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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Whatever happened to the fish knife?

This morning we had tea from the remnants of the breakfast service my in-laws were given when they got married after the war. Apparently the cups are shaped like that to ensure that the tea cools quickly.

We have inherited all manner of cutlery and chinaware which was given to our parents (and even, in some cases their parents) upon their marriage. We have sets of fish knives, forks and slices, often encased in velvet lined cases as if they were dueling pistols. We have sugar tongs. We have silver-plated cake stands. We have what would now be called "solutions" to every serving problem that might have faced the domestic hostess in the days of Macmillan.

Looking at this arsenal of equipment you might be forgiven for thinking our parents were big entertainers. They weren't. Nor were most people in those days. Aunts in hats would be invited to tea from time to time but dinner parties were unknown and nobody ever came round to Sunday lunch (which was of course Sunday dinner). Who was all this stuff supposed to impress? I'd find it all a lot easier to understand in the world of "Come Dine With Me" than it was back then.