Friday, February 12, 2010

Pastry Forks! Do You Need Them?

With me, the answer to 'do you need it' is always yes - if the item in question is silver and I don't have it. That's not to say I always buy whatever it is . . . but, I still think I need it! I love collecting silver because it's beautiful and a joy to use. And, unlike a cashmere sweater or expensive shoes, sterling items improve with each use. Try wearing that new sweater every day for two months and see how it holds up!

The pastry fork is a basic place-setting piece. You may know it as the salad fork or dessert fork - so already we can see how useful it is, three things in one (even better than the plastic spork which is only two things and is easily snapped in half if used for ice cream . . . but, that's another post). There's another great thing about the pastry fork - it's often the prettiest piece in the regular place setting. The fork shown above is a great example. It's a pattern by Frank Whiting called 'Marquis'. The pattern was designed in 1889 - isn't that amazing? See the shape of the lower tine? It's wider to facilitate cutting. Most American silver patterns use the same fork for salad and pastry and consequently the 'cutting' tine may not be as wide as this one.

In the pattern above, which is Reed & Barton's Marlborough, both outside tines have the same shape. Isn't it lovely? The nice thing about collecting pastry forks is that they're inexpensive - you can often find sterling ones for less than $10. While silverplated pieces are even cheaper, I feel it's worth spending a bit more for sterling as it will last forever whereas the silver often wears off the tines of a plated fork and then it leaves an unpleasant metallic taste - after all, we're buying these to use! (Needless to say, eBay is a great source - the pieces above were purchased there and later resold there. If you look in the 'unknown' category under Antiques/Sterling, you'll find great deals - your best bet may be to simply search for 'fork'.)

And if you plan to create a special dessert for Valentine's Day, check out the yummy ideas from Martha Stewart. Of course - your pastry forks will be perfect with any of these!

Happy Friday!


  1. Could these little desserts be any more gorgeous!! I wish someone would just serve one up right now, with a nice pastry fork too!

  2. I didn't NEED pastry forks until I read your blog. Now I'm quite sure I must have them...another thing to look at on evil eBay.

  3. Oh I am swooning over your beautiful photo of the pastry fork. Just last night my daughter, after studying her salad fork intently for almost a minute, asked me why the outer tines on her fork were wider than the two inner tines. The timing of your pastry fork post is quite timely and I thank you.

  4. I learned something new today. Thank you!
    I love silver flatware and collect the "odd" pieces whenever I can...petit fors server, asparagus tongs, sugar tongs. One of my favorite pastimes is to go to Silver Queen and rummage through their mismatched bins. You never know what will be there... I actually found a baby spoon in Joan of sterling pattern. Now all I need is a grandbaby.....
    Jane (artfully graced)

  5. Yes, yes, yes - you always need anything silver. But I can't even so no to plastic kitchen gadgets!

  6. Pastry(or cake as we say!) forks are one of life's essentials! How can you possibly eat cake without? Fingers would never do!


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