Voices from Russia

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Secret History of the Anthora Coffee Cup… It Ain’t as Greek as You Thought!

00 anthora coffee cup. new york city. 02.10.104

______________________________

Fifty years ago, in an attempt to sell more paper cups to the plethora of Greek-owned diners in New York City, the marketing director for the startup Sherri Cup Company created the “Anthora” coffee cup. The cup’s creator, Leslie Buck, was born Laszlo Büch to a Ukranian Jewish family. The Nazis killed his parents, and Leslie himself was a survivor of both Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Featuring the blue and white of the Greek flag, with a classic key pattern, a drawing of an amphora (the Greek vase for which the cup, courtesy of Buck’s thick accent, is named), The New York Times called this cup, “a pop-cultural totem” that was “as vivid an emblem of New York City as the Statue of Liberty”. For many New Yorkers, this simple cup can evoke Proustian memories of streets travelled, early work mornings, and Sunday dog walks. For Buck, it was a long journey from “Work Makes You Free” to “We Are Happy to Serve You”. At our Seder, we lift each cup in remembrance of our journey from slavery to freedom. However, it isn’t freedom from work that we desire… we want the freedom to approach each (caffeine-fuelled) day with the discipline, generosity, and patience necessary to immerse ourselves in work that really matters… to our lives, our communities, and our world. As Marge Piercy wrote, in her poem, To Be of Use:

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along…
…The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

10 April 2014

Eric Schulmiller

Forward

http://forward.com/articles/196060/the-secret-jewish-history-of-the-coffee-cup-starbu/?p=all

Editor:

Who woulda thunk it? That one of the most iconic things in the City doesn’t come from where we think that it did… everybody (including me) thought that the “Greek cup” was just that… say it ain’t so, Joe! However, I did check this out with a Greek friend, and she was just as surprised as I was (she asked an Old School Greek coffee shop owner from Sparta and she got the real deal from him).

Live and learn!

BMD

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: