Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Nattiest Knives and Forks

I was going to write 'cutlery' at the top of this post, but then I remembered the look of horror the word brought to the face of a boy called Dickon.  His sister is one of my dearest friends; I was on holiday with her family in the south of France one year, and wanted to lay the table.  "Fiona!" Dickon said.  "I can't believe you just used that word.  It is unspeakably common.  Call them knives and forks."  So some of the time, I do. 

We were fairly low on knives and forks - and indeed spoons, of which we had four - until recently.  We didn't put them on our wedding list, as we hadn't, then, seen anything that we liked nearly enough to compare to the silver we'd each grown up with, and we had vague ideas of coming across an entire solid silver dinner service for a fiver on the Portobello Road one day.  (As if.)  Actually, my husband bought a bucket of cutlery (and Dickon, it really was cutlery - there's no disguising the spade in this instance) at a car boot sale he used to frequent in Edinburgh.  (It was in an underground car park that stank of urine.  Andrew loved it.  I went only once.)

It served us well, for a while, just so long as we never had more than six for dinner, and made sure that two of those wouldn't want pudding.  And we could never have served soup.  But recently my Godfather and his wife came to dinner, along with my parents.  "Do you own enough forks for us to have different ones for each course," asked my mother.  "Or shall I share with your father?"  "Do you have anything I could stir my coffee with? Shall I use a fruit knife, of which, unlike spoons, you appear to have an abundance?" Asked my father.  

My Godfather and his wife generously took the hint (they had been asking us what we wanted for a somewhat belated, two children later, wedding present, so the hint dropping wasn't so bad, I feel.)  Approximately two weeks later a package arrived from David Mellor:

David Mellor Pride - the original and award-winning design, in silver plate.  I love the simplicity and the chic-ness of it, and the total contrast to what I grew up with, which is heavy and quite ornate, means that I don't compare the two and find it wanting.  I love this for exactly what it is.

I'm quite keen on some of David Mellor's other designs, too:

David Mellor Paris, which is similar to Pride, but with a heavier handle; I do like it, but I feel that Pride is more elegant.  The knife, in particular, says 'Michelin Starred Restaurant' to me, and believe me, anyone who has tasted my cooking knows that any culinary award is so improbable as to be a joke (unless, of course, M&S readymeals ever receive an accolade.)

David Mellor English in silver plate - I love this though.  I love the exaggerated curve of the handles, and the flatness of them.  

David Mellor Hoffman - I love this, too.  I think it's amazing.  (One day when we've got loads of houses in different places, this will be one of our sets.)

Moving away from David Mellor, I've been spending way too much time on the Georg Jensen website recently . . . 

Georg Jensen Vivianna, which, because I've just been writing an article about Georg Jensen and am therefore a temporary semi-expert, I can tell you was designed by Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe in 1996, and borrows from Georg Jensen's own design, Magnolia.

Georg Jensen's Magnolia, designed in 1919 and which, truth be told, I don't actually like.  But you can see where the curves of Vivianna came from, and I do love that.

Georg Jensen Arne Jacobsen, designed, obviously, by the mighty Arne Jacobsen. 

Georg Jensen Pyramid in silver, designed by Harald Nielsen in 1927. I love this.  Love this. Another day, another house, another Art Deco dream. 

Finally, Georg Jensen Alfredo the Twist Family, for children.  I'm longing for someone to give a set to each of Sholto and Esmeralda.  Though actually Sholto would be utterly devastated if I didn't let him use this:

Emma Bridgewater Men at Work Melamine Set, given to my grateful child by his Godmother Kim, sister of the aforementioned Dickon.  Woe betide me if I attempt to serve any meal to Sholto in anything else.  If, however, he one day invites Kim to dinner, and expects her to eat off it, well, we know what he'll be hinting at . . .