Vintage Vignette - November 2015
Serving It Up!
Party with these practical pieces for your holiday gatherings - by Martha Whitney Butler
Collecting Interesting Tableware
So often I find interesting tableware that you don't see gracing the modern-day table. Salt cellars and butter pats are a couple of highly collectible and functional items that a lot of people choose to collect. They come in many different designs and forms. The salt spoons are often sterling silver and can be purchased with the salt cellar or separately. Both of these things have what we call a master salt or a master butter dish. These pieces usually match and are larger than their tiny minions. If you do place these on your table, you may choose to educate your guests on their intended purposes.
I once had a dinner party where I sat out my “good” butter pats by the bread plates. As I was cleaning up afterwards, I noticed several of my guests had used them as individual ashtrays. Close, but no cigar! I don't know why I thought they would make the connection that the pats matched the master butter dish but it just did not connect at all. #Fail! Another potential fail: leaving your sterling silver salt spoon in the salt cellar! The salt corrodes the silver almost overnight, so unless you're trying to instantly antique it, remember to remove it.
Salt and Pepper Shakers
We generally have an everyday pair that we get a lot of enjoyment out of, but in a world of automatic grinders, these guys are often overlooked. For an elegant holiday table, a pair of sterling shakers would shine brightly in the landscape of tableware. To mix it up a little, use a salt cellar and an individual pepper shaker, or go with a ceramic design that matches your china or table theme.
Serving Dishes and Serving Pieces
During the busy holidays, we’re usually more focused on actually getting the food prepared than we are with how it looks on the table. We often overlook the tinfoil casserole pans and pie dishes during all the commotion, but they tend to stick out like a sore thumb among the finery. Transporting the green beans from a Tupperware container that a relative brought and into one of your beautiful Herend vegetable dishes is not a cardinal sin. In fact, that relative might want their Tupperware back before they leave!
And for heaven’s sake, don't fumble the pecan pie with inappropriate utensils. Instead, invest in a nice pie server with some character. If you really want to get serious, pair the corresponding silver pieces with the right dishes. For example, asparagus tongs with asparagus and a tomato server with tomato slices. These odd pieces are both fun to collect and very useful.
Use this time of the year to add some intriguing pieces to your collection. I guarantee that you will bring them out for every special occasion and celebration. Put a sterling silver fork in it and be done!
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