Cutlery is the jewelry of eating.

Just as there are certain necklaces, bracelets and earrings I sport with various outfits, there are spoons, forks and knives I delight in when I eat. And, dear Budget Vogue fashionistas, they all come from thrift shops. Of course. Where else would I find vintage eating utensils that thrill and enhance my eating experience, my joie de vivre of cuisine?

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Years ago, Full Circle Thrift Shop in Eliot, Maine, had a set of long, silver, gloriously made spoons. I bought all six for $3, and I blame them for the extra weight I’ve put on since.

They make eating ice cream that much more breathtaking. Their handles are svelte and though I am not, they create an experience of eating — even straight from a container of Ben & Jerry’s — a wondrous experience. And, well, not that eating from Ben & Jerry’s isn’t ALWAYS a wondrous experience, it’s simply made even better with a beatific spoon.

I have knives from Salvation Army that, when sharpened, only enhance my cheese and cracker experience. They create a cut so fine, my cheddar remains a pristine block and the slices practically applaud.

I love a good knife, and they can be almost literally a dime a dozen at area thrift shops. A good sharpening is all it takes to upscale a utensil used so often.

In order to cut down on plastic used at my workplace, I brought in some real forks and spoons. I chose wisely — so wisely in fact, that a colleague and I were admiring a fork that was so beautifully made, it allowed us to appreciate our salads that much more.

These particular forks have taupe handles, are gloriously crafted and have a bit of a ’50s feel. I have no idea of the brand, but all I know is they are being used, washed and used again, and provide a sense of joy while eating a salad between classes. Glorious.

Bins at thrift shops are generally full of utensils. I like it when they are all thrown together — it makes the hunt that much more fun. I think of the dinners these forks may have enjoyed, the coffee these spoons stirred, the steak these knives may have cut. I meet all of these utensils and invite them in — I keep some in my car, many in my drawers and quite a few at any event where I simply abhor seeing plastic used (again).

Like friends, I keep them around. They make me feel good and like a good meal shared, beautiful cutlery only makes it that much better.

So, dear Budget Voguers, get your fork on. Bring new knives home. Enhance that bowl of cereal with a glorious new spoon. And that utensil you toss back into the drawer every time you take it out? Donate it — and invest in a new spoon or knife or fork that brings you joy.

Ben and Jerry will thank you.

Susan Dromey Heeter writes and teaches on the Seacoast. Contact her at