Why Have A Cheese Coaster?
I love cheese, hard, soft, smoked etc but today we have plenty of health warnings not to eat too much of it, shame. Back in the 18th and 19th century hard cheese was very important in your diet, recommended to keep your digestive system running smoothly and for healthy teeth, (however in the absence of tooth brushes teeth were lost at an early age). Cheese was eaten daily in large wealthy households and the Cheese Coaster or Cradle would have been a necessity. They were crescent shaped sometimes with a division, made mainly from mahogany. The shape makes them vunerable to cracking as the wood has to be bent , using steam, to make the coaster.They had either four brass castors to the base, sometimes covered with leather, or were flat with the base covered with baize. Many coasters have lost one or all of their castors now and they are extremely difficult to replace. So watch out for the tell tell signs of four holes on the base of coasters where the castors would have been. These coasters would hold half a stilton cheese or similar and some cut bread and would be rolled up and down the centre of the long dining room tables so that everyone could tuck in. In the same way as the decanter and port coasters would also be rolled up and down.Cheese coasters today can still be used for their original purpose but also look brilliant lined with a linen napkin and filled with fruit and nuts, particularly at Christmas http://www.opusantiques.co.uk/georgian-mahogany-cheese-coaster-leather-castors.html