Personal Effects, Nov. 13, 2016
Published 9:45 am Sunday, November 13, 2016
By JERRY SAMPSON
Question: Hey Jerry, I told R**** that if anyone knew what this was, it’s you. Now what is it and what was it used for? Dad picked it up a few years ago in an estate sale. It was in a box lot. It’s got a wooden handle and the metal part is silver and says sterling underneath and some other marks. I’m trying to get rid of things that I don’t use and I think it’s so pretty that I want to use it. Help. I love the articles. Keep them coming. Thanks.
Answer: Well, I think that this is the perfect piece for this time of year. What you have is a cheese scoop. Mainly for dry, crumbly blue cheese, like Stilton or Roquefort.
The question of how to serve Stilton has been a hot topic across many a dining table for nearly 200 years. Do you slice it or scoop it? Just ask a die hard food enthusiast and you’ll be pinned in a corner for hours.
In my opinion a scoop is the ideal tool to deliver it from a hunk of cheese to your plate.
Cheese scoops are mainly English, though many other countries made cheese scoops. Some of these scoops are by some very famous makers — English and European. You can find Stilton cheese scoops with handles of ivory, bone, wood, silver, both plated and solid, as well as antler horn.
They can range from fairly delicate, like yours, to almost a foot long, so that you can burrow into that creamy center.
Your scoop is American and has the marks for the Gorham Manufacturing Company, was well as the all important Sterling mark.
Its handle is walnut, so don’t let it soak in water. Though it looks early, almost Georgian in style, it dates to the 1950s.
Because cheese is always popular, I’d think that you’d see your scoop, in a nice antiques store, priced at about $50.
I urge you to make a splurge this holiday season and treat your family to a good-sized wedge of Stilton, some buttery crackers, a nice chutney, a bottle of port or sherry and lay this scoop beside it. Everyone will be awed by your class and taste. Thanks for sharing it.