Downton Abbey Spoon Test | Take It With A Grain Of Salt

Pin It

Like millions of other fans, I’ve immensely enjoyed watching Downton Abbey. One of the best things about Downton Abbey is the meticulous attention to the detail of the era.  In the capable hands of the superb cast, the costumes and props bring the engaging story to life. But I’ve got to confess that this scene (episode 3, season 3), in which Carson the butler tests a footman’s knowledge of spoons, has done a number on my head. I’ve actually had several emails from readers asking me about it, and to be honest I’ve struggled (for a ridiculous number of weeks) with how to articulate my reaction to it. In case you have’t seen it, check out this 30 second video clip so we are all on the same page.

Downton Abbey Spoon Test

After watching it, I’ve had to do a few calming breathing exercises, because it inspires so many feelings.  Although the official word count on my screen reads 145 to this point, in reality I’ve written several thousand, as I’ve passionately written and then deleted several long-winded Downton Abbey inspired socio-economic/historical commentaries. Much to the amusement of Mr. Magpies, I’ve managed to restrain myself and step away from the soapbox.

Downton Abbey - Carson the butler

Carson is not going to quiz you!

Suffice to say, while the scene perfectly captured the gravity of the situation for the purposes of the show, we should not let those same constraints dictate our use and enjoyment of silver.  Carson is not going to quiz you, or chastise you, nor is he around to oversee a horde of footmen who will polish your silver.

The moral of the story is that while it makes for great TV drama…it really doesn’t matter if you serve your bouillon with a teaspoon, egg, melon, grapefruit, jam or bouillon spoon.  While the shape of one spoon or another might make it better suited to use in a certain situation, don’t feel trapped by the names…it’s a name, not a life sentence.


One reader wanted to know if I could have passed the test?  I’d like to think so!


Pin It

10 thoughts on “Downton Abbey Spoon Test | Take It With A Grain Of Salt

  1. SabrinaNo Gravatar

    Oooh, Downtown Abbey. Nice! I actually was raised knowing which spoon was for what….brings back memories. OMG, the grapefruit spoon. But, I’m still thinking about those doughnuts on the silver platter. Wonderful post.

  2. UniqueNiqueNo Gravatar

    lol I am sure you would have passed the test 😀 but like me you prefer to think outside the box beautiful cutlery needs to be used and enjoyed

  3. ElizabethNo Gravatar

    My 6 year old can name all the shapes of the spoons we have. Her favorite are the demitasse, bc she gets to use them for everything, from hot coco (to get the little marshmallows out of course) to chopped nuts as a topping for a soup to a serving implement for a little pot of soy sauce. She thinks it is particularly funny we use the same spoon for candy as grated cheese with pasta; technically it is a bon bon spoon with a pierced bowl.

    What got me in the clip is the spoon he said was a bullion spoon looked oval to me, and most are round.

    1. Silver MagpiesNo Gravatar

      Hi Elizabeth – It was a bit of a difficult angle to see exactly what was what! But yes, bouillon spoons are definitely round in shape. Should we demand a clear mug shot? 🙂

      – Nan

Comments are closed.