February 6, 2008


My favorite cooking fork: Iron with ebony handle and pewter inserts and bolsters at both ends. Drawn in 1991.

Duck: Much smaller today. Ate all but his bread and peas. I wonder why he has taken to not eating his peas.

Me: Felt pretty good yesterday. Found lost images, scanned one and a 1/3 more journals. Today a Marta day, and when she leaves I’ll do more scanning.
G: Said he had a really good day at work. We both appreciate these kinds of days.
We did some simple organizing down in the garage, and I pulled a metal box out of gramma’s white bookcase to discover it was filled with iron knives and forks.

My gramma used to cook with an iron fork….stirred her veggies and flipped her meats with its sharp prongs until the tines were worn off at an angle. I used her fork for almost twenty years. It was a tie to the only love my family gave me. My eldest lost that fork when we moved from downtown. Filled with good alcoholic behaviors, I had spent the next few years hunting down another fork just like it. I bought a fifty or so….a few beautifully decorated, a few with bone or bakelite handles, but most just Plain Jane’s. I had intended to put this collection of forks in the antique stores….minus a few good ones, of course, but we closed the stores before that happened.

These were the every day eating utensils found in Sears catalogs everywhere. First they were four pronged, then three. Constructed of iron and wood in from the late 1800’s often with pewter decorations, they were sold in sets of knives and forks. No spoons. Later they were made from iron and bakelite then steel and bakelite.

When I brought the metal box upstairs several weeks ago, I peeked in but saw rust so put off making a closer inspection. Laziness personified. Last week, I finally looked closely and saw not only a fine film of rust on the metal but mold on some of the ebony handles. Two days ago I stopped procrastinating, and I put all but the bone handled ones on to soak knowing the chemical reaction would turn the metal black and make cleaning them easier.

G helped. He even willingly wore an apron. The two of us, with scrubby sponges in hand, attacked the blackened rust and killed the mold with a will. Here were the three forks we found rusting in a metal tray. I remember the struggle to get the rust off them. Who would ever want these pitted forks now. Here’s another with the tines worn so much the fork is fragile. Look at the pewter insert on this one…a sunset. Here’s a knife that matches my favorite fork…but held together with electrical tape. I remember when I got that or this knife, I had forgotten that fork, and another brought a smile to my face. It was, in a way, a reunion. Finally we got them almost all done and dried lining a counter top in the kitchen.

Now what should I do with all these turn of the century knives and forks?


A History of Dining Utensils

3 pronged fork image: ebay

More 3 pronged forks on ebay

Set of 6 Knives and forks: Goodell and Company: Iron with bone handles and pewter bolsters top and bottom.

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