Born with a silver spoon

Perhaps I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth but at some time during my childhood my parents bought a set of silverware for me. I think they gave it to me after my divorce. Interesting timing. I thought it should be for a wedding. In addition, during that time I lived out of my car for a short while. But that’s a whole other story.

I write today about the care of silverware. I decided early on this would be my only flatware. Silver tarnishes. I am well aware of this because, while growing up, I polished the silver coffee set we had, which we never drank anything from, but kept well polished. Sort of like the candles on the table we never lit.

For a while “we” were hand washing and drying the silver and this kept it polished. Then Tim and others balked at washing silverware so we started putting it in the dishwasher (I think they started throwing out the teaspoons because we seem to have lost a few). This caused it to get tarnished more quickly but otherwise kept the “dishwashers” very happy.

Now my sisters-in-law from both sides of the family are coming to visit and it’s time to polish the silver ware. I remembered trying a technique several years ago that was intriguing but had disastrous results. Basically you create a chemical reaction by lining a pan with aluminum foil, placing the silverware on the foil single layer so each piece is touching the foil and then pour a solution of boiling water with baking soda in it over the silverware. It’s miraculous to watch. Silver sulfide returns to silver and sends the sulphur to the aluminum with the associated smell of rotten eggs.

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In seconds the tarnish is gone. The disaster I had the first time I tried this occurred when I heated the Pyrex baking pan on the stove and the whole thing exploded with glass, silverware and water all over the place. I was traumatized for years and reverted to hand polishing, which actually removes some of the silver – not good for the long term. So I bravely took the plunge today and mixed 2 qts. of boiling water and 1/4 cup of baking soda in a separate pot and poured it over the foil lined pan with the silver pieces in it. In minutes (I had to do a couple of batches) the whole set was done and my silver drawer is ready for inspection.

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With my free time, I put up another batch of beer, an Irish Red Ale. It may be a little hoppy for my taste but I will let you know in about a month. I am waiting to take my initial specific gravity readings.

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