This story is included here as it may amuse some fellow numismatists.
Like the good numismatist I am I love shiny things, especially silver shiny things. I don’t collect coins BUT I do let myself buy silver plate serving dishes for my holiday table. My favorite are ones that look Victorian (like my house), but hide early oven safe super strong Pyrex; they usually cost about 20 bucks at the antiques malls and are highly functional. I blame my grandmother for giving me some delightfully silly silver plate water goblets she got for her wedding in the fifties when she was divorcing my grandfather in my early teen years. I now serve my kiddos and their friends ‘decoys’ in these goblets. [Decoy is our family name for any drink with a garnish and ice cubes you serve to kids when adults are having adult beverages.]
Anyway, I wanted all my silver plate be extra shiny for the big feast day and I’m avoidant of the time and work of traditional polishing in volume. So, of course I start my biggest stock pot boiling with a mixture of baking soda and strips of aluminum foil and plan on dunking each piece. However, this year I have acquired an extra big dish and I’m rushing through the utensils and I start dripping water on the stove.
It’s a gas range so no big deal, I think. WRONG. It has a hard wired burner igniters. Baking soda is a salt and thus conductive of electricity. It closes the circuit. All the circuits on all the burners! Which now won’t stop sparking! We can’t cut the power because our oven is on the same circuit breaker and that would mean no turkey (a 28 pound bird this year!). The stove is now unusable and we are expecting 24 loved ones to arrive for dinner shortly.
My beloved calls in a kindly neighbor and with only minimal electrocution of their fingers they together manage to disassemble the built in countertop stove, cut the power there, reassemble, and then move to manual lighting of the burners.
Next year I plan to polish the silver plate at least a day ahead and be a little more careful. Maybe I’ll even try just doing in the bath tub and pour in kettlefuls of boiling water. I’ll let you know.