The terms ‘cutlery’ (items with a cutting edge, such as knives) and ‘flatware’ (spoons, forks and other eating implements) are used rather indiscriminately today to include all the tools of the table. While the term ‘flatware’ can include table cutlery, the reverse is less appropriate. Table cutlery, unlike that used for dessert, was generally not acquired as part of a place setting in a flatware set as we know it – with knife handles, forks and spoons in a matching design and shape – until the late eighteenth century, a century or so after hosts were expected to provide flatware for their guests. – Feeding Desire / Design and the Tools of the Table. (Assouline Press)
Yes, I am reading a book about knives and forks. A tome really, 288 pages about the stuff we toss willy-nilly into the soapy water and grumble about having to wash. The family silver, if you will.
I’ve loved flatware since I fed my first dolly pretend-ice cream and have been known to slap a hand that reaches for my favourite spoon. But I don’t love it nearly as much as a woman I met many years ago. I was working a vacation job in a posh hotel owned by the woman’s family. It was the grand heyday of the five-course meal and this hotel was famous for its silver service. Turns out our lass was a kleptomaniac and was pinching these tools of appetite from the dining room every day. Quite odd, I still think, when she had the run of the place and could dash down to the kitchen anytime she wanted a bowl of custard or a midnight Welsh Rarebit.
As testament to my appreciation of silverware, I had a chandelier made for my kitchen by a customer at the salon. It is constructed from enamel bowls, from which dangle crystals and miniature knives, forks and spoons.
That’s about all the news from my kitchen this month; my family are away and I am reveling in slothful self-indulgence. The heatwave we’re having is unbelievable and it’s all I can do to muster up the energy to pop a champagne cork at the end of the day.
Happy New Year to all my friends, I wish you love, light and laughter throughout 2012.
Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon,
The little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the fork ran away with the Spoon …
For more contributions and peeks into kitchens around the world, visit Celia at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial.