Look on the bright side, I tell myself, peering out from the living room window onto ominous skies: with rain comes Life. The horse fields are lush and green, the bleeding hearts in bloom, and the lilacs about to burst. For days now, it's been a steady stream of rain here in upstate New York, so until it stops and I can finally begin to cultivate an English garden of my own, I'll remain indoors, cleaning, sifting, wading my way through Things. Pretty as they are, even I get overwhelmed. Today, from the more hidden depths of our butler's pantry, I unearthed two sets of berry spoons. The first was a gift from my grandmother Dottie to my mother and, most recently, to me. They're English Sheffield, probably from the late 1800s. Dottie bought them years ago at a tag sale near her first house in Greenwich, Connecticut.
They're beautiful, heavy spoons with an intricately detailed relief and gold overlay on silver, which prevents the bowls from tarnishing with acidity. Growing up, I remember accompanying my grandfather Eddie to the estates where he worked as a horticulturalist. Together, we'd pick all varieties of berries, then bring them home, where Dottie would macerate and sprinkle them with sugar. Then she'd make fresh vanilla whipped cream and serve them in milk glass hob nail bowls, together with these pretty spoons. Thankfully, Eddie and Dottie—or Poppop and Mommom, as I call them—are still with us today, so for Mother's Day this year, I'm planning to make a lemon berry trifle, served with her very own spoons. As a collector, I'm always finding similar such pieces, and with so much meaning attached, I rarely pass them up. This set, a more modern design from the 30s, I found just a few weeks ago at an estate sale in the Hudson Valley.
Of course, the voice of reason (a.k.a. Jaithan) tried to tell me we didn't need them, which, as usual, I diligently ignored; the price was too good to pass up. Truth be told, I'd seen similar berry spoons at Bergdorf's for upwards of $300. But just because they're berry spoons doesn't mean they're just for berries! These I'd use for serving cold leaf salads, trifles, or any other dessert. They too have a gold overlay on the bowls protecting them from tarnish. But, as it turns out, drawers overstuffed with servingware aren't the best way to ward off clutter in a small farmhouse. (Who knew?) And so, inspired by the generosity of our reader Anne Chamberlain in California, who recently surprised us with a box full of silver, linens, and cookie cutters from her family's estate because, as she wrote in a card, "we'll cherish them," we've decided to pass on the love with our very first giveaway, just in time for Mother's Day! I'm hoping one of you will cherish (and use!) these spoons, just as much as I do my grandmother's. Simply leave a comment, and we'll pick one winner by random, then announce it on Monday evening! Good luck, everyone!