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When I was a little girl – and not so little – I always loved pottering in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother. One of the tasks my Granny always gave me was of collecting the eggs from where they were kept in their special ‘Henny Penny’ and then cracking them into whatever we were making.

A Henny Penny, just in case you were wondering, is a chicken shaped ceramic container in which to store eggs at room temperature. It sits on the side and overlooks all kitchen activity, and knows when you have snuck in to stick your finger into a dinner party dessert, or helped yourself to a forbidden biscuit. It has a hotline to Father Christmas in case of bad or good behaviour, and magical powers.

Honest. Or maybe that was just our Henny Penny.

I think sometimes Granny made things just so I could use the Henny Penny. There’s no other justification for the amount of baking we did, especially when you consider she was as slim as a reed and didn’t have a freezer.  Mind you, the lady did dry out teabags on the radiator after using them to get more use out of them.  She also taught me how to play cards, apply lipstick and the value of having a dry sherry every day at 6pm.

I miss her.

Sadly my family Henny Penny went the way of all mortal hens, being broken in a house move. So I have spent the past few years on an exploration of ceramic offerings, all of which have been rejected for looking too knowing, too ugly, in the wrong direction, being the wrong colour, too big, too small, too pretty, or just ‘not right’.

Imagine my excitement when I came across this little beauty in France. I carried it home in my handluggage and it now has pride of place in my kitchen.

French egg basket

Yes, I know, it’s a million miles from a Henny Penny. But it says ‘Oeufs’ on it.

This is the evolution of a family tradition. That’s the way I’m looking at it.