Wednesday, January 9, 2013
"Forks, Knives & Spoons" by Peri Wolfman and Charles Gold
Wolfman shares her love of collecting old silverplate along with some utensil history that is just fun to read. She says the first utensil is thought to have been a spoon, and it was used for *stirring* hot foods, not for eating them. She also says that the knife was originally used to convey food to the mouth, sort of like a flat spoon. An old English rhyme referred to this eating-with-knives habit: "I eat my peas with honey, I've done it all my life; It makes the peas taste funny, But it keeps them on my knife."
And speaking of knives, I was quite interested to learn about tea knives, which Wolfman says "are for spreading jam on scones. The 19th-century ones look elegant with handles of ivory or mother-of-pearl; the newer ones are bright with colored Bakelite handles." Naturally, I did a quick eBay search and found quite a few sets of these charming tea knives! Charles Gold's photos in the book are luscious, and I was pleased to be able to see the great detail on so many of the elegant silverplate pieces. I was also interested in the topic of this book because I realized a while back I was informally collecting a particular silverplate utensil that's appropriate for teatime. It's not a teaspoon, infuser, strainer or sugar tongs, but can you guess what it is? I'll show you some of them tomorrow!