages of that magical book.
Fast forward a few years to college. By now, I have become a fan of all things tea. The first pieces of china I wanted to collect were the tea pot, sugar bowl, and creamer, and I loved pulling them out, along with my tiered tray, and having tea parties. Yes, actual grown-up tea parties. It was also during this time that my good friend Jane and I went on a wonderful adventure to the magical land of New York City, where we, too, met all manner of zany and quirky creatures, and where we also stumbled upon Alice’s Tea Cup. This quickly became my favorite spot, and we have both since made return trips. I highly recommend Alice’s if you ever find yourself in New York City. The tea is wonderful, and the scones are the best I’ve ever had… even better than mine.
When I was trying to come up with a name for my Etsy shop, I went through a number of ideas before finally deciding on Treacle and Ink. But, after considering what I was selling – items for the table – and recalling that one of my favorite times to sit at a beautiful table is for tea, my mind landed on this song. Of course, it’s from my favorite 1985 version, when Alice has just become Queen Alice, and is hosting her first banquet for all of her friends:
*note: This clip goes a good bit past the song, so for those of you who are faint of heart, stop watching before Alice opens the present, or BEWARE THE JABBORWOCKY!
“To the Looking-Glass world it was Alice that said,
‘I’ve a sceptre in hand, I’ve a crown on my head;
Let the Looking-Glass creatures, whatever they be,
Come dine with the Red Queen, the White Queen and me!’
Then fill up the glasses as quick as you can,
And sprinkle the table with buttons and bran:
Put cats in the coffee and mice in the tea –
And welcome Queen Alice with thirty-times-three!
‘O Looking-Glass creatures,’ quoth Alice, ‘draw near!
‘Tis an honor to see me, a favor to hear:
‘Tis a privilege high to have dinner and tea
Along with the Red Queen, the White Queen and me!’
Then fill up the glasses with treacle and ink,
Or anything else that is pleasant to drink;
Mix sand with the cider, and wool with the wine –
And welcome Queen Alice with ninety-times-nine!”
~ Lewis Carroll, 1871