You are what you eat…On…

by Sally Steele

Wedding season has reminded me all about tableware. Decisions, decisions!

Is fabulous tableware a luxury, a necessity…is it even important?

If nothing else, it is a visual Garden of Eden.

For all you Boulevardiers and Gourmands, some inspiration!


Flora Danica, by Royal Copenhagen, dating from the 1700’s, Flora Danica is the world’s most luxurious & expensive porcelain, price for a teacup $1500

TABLEWARE 101:

 

Trenchers

From WIKIPEDIA: The first known use of the term tableware was in 1766, dinnerware in 1895 and dishware in 1946…

TRENCHERS: A trencher (from Old French tranchier; “to cut”) is a type of tableware, commonly used in medieval cuisine. A trencher was originally a piece of stale bread, cut into a square shape by a carver, and used as a plate, upon which the food could be placed before being eaten. At the end of the meal, the trencher could be eaten with sauce, but was more frequently given as alms to the poor. Later the trencher evolved into a small plate of metal or wood. People used this utensil to eat the many stews and porridges that made up their daily diet.

Antique Cutlery

From ABOUT.COM: The History of Eating Utensils…

Forks
Use of kitchen forks can be traced back to the time of the Greeks.

Knives
Knives have been used as weapons, tools, and eating utensils since prehistoric times. However, it is only in fairly recent times that knives have been designed specifically for table use.

Spoons
Spoons have been used as eating utensils since Paleolithic times.

Chopsticks
Chopsticks were developed about 5,000 years ago in China.

Portable Eating Utensils
Because people must eat no matter where they are, there has long been a need for portable eating utensils.

The Spork
Half spoon and half fork.

A Short History of the Wooden Plate
It has been suggested that these wooden trenchers gradually evolved into plates by first having a hollow turned in them and then the square profile being removed to leave the plate as we know it.

Caesar Cardini’s famous Café in Tijuana, opening night, 1935

From INFOPLEASE: The History of How Some Cuisine Got It’s Name…

Beef Stroganoff

A combination of beef, mushrooms, and sour cream, Beef Stroganoff was the prize-winning recipe created for a cooking competition held in the 1890s in St. Petersburg, Russia. The chef who devised the recipe worked for the Russian diplomat Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov, a member of one of Russia’s grandest noble families.

Beef Wellington

A national hero for defeating Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815, Arthur Wellesley was made the first Duke of Wellington. He loved a dish of beef, mushrooms, truffles, Madeira wine, and paté cooked in pastry, which has been named in his honor.

Caesar Salad

In the 1920s, Caesar Cardini, owner of an Italian restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, and his brother, Alex, invented a salad of romaine lettuce, anchovies, coddled egg, lemon juice, grated Parmesan cheese, and garlic-flavored croutons tossed with a garlic vinaigrette flavored with Worcestershire sauce. At first it was called Aviator’s Salad, but later Cardini named the dish after himself.

Chicken Marengo

A French dish of chicken braised with garlic, tomatoes, olives, white wine or brandy, and garnished with crayfish and sometimes fried eggs, Chicken Marengo was born on the battlefield. On June 14, 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the Austro-Hungarian army at the village of Marengo, in northern Italy. After a ferocious battle in which 5,800 French and 9,400 Austrians were killed, the victorious French were ravenous. Chicken Marengo was made from whatever ingredients they were able to take from the village.

Delmonico Steak (and Delmonico Potatoes)

Swiss immigrants, the Delmonico family created New York City’s first real luxury restaurant, which they ran from 1835 to 1881. With a menu printed in French and English, Delmonico’s featured French and American cuisine. Under the direction of French chef Charles Ranhofer, Delmonico’s set the standard for gourmet food. Delmonico Steak, a tender strip of usually boneless top loin, has become an American classic. It is also known as Kansas City strip steak or New York steak. Delmonico Potatoes are boiled, buttered potatoes sprinkled with parsley and lemon juice. Eggs Benedict and Lobster Newburg were also created at the restaurant.

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict was most likely created at Delmonico’s Restaurant, in New York City, in response to a complaint that the menu never changed. Regulars at the fancy restaurant, Mr. and Mrs. LeGrand Benedict asked for something new. To oblige, the chef served up eggs on ham served on a muffin and covered in Hollandaise sauce.

Lobster Newburg

In the mid-1800s, shipping magnate Ben Wenberg asked Charles Ranhofer, chef at Delmonico’s Restaurant, to prepare a meal he had discovered in South America—chunks of lobster sautéed in butter and served in a sauce of cream and egg flavored with paprika and sherry. The meal was such a success that it was added to the Delmonico’s menu as Lobster Wenberg. However, some time later, Wenberg consumed too much wine from Delmonico’s renowned cellars and got into a brawl. He was banished from Delmonico’s forever and his name stricken from the menu. “Wenberg” became “Newburg.”

Peach Melba

Sometimes called the greatest chef who ever lived, Auguste Escoffier created a dessert of poached peach halves, vanilla ice cream, and raspberry sauce in honor of Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. A Frenchman, Escoffier worked at the Ritz Hotel in London in the early 1900s, the period when Melba performed regularly at the Covent Garden opera house. Escoffier also created Melba toast—bread heated in a low oven until golden brown and very brittle—in Melba’s honor.

Salisbury Steak

J. H. Salisbury, a nineteenth-century English nutritionist, advocated a diet of lean meat. Salisbury Steak is a fried or broiled ground beef patty mixed with egg, breadcrumbs, onions, and seasonings. It is sometimes served with gravy.

Waldorf Salad

In 1896, Oscar Tschirky, the maître d’hôtel of the famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, created a salad of apples, celery, and mayonnaise. Immediately popular, the new dish was called Waldorf Salad. Chopped walnuts later became an ingredient.

 

Antique Limoges Porcelain Oyster Platter

From The New York Times,  By JENNIFER OLSHIN, March 26, 2000:

“Throughout the 19th and early 20 centuries, the growing appetite for refinement at the table resulted in an increasing demand for large numbers of matching ceramics, glassware and specialized items like pressed glass pickle jars and asparagus tongs. Looking to their 18th-century English and Continental ancestors for stylistic inspiration, Victorian Americans consumed vast numbers of traditionally shaped, floral-painted services with gilded rims. The oyster plate, made by the French Limoges factory, Haviland and Company, for the Rutherford B. Hayes White House service, exemplifies these trends. So to does the enduring popularity of conservative motifs and revival styles marketed by Spode, Wedgwood and other 20th-century Staffordshire potteries.”

Food for Thought — Tableware Today:

Altered Antiques

Altered Antique Plates by BeatUpCreations

Mineral Plate

Available from: do shop

Psycho Plates

The Ink Blot series by Kathleen Walsh; Available from: Fitzsu

 

Hot Plate

Available from: do shop

Dishoom Plates

Dishoom: In addition to quenching diners’ hunger, these cafés are also known to satisfy patrons’ appetite for community. Apparently everyone shares dishes while sharing stories together–no matter whether they came alone or in groups. It’s a social atmosphere Dishoom hopes to conjure by rolling out 80 custom-made plates decorated with stories about diners’ experiences with the old Bombay cafés.

 

This post is dedicated to The One I Love…5.17.2013

 From My Heart…Your Muse

Delmonico’s, New York

 

 

 

 

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