Metro-East Living

What is it? This odd-looking utensil was used for dining during the Victorian Era.

Q. I found this in a box of stuff in my aunt’s garage after she died. It looks like a weapon almost and is sort of scary. It must be a utensil, though, because it has a fancy handle. Could you please identify what it is and what it is used for? I thinking it might be a meat serving fork.

A. It is rather scary looking and definitely not something you would want to point at anyone. It is actually a Victorian baked potato fork. I have seen some with fewer tines, like with only two tines, but with more tines it is easier to get up under the potato and bring it from the serving plate or trays to one’s plate. It is not intended to use this utensil “to stab” the potato, but lift it to one’s plate. This is yet another example of how the Victorians felt compelled to create a serving utensil for almost every food on their menu.

Q. When ice cream or sherbet is served in a short stemmed crystal glass, do you hold onto the dish around the bowl so to speak or are you supposed to try to hold it around the small stem. My husband’s hand is way too large to try to hold it by the small stem.

A. If you feel it necessary to hold this serving dish, hold it around the bowl of the glass.

Q. If I am seated in a restaurant and have been served my food and then find it doesn’t taste right but I don’t see my server anywhere for a few minutes. Is there anything wrong with stopping another server to tell them about it? My wife says I should not complain about it to another server but ask them to get our server.

A. For the sake of saving your time and the other server’s time, it is better to ask for your own server.