Charleston Silver Lady
The oval-footed server shown below is about the size of a football. It rests on 4 reeded legs which flare much like of turn of the century furniture legs.
This piece was made to rest on a sideboard near a dining table. It allowed you to keep food cold or hot by filling the base under the removable fitted silver dish with hot water or ice. This was useful as most kitchens were separated from the house. That could effect the temperature of the food.
It also could be taken into a garden setting which was popular in England at the turn of the century. The food inside would remain at the desired temperature and free of pests when the lid was closed.
You will notice a round, bone handle at the top. It allowed the dome to be closed over hot foods without burning your hands. If you have eaten at a large banquet you may have seen the modern day equivalent with a flame underneath and a large capacity. This smaller version was made for use at home.
It was originally used for serving steamed kidneys. Kidneys were a special breakfast treat in England at that time. Not to worry. I won’t be publishing that recipe.
As far as modern use, it is perfect for chilling cooked shrimp on a bed of lettuce. Just don’t let the shrimp touch the silver as the proteins will pit the surface. Adding ice underneath will keep the shrimp cool to the touch for over an hour with the lid closed.
It is perfect for a small roast. Just add hot water underneath and your main course will be ready to serve. I slice and garnish my roast and the presentation is beautiful.
I use one for rolls or small biscuits. When filled with hot water, the steam keeps the bread at the perfect temperature.
I use a greased and floured mini muffin tin to make small biscuits and 18 will fit nicely into this server.
Basic biscuit recipe:
2 cups of self rising flour
1/2 cup of mayo
1/3 cup milk
Mix and fill greased and floured muffin tins level. Bake at 350° about 8 minutes.
Everyone seems to love these soft, light colored biscuits. I have added garden herbs or 1/4 cup of grated hard cheese.
These servers look beautiful on the buffet and keeping your biscuits warm is a bonus.
If you have one of these, use it. They were built for function, not just beauty. The maker was able to achieve both, made new for yet another generation.