Highly Specific Kitchenware: The Tomato Server

Tomato Server

Nothing should ever be touched with one’s fingers. This was one of the principles behind Victorian dining etiquette and it resulted in a plethora of highly specialized utensils and serving pieces, including the Tomato Server, a decorative slotted/pierced spoon designed specifically for serving slices of fresh tomatoes.

Think on that a moment. Someone invented a spoon whose sole purpose is to transfer a tomato slice from a serving dish to your plate. Victorians were kind-of bonkers.

Tomato Server Tomato Server

Tomato servers are wide and flat, designed to efficiently and oh-so-gorgeously lift individual fruit slices in a very refined and delicate manner. Their pierced, decorative holes allow excess juices to drain away. A regular ole’ spoon simply will not do, my dear. Pish posh.

While I have absolutely no patience for formality or hyper-vigilent Victorian conduct, I do love all things tomato. Knowing this as well what I am now referring to as a “random cutlery problem,” my friend Uli gifted me a beautiful piece just in time for the launch of tomato season. This particular silver plated piece by Rogers Bros stamped 1847 (research indicates it was made into the 1930s), is decorated with a tomato motif (called Adoration) that appears on the bowl and the handle. I’ve never seen one like it and now that I have one of these gorgeous utensils in my possession, I am afraid that the tomato server may become yet another thing that I collect, so help me god.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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17 thoughts on “Highly Specific Kitchenware: The Tomato Server

  1. This just reminded me of a formal family dinner when my siblings and I were kids. My grandmother asked my sister to pass the tomatoes. My sister picked up a single slice of tomato with her fingers and placed it in my grandmothers hand. It’s still a family joke.

  2. My mom has a tomato server! I will try to remember to take a picture for you. It’s one of my favourite of her utensils.

  3. I love the utensil, and I love the new look of the site. But most of all, I am truly impressed by your site’s new advertising matrix. For the first time in all my time on the web looking at gardening blogs, I have never had an ad actually be for something relevant to gardening and my IP address source (France). But there’s an ad for the French U-pick chain, Chapeau de Paille, asking me to click to find the nearest field. I just might click.

    • To be clear, the ads on the top right sidebar are sponsored by good companies that Margaret Roach of AWaytoGarden.com and I personally respect and vouch for.

      However, I don’t choose the Google ads. They appear on their own based on location and other algorithms. That said, I work very hard to keep advertising for chemical companies, fast food products, industrial floral industry companies and anything else that I deem harmful from appearing. If any do, I appreciate when readers let me know so I can do something about it as quickly as possible. This is the best I can do as I very much depend on advertising to keep me afloat, but I also very much respect the people who come here to engage with my work and want to ensure that my integrity is intact and that what appears here is in keeping with the values I espouse.

  4. I have two, a matched pair! And I don’t think I have ever used either one, but now I may be compelled to put them in the rotation. They came from my grandmother; she had them in her formal silver pattern (she also bequeathed the lemon fork, the asparagus tongs, etc.).

    Do we really need these instruments? Clearly not. (Although my kids are at the same stage that Liz P’s sister probably was, and passing individual slices in their are-you-sure-you-washed-those hands seems like behavior that if I haven’t seen already, I will soon.)

    At any rate, since these instruments are here, it seems silly not to enjoy them. Life’s too short not to have fun with one’s toys. Thanks for prompting me.

  5. OMG!! So that’s what it is! I came across one when packing up my mother’s silver. It is in sore need of polishing or I’d send a picture.

  6. I picked up a tomato server last summer at an antique shop, I’d been looking for one and think it’s elegant to put on a plate of sliced tomatoes.

  7. Omg! I’ve been lusting after one since I saw yours posted. I usually am not frivolous, but I just bought one on EBay. Love!!!!

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