Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hints from Heloise: Gleaming Cutlery

A dear friend of mine gave us a set of cutlery for our wedding almost 14 years ago: Marquise by 1847 Rogers. It sat in its case for about 12 years while I worried that it was too fancy for the likes of me and Phil. Since I pulled it out and started using it, it's slowly grown a layer of tarnish that I've hardly noticed. Others have. In fact, one neighbor has casually mentioned not once but twice that he thought maybe we shouldn't use my "fine" silverware because of the patina. I'm sure he was thinking more about the stained fork than my baked ziti. One day, I thought, I really need to sit down and spend a few hours cleaning that stuff up like the household help in the 1920s.
Then I stumbled on a recipe the other day for cleaning silverplate. Here's what I did:
  1. Make a single layer of silverware in one of those disposable foil things you use for potluck baked ziti. The silverware needs to touch the foil. You can also line a pan or dish with foil.
  2. Heat some water to boiling, and then pour it into a 4-cup Pyrex container. For 4 cups of water, add 1/4 cup baking soda. It's going to bubble up impressively when you add the soda.
  3. Pour the boiling water and baking soda over the silverware and watch in amazement as the tarnish disappears. Just disappears.
  4. Call your husband in from the porch where he's trying to have a quiet martini and do a little reading, and drag him in to watch the magic. Marvel that this will be your fourth-grader's first science fair project.
  5. Invite your neighbor over for dinner -- something that will require a few pieces of cutlery -- so he can marvel at your sparkling home.
For really stubborn spots, swirl the water around a bit. Then take out that silverware and add more. When the water cools, you can either re-heat it or make some more.
In other Household Hints news, I finally paid attention to my kale, which I'd sort of OD'd on in the early summer and hadn't really noticed for a bit. I realized something was chewing the heck out of it. When I went to get rid of the tattered leaves, I found small green caterpillars having a party on my kale. A little Facebook research, and my friends informed me these are white cabbage moths, and the eggs are laid by the little white butterflies I always look at sanguinely when they flutter around the lavender. I couldn't find a good solution until I found the following on an Internet garden Q&A: Pay a kid 5 cents a caterpillar. Max made $2.50 today working next to me, and is eager to start his shift again tomorrow.
Sometimes money DOES buy happiness.

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Anonymous Cutlery said...

A Fantastic range of modern and classic cutlery available at sensible prices to help create that perfect dining experience.

9:38 PM  
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