Being from the South, Silver is a very big part of my life. It doesn't have anything to do with wealth. Although those with more money - old money, tend to have more of it. New money tend not to spend their money on Silver. They do not have the appreciation for the warmth of the metal, the beauty of the patina, the story it tells of the generations past who have used it. A true southern girl comes of age when she chooses her silver pattern, long before she chooses her mate. If she is smart, she chooses that of her mother, grandmother, or favorite great aunt who in their benevolence will pass their silver on to her. It is the pieces in those sets, the pieces on our tables, along with the pieces we find in the corners of the displays in antique stores that prompted me to start this blog. They are beautiful, they are odd, but what are they, and what in the hell do you do with them?
OK, this piece has a split personality. It is officially called a Berry Spoon but every reference I found says that it is used for scooping berries and serving casseroles - go figure. In my book, those are two entirely different dishes, unless you consider a blueberry cobler - a casserole. Sometime the bowl may be plain and sometimes it can be shell shaped. Some of these pieces are the most ornate bowl type servers I have seen in sterling and vary greatly between patterns.
Strawberries must have been big because there are beautiful Strawberry Serving sets, which consist of a spoon and fork. Also, there is a Strawberry Fork, used in addition to the 5 piece place setting when strawberries are served. It has a special 3 tine designed for eating the fruit.
(Strawberry Serving Set shown in unknown pattern)
(Two Tine Strawberry Fork in an unknown pattern by Hamilton & Diesinger 4 1/2 inches)
(Three Tine Strawberry Forks shown in unknown pattern by Campbell-Metcalf)
Yes, the Victorian germaphobes did not want their potato chips touched by human hands as they were served from whatever vessels (bowls, baskets, etc.) they used. So, naturally one would use a sterling silver server - a Saratoga Chip Server . These can be found in most patterns. The name Saratogo comes from the history of the potato chip, invented in Saratoga, NY in 1853. The servers only date back to 1873 - I wonder what they did up until that time?