Tag Archives: terminology

Fancy Shoulders on a Silver Pie Server and Lobster Frittata

Did you know that your silverware can have fancy shoulders? The response I often get to this question is one of outright skepticism, and occasionally concern, crossing people’s faces.

fancy shoulders on a silver pie server

See the pie crust-like edging to the shoulders of this pie server? That’s an example of fancy shoulders.

Fancy shoulders

I’ve not gone over the edge…it’s just a way of describing the area to either side of the point where the handle meets the bowl, blade, or tines of the piece.  Most silverware has plain shoulders.  However, a fair few pieces, especially serving pieces, have fancy shoulders.  This term denotes an extra special ruffle, frill, or decoration on the silver.

The pie server shown in the photo above has fancy shoulders.  In this case, it is crimping, similar to the type one would find on a pie crust. Which, of course, is a fitting visual pun, seeing as this is a pie server.

This particular beauty is a sterling silver pie or cake server by Mauser.  Mauser were based in New York City and were active from 1887 until 1903. Click on the underlined link above to see more photos and information about this gorgeous piece in my shop.

Pie servers work on frittata too

This lovely vintage silver lady and her fancy shoulders are displayed in all their glory against the background of a lobster frittata.  I pulled the frittata out of the oven and suddenly thought it would be a good dish for showing off a pie server.  So off I dashed to my office, praying all the while that the dogs wouldn’t eat our dinner.  Fancy shoulders pie server in-hand, I posed it and took a couple of images, before Mr. and Master Magpies arrived at the table.  Pie servers are excellent for serving frittatas and gratins, as well as the obvious pies and cakes.

Photos taken, the pie server back in the office, and our pie server in action we dug into this delicious lobster frittata.  Frittatas of varying types are frequently enjoyed in our home.  They have the dual virtues of being simple and quick.  Just what I need when I look up from my desk and realise, ‘Yikes it’s dinner time!’

fancy shoulders on a silver pie server - lobster frittata

Lobster frittata…way simpler than it sounds!

Lobster frittata* (click heading for printer-friendly version)

  • 6 small potatoes (fingerling or new potato size)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2-3 oz. grated parmesan
  • 4 oz. cooked lobster meat
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350℉.

Wash and slice the potatoes into thin slices. You want to have enough slices to cover the bottom of your pan in a single layer.

Pour the 2 tsp. olive oil in the bottom of an oven-proof frying pan.  I use an oval-shaped copper pan that works out to about the same area as a 9-inch round pan.  Heat over a medium flame.

Add the potatoes and cook for 5-6 minutes (depending on the thickness of your slices).  Your goal is for the potatoes to be golden, crispy, and almost cooked all the way through.

While the potatoes are cooking, crack the eggs into a bowl.  Add the milk and some salt and black pepper.  Whisk thoroughly, until fluffy and well-blended.  Once the potatoes are at the almost cooked stage, add in the additional 1 tsp. of olive oil, and swirl around the pan.  If necessary, re-arrange the potatoes into a single layer.

With the frying pan still over medium heat, pour in the egg mixture.  Then top with the lobster and parmesan.

Slide the pan into the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes more.  The frittata will be puffed and golden and just pulling away from the sides of the pan when done.  Test for doneness with a toothpick.  As with a cake, you want a toothpick inserted into the center of the frittata to come out clean.

Serves 4 as a main course.  I’d suggest some salad and bread to round out the meal.

* Technically a frittata is flipped from one frying pan to another during the cooking process and then turned out onto a plate to serve.  I improvise my version and use the oven (much less likelihood for disaster) and serve it direct from the pan.

The beauty of this dish is its versatility.  No lobster?  No worries — use a bit of ham, or some vegetables.  Serving more people than 4 people? Use 6 eggs, a bit more milk, and cook for slightly longer.  Got some parsley in the fridge?  Chop it up and sprinkle on the top before sliding it in the oven.  No parmesan?  Use your cheddar/mozzarella/goat cheese instead.  We rarely have the same version twice…although the lobster is so good, it has been repeated using parley and goat cheese.


In my experience, fancy shoulders are most often found on Victorian era patterns.  Got a friend who delights in all things Victorian?  Please pass this post along.  Thanks.