I have a humble collection of silver plated-“silverware” in my kitchen.
Some patterns are similar to ones I grew up with. At one point in my life, my mom changed to “silverware” that was made of stainless steel — the latest rage in the 60’s. We still call it silverware though.
Apparently, after much trial and error, stainless steel manufacturers discovered that eating utensils made of this wonder, didn’t taint the taste of food, or have any chemical reactions. Thus, a more affordable eating utensil was born. But, what was it about the old fashioned silverware that I remembered so much as a child?
The delicate floral patterns, perhaps?
or the attention to detail?
Then, as I grew older having a home of my own, having a mixture of stainless steel and silver plated utensils in the same drawer…
I started to notice that my family would favor using the silver-plated pieces over the stainless steel…a curiosity indeed? And it was all tarnished to boot, not nice and shiny .
Hippocrates (460 BC – 370 BC) famous for stating : Let food be your medicine, had also made a discovery that silver was beneficial to our health in fighting infection and warding off diseases as well as “decreasing swelling in mucous membranes in the nose, throat, urethra, and colon”. (offthegrid news.com)
Which leads me to believe that the “Born with a Silver Spoon in one’s mouth” could have a whole new, even deeper meaning!
Was my family naturally going for the healthy alternative in choosing the silver over the stainless steel?
Perhaps only the wealthy could afford to have real silver eating utensils and feed their babies from silver spoons, but did the doctor’s have a special knowledge from studying Hippocrates?
I’m just speculating ( so don’t take this as medical advice), but did the practice of putting a silver spoon in a baby’s mouth also help to ward off infection and disease, and protect the baby in some way?
Food for Thought!
When did the tradition of a baby’s first eating utensils being made of silver come along?
Long since gone, but my mother saved our silver baby spoons and forks until we were grown. By the time my children were born, the silver tradition had been replaced with a stainless steel replica.
I remember my grandmother telling stories about how the ladies she knew were so proud to say that they had all matching silverware and china.
Then, my grandma would tell them that her set of silverware was so unique that no one else in the country had anything like it.
When they asked her to please tell them what was so special about it, she would say ” No two pieces alike”.
And that’s pretty much what my set looks like. But I do remember that she did have all silver utensils, and no stainless steel.
Note: I spoke with my Mom about her stainless steel, and she said that Betty Crocker had a special promotion in the 1950’s, where you could get a free piece of stainless steel utensil set as a gift when you bought their products. And that is how the Stainless Steel Utensil was put into the American Homes.
Before I wrote this article I took out all of my silver pieces to clean them.
All Natural and Non-toxic way to Clean Silver
I soaked them in white cleaning vinegar in a glass bowl, enough to cover them.
Add 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
Then I sprinkled some Baking Soda on them and used it to scrub some of the tarnish off.
It worked like a charm.
When finished I poured it all down the sink with some extra baking soda to freshen the garbage disposal.
Do you still have your baby spoons? Do you use your silver every day? Do you call your eating utensils “silverware” or do you have another name that you use? Do you collect vintage silverware, or have a set that was your grandmother’s? I say, bring it out and enjoy it, it could do your family some good!
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