Espresso in a builder’s mug?

22nd October 2015

It’s not like we’re all coveting Downton Abbey style banks of cutlery and crockery.  8 different plates for breakfast and fish knives don’t figure on most people’s to-die-for list. Maybe a fish knife can’t cut steak but it’s not as if an ordinary knife can’t cut flaky old fish.   But when it comes to receptacles and implements, there are occasions when getting it right really matters.

Take size.  An espresso in a builder’s tea mug?  It’s just wrong.  And you really can’t fit a quart into a pint pot, so a full fat tall latte needs a latte glass not a dainty tea cup.  Sometimes, specialness can overcome anything; on the overnight sleeper from Euston to the Highlands, prosecco from a toothmug (obviously all trace of toothpaste or denture fixture scrubbed clean) is so romantic.  Or at the end of a really long night, green tea in a wine glass is just what you need.  And from a mini bar, well, no receptacle needed because it cost so much per millilitre you want it straight from the plastic bottle into your blood stream with no chance of leaving any dregs in an unnecessary 3rd party receptacle.  But for lots of occasions, the right vehicle to convey liquid and food from table to mouth makes the day.  Or evening.

Think about it for a moment.  Champagne in a wine glass or a stubby, short-stemmed thing?  Tastes fine, but not glorious.  Canapes offered round on a standard dinner plate?  OK, practical, easy, but just not what canapes are about – you might as well have gone to Marks and cut some sandwiches into triangles, not created mini figs with proscuttio on sourdough. 

So mostly, everyday things and compromises are just fine.  Nothing wrong with cereal in a bowl (a mug if you’re camping or haven’t washed up this week), a mish mash of knives and forks, and on a Friday night a large glass of sauvignon straight from bottle to teacup.  But when you want the extra mile from food and drink, a beautiful glass and a gorgeously displayed petite amuse bouche really work the number.