Tuesday, May 28, 2013
In the last year, I've inherited (if you want to call it that) two collections of silver. The first was a beautiful, velvet-lined box of mostly Rogers Bros. Adoration pattern — dainty silver-plated flatware that belonged to my great aunt Norma — mixed in with some other random pieces that must have belonged to my grandmother, and Norma's sister, Freda. Grandma Freda's mismatched additions are easily identified; like most everything else valuable and metal she owned (keys, platters, used batteries that still had some juice), hers are marked on the back with a dot of bright pink nail polish.
The second silver collection — each set individually wrapped and tied — came from Kyle's grandmother (who is still living in Iowa but recently moved into a smaller place), along with a full set of Haviland china.
For our last few dinner parties, I've busted out the china from Kyle's family and the silver from mine. Because I'm classy like that.
The silver required a good polishing, which was easily accomplished with Bar Keeper's Friend (though as I later found out, that is a major a no-no). Since then, after using it, I've hand washed each piece, dried them with a soft cloth, and put everything back in its box, which I then shoved into an overstuffed makeshift sideboard in our cramped dining room. Well, all of the pieces except for this one spoon, which somehow never made it back into the box and has been through at least five cycles in the dishwasher.
To my surprise, it's totally fine. I was always told I wasn't supposed to put silver in the dishwasher, but I was also always told I wasn't supposed to wear lipstick and eyeliner at the same time, or wear a black bra with a white shirt, and I've been doing both comfortably for years. I'm pretty sure the scratches were there before I was born, and even if they're the result of my abrasive "polishing," I'm okay with that.
So, I think this collection is about to become my everyday silver.
As I prepare for our neighborhood garage sale (and hopefully for a move, should my terrible credit not prevent us from buying a house this summer), I'm trying to get rid of anything we don't need or really, really love.
We simply have too much stuff to live simply — especially in the kitchen.
To try and adapt to our stuff, or at least tame it, I've turned our breakfast nook into an appliance pantry, and trained Kyle on my storage system: "The turkey baster goes in the Not-Commonly-Used-Utensil Drawer, as opposed to the Commonly-Used-Utensil Drawer. Duh."
While I understand (and have supported with many gifts) Kyle's need for a meat grinder, meat slicer and mandoline, and he puts up with my collections of vintage Pyrex, tiny juice glasses and blue Ball jars, there are many more things that can go. The hodgepodge of cheap flatware I've been accumulating since I moved to New York when I was 18 should be among the first. A household of two does not need three different collections of utensils.
Enter everyday silver.
Worst-case scenario, a few pieces end up in a nasty fight with the garbage disposal, or after five more trips through the dishwasher, I learn why I'm supposed to wash it by hand. Maybe I'll need to get a few replacement pieces from eBay or Etsy, and mark them with bright red nail polish. Either way, we'll still have a set of "nice silver," right?
Maybe this is why I shouldn't have nice things. But I'd like to think that the practical part of Grandma Freda (no matter how small that part was; the woman did tell me on more than one occasion to always sacrifice comfort for beauty), or at least my Great Aunt Norma (who was a lawyer before it was cool for women to be lawyers) would have appreciated my utilitarian approach to their utensils.
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