Worth replacing: mix-and-match vintage silver

September 1, 2008

I’m a big person. In fact, statistical info tells me that I’m the same height as the average Canadian man and only slightly heavier (about 2 lbs) than the average Canadian woman.

I blame my size on my preference for heavy cutlery. I know it sounds odd but I really can’t enjoy a meal if I have to eat it with flimsy cutlery that doesn’t feel weighted and solid in my hand. I just don’t do dainty. And, if that flimsy cutlery is also cheap and imbues food with a metallic taste, I’m really livid.

These pet peeves led me to start buying vintage silverware a few years ago. Today I have a good-sized collection that includes all the everyday pieces and many specialty utensils such as oyster forks and espresso spoons.

I use my vintage cutlery every day and it goes in the dishwasher with all the other everyday stuff. I don’t care that it doesn’t match and that it has developed a soft patina (actually, most of it arrived with a patina since it was all purchased used on eBay or at antique stores). For me, that’s part of the charm.

Guests often ask me how I can stand having to polish my silver regularly and they’re often shocked to hear that I’ve got a great four step, organic solution for that nasty job. Once every few weeks when I start to see a little tarnish on the fork tines,

1. I line my sink with aluminum foil.
2. Then I spread the cutlery out on the foil;
3. Sprinkle coarse salt evenly over top and
4. Fill the sink with hot water.

If the tarnish hasn’t come off completely just from those steps, I just rub the affected spot with a corner of the used aluminum foil. It’s that easy. The whole process takes less than half an hour and that is why my vintage, mix-and-match cutlery is both 100% worth replacing and a good topic for Labour Day!

Do you have any pet peeves about cutlery, plates or glassware? Or, am I alone in having strong preferences around all of these topics?