If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll usually catch me tweeting about food or snapping pictures of my latest culinary masterpiece. When I am not adding books to my research library, I am stuffing my kitchen with as many appliances and utensils as possible. In series’ three and four of Downton Abbey (the latter recently concluded in the UK and to hit the US in January!), the progression of time downstairs has been shown through newfangled kitchen appliances. Though cooking in the early 20th century remained as time consuming as in the 19th century, there were a number of inventions–like electric toasters–that sped up the process and made getting food on the table much easier to manage (this was important after the war, when servants were expensive and difficult to come by). According to Mrs. Beeton’s specifications, the very best houses could be expected to spend upwards £100 (more than a cook or chef’s annual salary) to outfit a kitchen to its fullest degree!
Absinthe spoons (or absinthiana) are one of those “lost” habits that take us back to more glamorous eras. No matter if you are a fan of the drink or not, you can see how these spoons are small pieces of art just by themselves.
These spoons were placed on top of the glasses, and they held a cube of sugar. This way people could pour the drink over it and the sugar would slowly melt into the absinthe, taking away most of its bitterness. The drink would lose most of its green transparency and become much more opaque.
Although some of the designs were used to promote a certain shop or place (as the Eiffel Tower, for example), many of them had floral or natural motifs. This happened because the drink was also known as “Green Fairy” (or “Green Muse” to some with more bohemian traits). Some spoons resembled more mere leaves than cutlery itself.
When the Prohibition came about these artifacts were forbidden, for obvious reasons. These antiques can now be worth hundreds of dollars, and are fine examples of more exquisite times. I leave you with a gallery with several examples for your inspiration.