The Good Silver

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. – Andy Warhol

I was supposed to be working on a post about the incredibly tasty Beer Cheese Brat Potato Soup I made the other day. However, I am currently visiting my mother’s house for Thanksgiving and managed to leave the scrap piece of paper containing my recipe scribbles at home. I might be able to remember it, but in the meantime, something else came to mind.

As I was designing a holiday post for Changing Seasonings Facebook page, I found the graphic above. It reminded me of the amazing Montana vacation I recently returned from. The owner of the cabin where we stayed had a drawer full of real silverware that was meant for everyday use. They were mismatched from many different sets and a bit tarnished. I didn’t ask her, but I imagine she just picks up pieces from various shops full of unique items when she’s traveling. The second thing I thought to myself after discovering them (the first being, “how beautiful!”), was “why in the world do I keep my silverware in a box, in a china cabinet, that rarely gets used??”

When I was young, the china and silver was brought out on special occasions, typically Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The table artfully set to the specifications of Miss Manners or whoever the etiquette writer of the time was. The place settings were beautiful. It was still a time when couples chose a china pattern when planning their wedding, or received their great grandparents set as a gift and relished it. And, then they tucked it in a china cabinet, maybe displaying a few pieces, and brought it out for special occasions. I have a set that was handed down to me. As I sit here typing this, I can’t even recall whose it was and what the pattern looks like (though I think it’s blue).

As for our more recent holiday meals, my family has opted for less time washing dishes and more time playing games. That means dishes have been machine washable or even, paper (gasp!). Funny thing is, as I was typing this post, my mother announced that since there were less of us here this Thanksgiving she was getting out the nice stuff. I giggled inwardly because she had no idea I was working on this.

Anyway, our cabin owner’s regular use of something that historically has been thought of as “special” made me wonder, “isn’t everyday special?” Life moves so incredibly fast. Our children grow up quickly, and time with older relatives never seems long enough. Waiting to use items until the occasion implies worthiness, devalues all of the things that are part of our everyday lives.

My plan is to pull out the box of silver I have and use it. I am going to watch for quirky, beautiful and unique pieces in shops that I wander through, buy them, and, you guessed it, use them. I am going to dig out some of the beautiful china pieces I have and put them to use, even if it is just a creamer or a serving dish now and then. I want my own children to be excited to have family dinnerware and silver passed down to them, and that won’t happen if they don’t have happy memories of using them.