When you were a kid did your mom or grandmother cook vegetables until they were stringy and tasteless? For some reason, that's how people cooked vegetables until somewhere around the 1960s or 1970s when folks realized that they taste better cooked less. Let's hop in our time machine and go back to a typical Sunday dinner back in the late 1930s... In the center we have this week's roast or roasted chicken. Chicken was relatively expensive back then and often served to make Sunday dinner special. Off to the side is a bowl heaped with potatoes, probably mashed, with a smaller bowl of gravy. Over there is a plate with bread, and there is butter next to it. And sitting in the glory of a lovely oval bowl are the vegetables, green beans, cooked carrots, creamed spinach or what have you. The housewife would have boiled the vegetables until they were tender, then served in a cream sauce or possibly with butter. But they almost always had oval bowls, special for vegetables. This one is Sharon, made by Federal Glass in the later half of the depression, from 1935 to 1939. Sharon has lovely big roses in panels around the side and a big rose spray on the base. Those big open flowers gave the nickname "Cabbage Rose". Federal made Sharon in pink, amber and green; today the pink is the most popular. Amber is the easiest to find and lowest cost while green, which is my favorite, is a little harder to find and a little more expensive. None of the colors are terribly costly which means you can pick what you like best. There are some rare pieces of pink Sharon, notably the cheese dish and some tumblers. A few pieces have been reproduced but are easy to tell apart from the real ones. Be aware of the cheese dish, butter dish, shakers, creamer, sugar and candy dish if you decide to collect Sharon. The fakes have easy-to-spot telltale differences. For example, the real cheese dish base is like a shallow bowl and the fake looks more like a cheese dish with a definite raised rim to hold the lid. If you decide to get Sharon then get a good book on depression glass and read about the differences. Then you can protect yourself from fakes and be confident that what you buy is real. You will be able to enjoy your glass without worrying about authenticity.
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