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tline3open  A Peculiar Little Fork

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Author Topic:   A Peculiar Little Fork
mdhavey

Posts: 164
Registered: Dec 2003

iconnumber posted 02-04-2009 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdhavey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a pretty little fork from Weidlich, Ancestry pattern, 1940. I picked it up because I have no idea what it's used for. It's 6-3/4" in length and the prongs are just 2" wide. Is it an individual asparagus fork? It's too small to be a bacon or lettuce fork, though of similar design. And 1940 would not strike me as a good year for silver companies to make lots of extraneous "dining as an art" pieces...

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doc

Posts: 712
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 02-04-2009 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's a sardine fork.

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mdhavey

Posts: 164
Registered: Dec 2003

iconnumber posted 02-04-2009 10:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdhavey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Doc: I think of sardines as a minced accompaniment to salads and such. Didn't know people ate them individually, that is whole.

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 02-04-2009 11:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
all the time, but I use my fingers. . .

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mdhavey

Posts: 164
Registered: Dec 2003

iconnumber posted 02-04-2009 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdhavey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In doing some research on this, I'm surprised to discover that sardines, at one time in the Victorian era, were quite rare and considered an expensive delicacy. Hence this implement.

Also known as a Pilchard Fork, by the way, which gives it a certain upscale cachet.

Although by 1940, when this pattern was made, I suspect sardines were mainly consumed by hobos (and Wev).

Amazing what you learn on this forum...

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doc

Posts: 712
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 02-04-2009 01:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having grown up in the sardine capital of the world (Maine), I have learned a thing or two about the slippery little things. The peak period of sardine production in Maine was actually the years between 1940-1950, in large part due to the war. So the date of your piece would make sense with the timing of larger consumption of sardines. I personally like mine packed in mustard.

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chase33

Posts: 362
Registered: Feb 2008

iconnumber posted 02-04-2009 10:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chase33     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually this is a bacon fork in this pattern. The sardine fork in this pattern has 4 prongs and a different shape. In my pattern (Chantilly), the sardine fork is shaped very similar to yours but smaller like 5 1/4". I think alot of people use the generic terms bacon fork or sardine fork interchangeably when it comes to pieces shaped like yours (unless the manufacturer did have two seperate pieces).

And yes sardines were so highly prized that many dinnerware manufacturers made special sardine boxes just to serve the sardines.

Robert

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FWG

Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 02-05-2009 03:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the longer handle is a semi-reliable distinguisher between bacon fork and sardine fork. I'm not claiming any expert or inside knowledge here, it's just a sense I get from patterns of usage.

Best sardines I've ever had were on the north coast of Spain. They pull 'em straight of the boats and fry them in olive oil in huge pans right on the docks. Simply perfect!

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doc

Posts: 712
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 02-05-2009 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have heard refence to bacon forks, but had not seen one so I have assumed that all of these forks were sardine forks. Thank you for the education.

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mdhavey

Posts: 164
Registered: Dec 2003

iconnumber posted 02-08-2009 10:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdhavey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've done some field work.

It doesn't work very well as a bacon fork. The prongs are too narrow and the bacon tends to fall off and bacon is pretty hard to spear effectively. We experimented this morning at Sunday brunch.

It does, however, function fine with sardines (from the can not off the boat), because you can easily spear them. Tried that on Saturday, then put the sardines on a pizza. Not bad.

mdh

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