19 Jun2007


Okay, back to “single use implements” in sterling silver from my sister’s collection. Here we have a wonderful ear wax remover for your friendly neighborhood giant… heeheehee, I am joking! Actually, it is a bone marrow “spoon” which has two ends – a wider scoop to get that gelatinous piece of bone marrow in your osso buco or other such dish. marrow2Then the other end of the implement has a narrower scoop to really reach deep into the bone and get at all of the remaining good stuff… Isn’t it just amazing? For an item designed and manufactured in the 1800’s, it has a decidedly modern aesthetic. The lines are clean, solid, and almost sparse. If I were asked to guess, I would have incorrectly said it was a more Scandinavian design along the lines of the very modern Jorg Jensen designs of the 1960’s and 70’s. There is no borloloy or unnecessary design. Yet the weight of this implement is impressively heavy…there is no messing around with that marrow extraction! There was a time in the late 1800’s and 1900’s where the dinner table must have been the battleground for “one-upping the Jones’s.” People were throwing money at china, silverware, marrow3crystal, linens, etc. in an effort to make their dining tables more spectacular than the next. People came up with all sorts of single use implements in silver so that during a dinner service they could seriously impress their guests, who would then run out and order for themselves two or three dozen marrow spoons. But that competitive table dressing died down when silver prices soared, staff were failing metal detector tests on their days off, no one wanted to clean silver anymore and McDonalds was established… Many of these items are now highly sought after because of their uniqueness, beauty and rarity. Bulalo spoons. Very cool.

Interested in other single-use implements in sterling silver?
Grape Scissor
Bon-Bon Spoon
Candle Snuffer



  1. lee says:

    This is another cool tool. Though I prefer to huff, puff, and blow the wiggly marrow out from a sawed piece of “kansi” bone to a welcoming bed of steaming rice, I would love to wield this single use weapon in a local “kansihan” or bulalo joint for maximum effect.

    Jun 19, 2007 | 11:59 am


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  3. Maria Clara says:

    The French usually has this single use implements – and this is one of them. Bone marrow used to be a high prized delicacy after tedious prepped work including wrapping it around wilted leeks tied around in butcher’s twine to keep it intact and serve with sliced crouton and digging through the cavity with the spoon and spreading it with a knife like butter. But with our ever evolving healthier dietary intake bone marrow now ends up in stock and for dog lovers dog food and toys. So the use of this single use implements is eliminated I suppose.

    Jun 19, 2007 | 12:26 pm

  4. flip4ever says:

    Very cool! Among the “single use implements”, at least this is one every Pinoy (or at least every bulalo lover)can relate to. If its wide enough to dig the seeds and pith from a halved ampalaya, then we can now call it a “multi-tasker”.
    I had to smile on your use of “borloloy”…somehow every English equivalent I can think of doesn’t quite have the same visual impact. :)

    Jun 19, 2007 | 12:59 pm

  5. tulip says:

    Natawa naman talaga ko! Anyway, I remember my granny keeps some of this spoon but only my dad was willing to use it during family mealtime. Others just “taktak” the bone marrow, they say it takes away much of their gusto over the dish. It is much fun when you see them make funny things just to get the yellowish gelatin out from the bones. But of course this is one great tool, ideally for get-together dinners with friends.
    Since lately you’ve been featuring single use implements, I guess it is about time we dig from my granny’s cabinets.

    Jun 19, 2007 | 1:44 pm

  6. Kieran says:

    When my grandmother passed, my older brother chose her set of marrow spoons (I chose her candle doubter/snuffer). He still uses it, especially when serving roasted bone marrow and toast.

    It is the perfect utensil to scoop out the prized marrow and scrape the bone for the remaining bits.

    Jun 19, 2007 | 1:55 pm

  7. Socky says:

    This definitely belongs in my list of Objects of Desire! Curious about the engraving on the handle. Does it say who the manufacturer is?

    Jun 19, 2007 | 3:02 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    Socky, they are the hallmarks of the silversmith. It’s a sign that they are real and of a particular silversmith or house. I didn’t ask my sister if they identified person who made them. But these ones are more than 100 years old I think… actually, I think they can be esily reproduced today but would be costly if done in the same weight of silver… Kieran and tulip, I am amazed you have ancestors who had them! How fantastic is that?! flip4ever, yes, borloloy is very pinoy… so is kruk-kruk or kursi… Maria Clara, there are still restaurants here in Manila that served baked bone marrow as an appetizer, several bones and toast…yikes! Lee, you should have a special case made so you can take it out with a flourish at your favorite bulalohan…

    Jun 19, 2007 | 3:18 pm

  9. Pecorino says:

    Hi MM, if I want to get me a decent set of silver flatware for entertaining at home, where do I go? The department stores don’t carry them. I fell in love with the silverware (albeit silver-plated) in the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok and pestered their gift shop manager to procure a set for me. She finaly agreed (they import them directly from France) but the price plus import taxes she quoted was out of this world…!

