I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth talking about again.
When I shared pictures of my new drawer organizers, I received a few comments and questions about my flatware. The most common one was, “Do you really use your silver everyday?”
The answer is yes, I really do. Even with two young boys, I do. Even with a husband who would be content using plastic picnic ware, I do.
It wasn’t always like that. I used to use a $20/set Oneida pattern that we received as a wedding gift. It was a common set, so I added onto it over the years with pieces I found from thrift stores. I never really loved it, but it was just what we used and I didn’t question it.
I did finally purchase some new flatware from Pottery Barn, but it didn’t wear very well and the scale was so large that the spoons were more like serving spoons. We used the dessert spoons and salad forks most of the time.
It finally hit me.
Marian, you have gorgeous flatware that you love! Why in the world don’t you use it? Why is it in a silver chest in a drawer, only seeing the light of day at Christmas?
That is a misspent life for flatware as pretty as this.
It was in a velvet-lined box for years, because at some point, that’s what we collectively decided was the proper thing to do with silver. We all agreed that nice things, formal things, pretty things, expensive things, fancy things, should not be used except now and then…for guests, for special dinners, for holidays.
What a shame.
When my mom told me that my great-grandmother, Rosa, used her silver everyday, I decided to follow in her rebellious footsteps.
I think (and I’m striving to do this), we should ditch the things we don’t really love and use the things we do love everyday. Even if it’s “for special occasions.” Break out the silver, the antique textiles and the family quilts and actually use them. Enjoy them. Love them. Allow them to serve their purpose and live as full of a life as a utensil or quilt or napkin can live!
So, we use our silver everyday. Even the really old stuff that was passed down from my great-great-grandmother… (Those are the really heavy, gorgeous ones with the “K” monogram and the pattern on the back. The pattern is Chrysanthemum by Durgin.)
…and my great-great grandmother. I have a set of spoons with her initials EKJ – Epes Kevan Johnson.
…and other pieces that wear the initials of my Oma, Marian, who I was named after. See the MVA on the baby spoon? That stands for Marian Vaughan Allen.
…and some pieces are from my mom…gifts she received for her wedding.
I love that my set is composed of pieces from different generations, even different sides, of my family. (The pattern is Repousse by Kirk Stieff, if you’re curious.)
I even use the knife that was used to cut my parent’s wedding cake as our “cake cutter” anytime we have a birthday or occasion to eat cake.
I do keep a few pieces of silver in the chest, because they aren’t pieces that are very functional for everyday use.
A few things about using the silver everyday…
We do wash it by hand. It can go in the dishwasher, but I want to take special care of it, so I’ve opted to hand wash. We just hand wash it with the pots and pans, sharp knives, etc. that aren’t best in the dishwasher, either.
I give them a quick polish, mainly to get rid of watermarks and discolorations of the fork tines, about once a year. They are actually due for a cleaning! I like Goddard’s Silver Foam for the job.
I also know that there may be casualties now and then. We recently had a spoon get mauled by the disposal and that was unfortunate, but I’m still okay with using them everyday.
I also keep plastic forks and spoons on hand for when we’re eating on the go. I don’t want to take the nice silver and leave it in the car, crusted with oatmeal or yogurt, until it is discovered. I’m almost always running behind, so I eat on the way to somewhere pretty often!
In addition to using our nice silver, we also eat off of vintage ironstone (dishwasher/microwave safe). We snuggle and build forts with antique quilts that have fragile binding and frayed edges. We even sit (and sometimes wrestle) on all of our furniture. Nothing is reserved or off limits. We do teach our boys to be respectful of our home and the things in it, but they are allowed to use everything.
There is a kind of joy and satisfaction in using your things.
So, go use them!
There was a lot of tip-tip-tapping going on in the studio today…
…and some light sanding as well…
More on those soon…