so, as they say, your wife drives a maserati, but you still use the stainless for dinner? and even so, what's the big deal? and i say: have you ever had pilsner from a styrofoam cup? if, in an emergency, i'd rather suck from the tap. and so it goes, when i first made pictures for commercials the set stylist brought flatware from james robinson. sterling silver. heavy. gleaming. the real deal. so very lovely to hold between fingers and thumb. to my accountant's chagrin i bought the set at the end of the shoot. soon after it was a sterling fork here, a spoon there, various knifes, none matching, at some point a ladle. an old one, anciently heritaged from some fine ancestry way back when. heavy, of buff patina, well seasoned sterling. stamped back on the neck was the seal, the mark of a silversmith, hard to define in it's age. the coat of arms, a scott's or a texan's, facing up on the handle, a bovine crown of a sort. that thing has bailed les terrines of many an evening's soup, and it still works, though, like my face, age has splendidly tarnished its glow. the ladle was sold on its weight. then some fourteen ounce sterling. i can't recall the damage, but sterling, aka 925, checks out at today's fifty an ounce. i did an ebay just now and a fair service for twelve in a robinson runs a flush fifteen grand.
in a sensible world owning a box of silver is likely for those only, who polish their service once at thanksgiving and again for christmas, then set a silvery, if pallid table, forks tines up for the english and down for the french. i know this, as a while back i was made a small part of a very large family and hence got my duties assigned. after dinner, desert and dishes and my cigars, out on the patio mind you, the matriarch couldn't account for a missing desert spoon. fermented commotion and all, until there it was, soon enough, re-appeared as by magic, stuck in late cake on her very own haviland dish. but why she would look at me sideways still befuddles, as though, even then, i'd want any a token of her silvery plate. you know, like in life, there is hand hammered sterling, and to a lesser, the one forged on a machine. then there is silver. even at that there are those variants, colonial coin, silver plate, nickel plate, what ever. to my mind soup is ever more delicious when canoodled from a beautiful spoon. i think i said that before. a rapunzel salad ever more crisp on the tines of a bright sterling fork. a steak rendering juices beyond tender, on point of the silver smith's knife, genuine pleasure coming about on account of all venues combined during dinner. a pretty protagonist helps, as does a candle, if not one in the wind.
we're hardly the sensible kind and clearly don't own a complete service, let alone one for twelve. we have some variant, mostly ancient, well patina-ed sterling. spoons and some like forks, knifes, even a pretty coke spoon, though these days it does mostly salt. we tend to use our stuff everyday, with delight and sometimes in the telling of stories to what end this or that came about.