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.


87 thoughts on “JANUARY IN MY KITCHEN

  1. Love your chandelier. Last year I bought a windchime for my MIL made with silver cutlery. I found it at the quilt show, and am hoping this vendor is there again this year.

  2. When we visited the kitchens at Ca d’Zan (home of the Ringlings) . . . we were fascinated by the collection of specialty cutlery and dishes, including special tongs for eating asparagus without mussing one’s fingertips.

    Enjoy being a sloth! Keep cool.

  3. Cindy, it’s lovely of you to give us even a small peek into your kitchen when you’re so busy, thank you very much! Love the chandelier! I have mistakenly referred to flatware as cutlery my entire life, so I also thank you for enlightening me (no pun intended!). 🙂 Enjoy your “slothful self-indulgence”, I’m sure it’s good for the soul!

  4. Interesting to hear you’re having a heat wave. So are we here in California – it’s going to be 85 degrees F again tomorrow. I’m not complaining mind you 🙂

  5. Loved reading this post…and adore your kitchen chandelier.

    You are scorching and I am in the deep freeze ! Neither extreme is good, but I can put on more layers, and after you take off all your clothes, there is nothin’ left to do…well you could find a walk-in freezer !

    Happy Happy New Year…the best of years to you.
    Peace and love,
    Siggi in Downeast Maine

  6. We are having an unusually cold, cold snap. It is going to be 19 F. tonight! It’s like a knife cutting through a person. I have snorty’s house so wrapped up and full of hay, I hope he will be warm.

    That looks like a fabulously interesting book. I have a few pieces of my mom’s real flatware that she got when she married. It is the only pieces that I eat with. I give everyone else the less nice pieces. I know, thats terrible. I just can’t stand the way the rest of it feels. No one else cares so it’s fine. I think I asked about it once and my mom said it’s no longer possible to buy it. Beautiful doggie.

  7. I have a thing about teaspoons, i have one inherited from a great-aunt and it wasold when she hasd it. Remind me to show you sometime. I used to sneak it to eat off as a teenager, and just walked away with it when i moved out.

  8. Happy happy new year my beautiful friend – loooove your chandelier!!!
    Enjoy your slothlike state whilst it lasts – too soon it will be back to school and the reality of life!!

  9. What spoiled having those beautiful silver implements was having to ‘polish the silver’ once a week or so! I remember how we hated it. I love your windchimes!

  10. Nothing to touch proper silverware for an elegant setting.
    I haven’t previously come across the term ‘flatware’.
    Ingenious chadelier!
    I thought the dish ran away with the spoon – of course I prefer the ‘cat did a widdle’ version!

  11. I wonder what sound the chandelier makes if gently swayed.

    Speaking of flatware – what a coincidence. Today I was looking at spoons I bought on sale a few years ago. I used them once. They are elegant dessert spoons with very long handles. The handles are decorated with 22 carat gold. Ridiculous…with the amount of entertaining I do! However, they were perfect with the crystal stemware I used for serving that one dessert. 🙂

  12. This book really does look wonderful…I crave a look inside…

    I recently saw windchimes and jewelry online made from silverware, and checked my local Good Will thrift store: I found one partial set of silver-plated flatware, brought it home, and polished it to a shining white finish. Now, there is no way I am going to pound this flat and make arts and crafts from it! When I photograph food, a pretty spoon with a nice design is a must-have.

  13. My other sister used to bring home silverware/fancy cutlery (stolen/borrowed) from hotels when she was a flight attendant but man they had a bitter taste to ones tongue and we never used them maybe that is the reason she brought them to us and not kept at her place.

  14. What a wonderful chandelier for the kitchen. I’ve nevered used the word ‘flatware’ always cutlery ot the ‘good’ stuff ‘silverware’. Right or wrong, I love old vintage cutlery and flatware. We purchased alot of silverware at an Auction the beginning of 2011 – we bought a box not knowing what was inside…to our surprise we had inside an outstanding find of a fine silver spoon worth a $200(Aus). I love finding (buying) little treasures! Enjoy your bolly time! x

  15. We have always called it ‘cutlery’ as a generic term for the feeding irons. I knew not of flatware. INteresting

    Wiki he say:
    ‘Cutlery refers to any hand implement used in preparing, serving, and especially eating food in the Western world. It is more usually known as silverware or flatware in the United States, where cutlery can have the more specific meaning of knives and other cutting instruments. This is probably the original meaning of the word. Since silverware suggests the presence of silver, the term tableware has come into use.’ …and more here


  16. I LOVE cutlery too, we have a silver spoon that is so big and precious that it has a name. It is called Spare Plate.. and poor darling.. so hot.. popping the champagne is easier than pulling a cork on a sav, so good choice.. celi

  17. The silver spoon I was born with in my mouth has turned about as black and tan as the happy pup in your picture…but, I’m about as concerned about it as the cat in your side bar…
    Bless You…Wish you the best in your heat wave…it’s 35 degrees F. outside here in the south east right now, so, you can imagine what it is up North, New York …to Canada…
    God Bless You

  18. What a fascinating book that must be! And beautiful chandelier. I loved this post and love your story! My mother collected – bought – flatware 🙂 one piece at a time just as a small collection and I recently brought it home to France with me for blog props. Now you have made me want to research it! But I do appreciate beautiful silve! Happy New Year to you and yours!

  19. Happy New Year to you and your family, Cindy! It’s been ages since I’ve visited your blog — it’s wonderful to get re-acquainted. Love the chandelier — I’ve seen similar fixtures made of old silverware at crafter’s markets from time to time, but they’re usually priced waaay out of my budget!

    Loved the previous pics of your little town — very pretty place. It is very sad what was done to that lovely little shop. The ‘cowboy’ must be from Alberta — believe me — they’re always tearing down anything with any kind of history here. It makes me mad. That’s why I love going to cities like Montreal, New York, Toronto — can actually see some history there.

    Enjoy the rest of your quiet time!

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