My father told me that when the first Theriots arrived in Louisiana, one of the first crops they grew was indigo, from which they made dye.  (Indigo Blue?)  They boiled the plants in large vats until the desired hue appeared.  They used silver paddles and dippers to stir and pour the dye.

Then, after a while, they turned to growing sugar cane.  They no longer needed the paddles and dippers, so they decided they would melt the silver down and make flatware (spoons and forks only, because pure silver is too soft to use for knives), and divide these among the children as they married.  There must have been a whole bunch of spoons and forks made, because large families were “la mode” in those days.

By the time my father got his forks and spoons, he got only six of each.  Turned out fine, though, because there were only six children in my family.

These instruments were quite large and plain, except for a cherry branch design on the handle.  My mother used them mostly for cooking and serving spoons, and she used a fork for whipping egg whites on a big crock platter when she made meringue or divinity fudge.  Eventually one of the spoons had a hole worn in its bowl, and one of the forks had a missing tine.

As we children married, we each got one fork and one spoon for a “souvenir” or keepsake.  When it got down to me and my younger brother, Jerry, and there were only two of each left, I chose the spoon with the hole in its bowl and the fork with the missing tine. They meant more to me because I remembered Mom whipping those egg whites or stirring a roux.

After I married and had children, my children liked to use the spoon to dig in the dirt or sandbox, and one day it disappeared, never to be seen again.  I still have the fork with only three tines. 


Copyright © 2001 Aline T. Meaux, Abbeville, LA

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