Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Thanks to the comments of a friend who knows her way around a commercial kitchen, I've been testing restaurant table service against the gentle 1910 particulars I learned from my grandmother. Feeding a turn-of-the-twentieth century family three squares at home (papa and the kids all came back for lunch) was probably not much different from running a cafe', but the motives were different. Cost is undoubtedly a consideration in producing meals at home, but cheaping out on the family's nutrition only escalates medical bills. 

My mother pointed out a shot glass that had come from a bar: the bottom was false to short the serving. Perhaps that was a way of protecting a patron at a certain point. I have a sense that there are economic subtleties in the forms of restaurant china that I am not sophisticated enough to appreciate, though I still love the stuff for the longevity of its design.

The accumulated set of vintage restaurant ware I retired recently because I found lead in the glazes is a telling narrative of changes in American lifestyle over the last hundred years. Even a solidly utilitarian table had room for covered oatmeal dishes and two-handled bouillon cups -30-

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