Friday, March 21, 2014

Spoons from the past

This was an unexpected, and delightful, find on March 7, 2014.

These silver spoons belonged to my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Perkins Stanley of Salem (who in 1861 married Andrew Nichols of Danvers). Her maiden initials, E.P.S., are engraved on each spoon, so it is likely that these were given to her as a wedding gift.

On the back of each spoon "J.J. Rider" and "Salem" are stamped into the metal.

The pointed shape of these old spoons reminded me of "grapefruit spoons" and inspired me to write another Remembering Danvers column. In it I relate a childhood story about my reluctance to eat the sour fruit. I also explain how I came to re-discover these antique spoons.  See
   Eating grapefruit with a spoon.

After writing the column I bought some fresh grapefruit and enjoyed using these lovely spoons. For over 100 years these spoons were used in Danvers, at the Nichols family homestead we called "Pine Knoll."  I never met my great-grandmother, who had died in February 1929, but I have many memories of meals in that home with my grandparents, parents, great aunts, uncles, and cousins.

See photo of the Pine Knoll dining room in 1952  -- with grapefruit at every place:
 (Pardon the poor quality of the photo.)

I've asked some of my relatives what they recall about eating grapefruit at Pine Knoll.  Cousin Emily remembers "pre-cut grapefruit (with a Maraschino cherry -- my favorite part) at the Christmas dinners." I hadn't remembered about pre-cutting, which of course makes the grapefruit sections much easier to lift out with a spoon. No need for a serrated spoon if you use a knife first to sever the sections from the outer rind. I intend to use the pre-cutting method from now on. Then I won't risk bending my great-grandmother's lovely, but thin, spoons digging out pieces of grapefruit.