Antique Treen Pocket Nutmeg Graters
There's a smell of spices in the air at this time of the year with the baking of Christmas cakes, stollen, mince pies, reaching for the nutmeg inspired me to write about nutmeg graters which were so popular in the 18th and early 19th century. These small treen items were carried about in peoples pockets on a day to day basis when spiced mulled wine was a popular drink. They all unscrew to reveal a small storage area for the nutmeg along with the grater, very ingenious! Treen nutmeg graters were made in a variety of shapes the most popular being barrels,( these can vary in size and a few had mosaic lids and were made in the Tunbridge Wells area), acorns and buckets made from coquilla nutshell, and bottles. The bottles took on the shape of the wine bottle of the period. Rarer shapes can be found occassionally including shoes and even fruit. The fun of collecting treen nutmeg graters is that different shapes or variations on a theme do turn up, I saw recently an acorn nutmeg grater which instead of unscrewing at the top unscrewed in the middle a small variation but very unusual. Bigger treen nutmeg graters were made for the kitchen and are highly collectable, but for me its the small pocket ones, I like the thought of grating the nutmeg into a steaming cup of mulled wine!