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Apr 8, 2009 11:30 AM

Serving Food in Silver Serving Pieces ....

I decided to pull out and polish some silver serving pieces to use for lunch on Sunday. I'm not sure I've ever actually used them before, and am wondering if I need to be wary, in terms of affecting the silver (plate), with certain foods. I'll be serving potato puree and braised peas and lettuce. Off hand, I can't imagine any chemical reactions with those, but would be interested in knowing if there are problems with pitting etc. with other foods. I plan to heat them by pouring boiling water.

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  1. I finally got rid of my mother's few silver (plate) serving pieces a number of years ago. Kinda wish I hadn't but.... I've served potatoes and green beans in them with no problem. I wonder if something acidic might be an issue. Sounds lovely.

    1 Reply
    1. re: c oliver

      Yes - I have one fun piece that has about 7 different "indentations" that I love to use when I serve Anglo-Curry with all the accoutrements. For the onions and eggs. I put a piece of wax paper down before I add them to the platter. Wasn't sure what else might be problematic.

    2. You will be just fine. Remember that your silver is designed to be used and enjoyed. Frequent use reduces the need for polishing. I think many people are afraid to use silver because they don't want to "harm" it in some way.

      My mother has used my grandmother's silver every day of her life, rarely has to polish it, and is able to remember her mother in a very special way at every meal. Does it show scratches? Of course it does--because it isn't sitting in a display case at all times. Do the scratches diminish its value for her? No--they increase it exponentially.

      6 Replies
      1. re: danwalk

        Yes, I don't mind the scratches. Thanks for the feedback.

        1. re: danwalk

          I'd been thinking how the knife blade isn't silver but the forks and spoons are and they don't have a problem with various chemical reactions so I think that's probably the answer.

          1. re: c oliver

            But, I do think, for example, that eggs will permanently stain silver, if not washed off right away.

            1. re: c oliver

              Blades on knives are generally made of something other than silver because silver is too soft to use for cutting.
              In modern services, they're usually stainless steel and in older sets, carbon steel is common.
              This is normal even with silver plate which would wear too quickly from the friction of cutting.

              Eggs and some other foods will tarnish silver quickly unless the pieces are washed right after use. Eggs have sulpher in them which causes the tarnishing but it's not permanent. Heat will also do it, so it's not a good idea to use your silver to cook with.
              Silver is easy to care for and if you use it regularly, you don't have to spend time polishing. It stays shiny.

              1. re: MakingSense

                Right. I was just making a point that the forks and spoons don't seem to be effected by anything. But, like MMRuth, it seems like I ought to know that there can be a problem but I don't know what it is. :)

                1. re: c oliver

                  Very odd experience: my niece's home in New Orleans was completely under water for more than a month after Katrina and it took us awhile to go through the rubble and pull stuff out. We found my mother's silver flatware service that my niece had gotten when Mama had died. Dumped the water out of the box, and the silver was tarnished dead black. Flat mat black. I'd never seen silver that bad. God only knows what was in that nasty water. We wore gloves and boots every day.
                  Anyway, I worked on the sterling and it polished up beautifully.
                  BUT, there were actual HOLES in the stainless steel knife blades. The water had eaten through them.
                  We sent them off to have the blades replaced and the set is as good as new.

                  Use your silver. That's what it's for. With reasonable care, you can enjoy it every day. It gets prettier and stays shiny and lovely when it's used regularly.
                  You only live once, so live well.

          2. Food that is acidic can discolor, those containing sulfur can oxidize, and salt will corrode silver. If allowed to remain in contact with the silver for a prolonged period of time.

            The amount of exposure from a dinner service shouldn't be a problem.

            1. I have no idea how valid this site and info is but it does address some of the things we were discussing.


              1. You'll be fine with the items above.