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Victorian Antique Silver Asparagus Serving Tongs
Offered by William Walter Antiques Ltd
Asparagus, in earlier centuries going by such names as “sparrow grass” and “sparagrass,” was cultivated by the Romans as early as 200 BCE. Though consumption waned during the Middle Ages, it was revived during the reign of Louis XIV. Thomas Jefferson sowed asparagus seeds at Monticello, and noted in his writings the vegetable’s first appearance each spring. Mary Jefferson Randolph’s directions for cooking the dish were quite detailed, from scraping the stalks and correctly tying the bundles, to timing the cooking so as to bring out their “…true flavour and colour,” noting that “a minute or two more boiling destroys both.”1 The appearance of this harbinger of spring was cause for much celebration, and specialized servers were designed to enhance the experience.
The earliest asparagus servers date from the mid-18th century, and were scissor-like tongs with narrow corrugated arms. As the 18th century gave way to the 19th, asparagus servers widened, taking the form of bow-back tongs with a collar or yoke – a form more commonly seen on the market today. Hinged asparagus tongs fitted with a spring appeared in England, by the mid-19th century,
William Walter Antiques Ltd
London Silver Vaults