Viners iconic heritage design cutlery set, The Studio 24 Piece Premium Cutlery Set, reminds us of their 110 years of fine design
How do you review cutlery? The knife cuts well? The fork prongs the food securely? The spoon conveys soup to mouth satisfactorily? We use cutlery every day, or at least those of us over 30 do, and in general we don’t remark on it unless it stands out for some reason, usually the wrong reasons.
I’ve been in restaurants where the cutlery was elegant to the eye, but was so poorly balanced it would somersault off the table if put down on the plate.
I’ve had soup spoons which contrived to make me look like I’d had a stroke, the soup spilling off when I tried to put the soup into my mouth, and I’ve had knives which would not cut butter, let alone my steak.
And of course, there is the dilemma, not so common these days, of how to use cutlery without looking common.
It was one of the Mitford sisters who I think used the acronym HKLP to deride people of lesser breeding – Holds Knife Like Pen. Actually, darling, I dislike seeing that too, but there is no real reason for it, just snobbery.
Cutlery evolved from cavemen holding their mastodon leg like a club, to holding it with the pinky finger stretched out, to the massive excesses of formal dinners where the cutlery is lined up on each side of the plate like a row of soldiers. The basic rule of’use from the outside in’ is the one to cling to if you find yourself at one of those dinners. And do not, whatever you do, HKLP.
In homes, most people get by with four piece sets – knife, fork spoon and teaspoon. And most restaurants do to. Few people buy canteens of cutlery anymore, although they can still be given as wedding presents. The recipients usually admire them extravagantly and then go back to the cutlery they bought from IKEA when they first moved in together.
Which eventually leads me to this Viners cutlery set we have set out before us on the table. It is a name which I had largely forgotten, they began in 1908, but as soon as I saw the box I went back to my childhood. My parents had Viners cutlery. And seeing the design of this set, The Studio 24 Piece Premium Cutlery Set, was the clincher.
When I was growing up, this was the same knife shape we had. My mother was very proud of it, that distinctive and unusual knife blade spoke of modernity and was a long way from the bone handled stuff she used before and which no doubt came from her parents. It went a bit out of fashion for sure, but VIners have proudly brought it back and it is gorgeous once again.
Originally created by leading post-war designer Gerald Benney, it has his signature’bark finish’ on the handles which make them easy to retain a good grip on.
The spoons have an elegant semi-round shape and bowed handle, that’s also practical as well as aesthetically pleasing. The balance is good in the hand and the cutlery is comfortable to use.
They also have a 50-year guarantee, so if fashions don’t change again, your kids will be using them too.
If you feel your dinner table deserves something stylish and different, then check out The Studio 24 Piece Premium Cutlery Set.