Saturday, 17 December 2011

What Your Gadgets Say About You

Middle-class Upwards don’t eat cake with a fork, especially not a small silver fork with a blade for cutting the cake. But they may pass guests a “paper napkin” (never "serviette") to hold the cake with. Curved cheese knives with two prongs at the end for spearing cheese are also verboten, as are cheeseboards with a slot for for the knife, and special grapefruit knives or spoons with a serrated side. These are gadgets you’d expect to find in a hotel, not a private house.

However Upwards used to be very keen on special butter knives (for taking butter curls or balls from a butter plate), and sugar tongs (for sugar lumps), and special sugar spoons. All these items (only used when eating afternoon tea around a tea table) have thankfully vanished. If you want to eat tea around a tea table you have to go to the Ritz or the Savoy, and the people who used to make their own butter curls now have something better to do with their time.

Upper-class Stow Crats eat with inherited Georgian silver. Upwards use inherited silver plate, or designer stainless steel.

Stow Crats and Upwards were terribly cross when disposable products came in, especially disposable nappies. They held out for years, insisting that muslin and terry squares were really easier and more practical. Sharon Definitely bulk buys Pampers.

Upwards and Stow Crats think that all kitchen gadgets are common unless made out of metal or wood and designed in the 19th (or possibly 18th) century. They abhor trendy, brightly coloured gadgets made of PLAHSTIC. So who buys them? Weybridges and Teales made good.

Also Upwards are still living in a fantasy world in which they have a large country house with staff (that’s why they love Downton Abbey), and can’t use anything invented after that era (apart from washing machines, dishwashers, fridges which you just have to have and somehow don’t count or are too big to see). They particularly hate new methods of making coffee, crushing garlic etc etc and like using oldfashioned inefficient methods. (Elizabeth David (genuflect) advocated crushing the garlic with the back of a knife.) They loathed percolators and garlic crushers.

Howard Weybridge is still using an electric carving knife.


  1. Middle-class Upwards don’t eat cake with a fork, especially not a small silver fork with a blade for cutting the cake.

    Not sure what you mean - they'll eat it with a spoon, or with their hands? And would the Stow-Crats do the same?

  2. At tea, you were supposed to eat cake in your fingers! And you only got a serviette if you were lucky. Times have changed and you'll now get a serviette to wrap the cake in... but still no fork!

  3. Oh and yes, Stow Crats do the same.

  4. Ah, all right. Spoons would have been unexpected. :-)