    Jun 19, 2007 | 4:30 pm

  10. bernadette says:

    Amazing craftmanship! As you were writing about ear cleaning implements. I really saw them selling these in Quiapo—also one of a kind—dangling on little clips. Sorry for commenting on that instead :-)!

    Jun 19, 2007 | 6:55 pm

  11. elaine says:

    Wow, I’m so jealous!!!! I’m not much of an antique person but I would definitely pay for an arm and limb for this spoon! we have bulalo all the time and I would love to use this just so I can enjoy my bulalo and forget the cholesterol!

    Jun 19, 2007 | 7:45 pm

  12. Apicio says:

    As usual, the French have a thick-tongued word for the rich mellowness of bone marrow, moelleux. They often use it to describe a perfectly turned macaron. Hard to approach these treats now with total abandon what with our mind all burdened and cowed by health concerns.

    I read “bulalo” as buffalo and I thought designed expressly for buffalo bones? Single species implement too.

    Jun 19, 2007 | 8:34 pm

  13. joey says:

    I am in love! That is the coolest thing ever! I love marrow and would definitely put something like that to good use :)

    Jun 19, 2007 | 9:20 pm

  14. Sister says:

    The marrow spoon is English, circa 1800. The marks are that of the silver smith or shop that made it and then it was taken to an Assay office for the sterling marks, city, year, etc. English silver was very closely controlled and vetted since the 1400’s and very easy to identify as to origin.
    Pecorino, if you want to purchase a set of silver go to an auction house- online there is Doyle and Christie’s in NYC and you can bid from anywhere. I have seen current patterns go for 1/4 the retail price. Silver is now at approximately $10. an ounce and most auction houses will state the weight of the set. Price will be close to the intrinsic current value of the silver weight. Do not purchase silver plate unless it is Cristofle or antique Sheffield as it has very little resale value. Hotel silver is very inexpensive and often available at flea markets or second hand shops. Buying silver at a dep’t. store is the most expensive way of acquiring a set unless you have an employee discount.Silver is no longer an investment but rather a wonderful enhancement to your dining experience.

    Jun 19, 2007 | 10:02 pm

  15. Knittymommy says:

    Now I really liked that single use implement. I wonder if you can still find that today? I loved the thought of actually being able to get into the bone. Although here in the States, you rarely find a long enough bone for bulalo at the supermarkets. I guess you could if you asked the butcher to specially cut the length of bone for you.

    Jun 19, 2007 | 10:06 pm

  16. Sister says:

    Any decent butcher in the USA will take an order for a whole beef shin bone cut to your specifications. Don’t look for it on a supermarket shelf.
    Antique silver shops will have a marrow spoon or two, they are approximately $300. each.

    Jun 20, 2007 | 5:30 am

  17. Sister says:

    More trivia:
    Just got back from Baltimore where we went for the annual soft shell crab feast. Did you know that the saying “keeping up with the Joneses” refers to a very ritzy area of Baltimore called Jonestown where thousands of fancy mansions burned down?

    Jun 20, 2007 | 5:40 am

  18. Maria Clara says:

    Sister, thank you for this invaluable info regarding silver – you are a walking Wikipedia. You know everything under the sun! You are a profile of inspiration.

    Jun 20, 2007 | 6:22 am

  19. kaoko says:

    I love this! Imagine, eating Bulalo in itself feels so luxurious, what with the rich, velvety marrow. Imagine eating it without the difficult process of “taktak.” Mmmm…

    Jun 20, 2007 | 10:51 am

  20. maria says:

    this is the first time i’ve ever seen a bone marrow spoon. galeng! i’ve had that weird luck in getting the utak… i’ve broken three plates just trying to get all that yum-yum out. thanks for this info. i hope that in your future book you’ll also have a section on dining history and other curiosities. it’s a nice touch eh? i’m really looking forward to your book. : ) blessed be

    Jun 20, 2007 | 12:44 pm

  21. Pecorino says:

    Thanks Sister for the great tip on sourcing! Will try my luck!

    Jun 20, 2007 | 6:24 pm

  22. peanutbeanma says:

    what a cool spoon!! i usually put out the following when we have bulalo –
    1) extra long spoons (halo-halo spoons) – with the spoon part as handle and the thinner part (the actual handle) as the “bulalo scraper”
    2) chopsticks (not the the wooden kind) to help out…
    how i wish i had some of these spoons!

    Jun 22, 2007 | 8:41 am

  23. c w willis says:

    the british made everything one can imagine out of sterling. i have two scoops i purchased in a shop in the london silver vaults,that were over $ 200 in 1985. try to find them now at any price, especially double scoops.

    c w willis
    palm beach, florida

    Oct 11, 2007 | 8:53 am

  24. Moa says:

    Where can one purchase these Bone Marrow Spoons. I would
    like to buy some..I live in Honolulu, Hawaii

    Mahalo and Aloha, Moa

    Jun 30, 2009 | 8:36 am


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