There are and have been many names for a fruit stand: It can also be called a fruit bowl, berry bowl, berry set, fruit dish, basket, fruit basket or bride’s basket. During the 1880s and 1890s, the tableware catalogs of the time used any of these names when referring to this particular item. A formal Victorian dinner party served many courses (a typical dinner could have up to nine), with a special serving dish for each one; the fruit stand was brought out at the end of the meal. Raw oysters would often be served first, then soup, meat, poultry, salad, dessert, then fruit and sometimes cheese, followed by coffee and tea in the drawing room. Between courses, the table was cleared and sometimes fresh tablecloths were used.
The many-named fruit stand was the centerpiece for the dessert and fruit courses. There were also small berry bowls that held strawberries and similar type fruit that were served with fresh cream and sugar. Silver-plated, fancy stands held colored glass bowls that most likely held such fruit like grapes or apples. These stands were decorated with three-dimensional figures such as animals, flowers or unusual groupings of people or religious entities. Sometimes the bowls were silver, but mostly they were colored art glass (like Amberina), satin glass, pressed or cut glass (Source: “Search reveals many names for fruit stand” by Terry Kovel, Antiques & Collecting-The (Sunday) Vindicator, 2014).
The common household fork (from the Latin furca, meaning a two-pronged instrument) was nearly unknown in ancient times (though there was evidence found of a few fork-like tools in Egyptian tombs); in fact, until well into modern times, the major household eating utensils were first and foremost the hands, then knives, then spoons. And this was true even among the well-to-do (many table napkins were used). It is believed that Byzantium provided the first forks; forks migrated to Greece in the 11th century, but Westerners were slow to accept and use the device. One possible reason may be because the fork resembled a knife, therefore it was deemed unnecessary. Other reasons: It was widely believed that the fork was too delicate for men; therefore, it was considered a ’girly’ utensil. The fork was also difficult to design at the time (two or more prongs or tines). And for a while in medieval Europe, there was even a theory that the fork was sinful because it made eating easier, thus leading one to gluttony (one of the seven deadly sins). As a result, many French and Spanish convents banned their use.
England adopted the fork in the 15th century, but it was by trickle-down, due to: When the wealthy traveled, a fork was carried in a small case, along with a knife and spoon. By the late 16th century, the wealthy began putting forks on table settings for themselves and their guests. A century later, the fork became a common sight on tables throughout England and the colonies abroad (before the American Revolution, forks were a highly-sought-after item throughout the colonies). After the Civil War, there were separate models of forks being made for salads, shellfish, lemons and even olives. The fork soon mutated into a dinner model with four prongs or tines; an entrée fork, similar to the dinner one, but smaller; a salad fork, short, wide with three or four tines-the left tine being wider and adorned with a cutting edge; and many other versions. At the dawn of the 20th century, the fork began returning to more of an all-purpose utensil, with fewer models (Source: “Hand it to the fork for enduring tough times” by Thomas Dibacco, Washington Post-The Vindicator, March 5, 1997).
Muffin Tin Meatloaf and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
This is an easy-to-make and tasty meal that can be ready fast, prepared and on the table in 30 minutes. The ground-beef meatloaf mixture is not only sprinkled with Italian seasoning, but is also studded with shredded zucchini. And there’s a ketchup crust. Baking the loaves in a muffin pan shortens the cooking time; the potatoes are microwaved without peeling. First, here’s Muffin Tin Meat Loaves:
1 ½ pounds of lean ground beef
1 ½ cups of shredded zucchini
1 cup of soft bread crumbs (to make soft bread crumbs, place torn bread slices in food processor fitted with steel blade or blender container. Cover; process for 30 seconds, pulsing on and off until fine crumbs form. 1 and ½ slices will yield 1 cup of soft bread crumbs
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon of salt
¼ cup of ketchup
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except ketchup, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Place about one-third cup beef mixture into each of 12 medium muffin cups, pressing lightly; spread the ketchup over tops. Bake in 400-degree oven for 20 minutes or until no longer pink.
Remove the meat loaves from the pan. Makes 6 servings
While the loaves are baking, the Parmesan Mashed Potatoes can be prepared; here’s the recipe:
1 ½ pounds all-purpose potatoes, scrubbed, quartered
3 tablespoons water
3 large cloves garlic, crushed
One-third cup low-fat milk
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
¾ teaspoon salt
In a 2-quart microwave-safe container, combine potatoes, water and garlic. Cover and microwave on high 12 to 14 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Mash potatoes until smooth. Add milk, cheese and salt, beating until light and fluffy (if the mixture becomes too thick, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time). Makes 6 servings (Sources: “Fast, delicious dinner for the holidays features two treats”-Associated Press and recipe from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association-The Vindicator, December 16, 1998).