Posted by GPP on August 22, 2003
In Reply to: On a plate posted by Henry on August 21, 2003
: : Does anyone know the origin of "served on a silver platter", as in "Everything in life has been served to him on a silver platter."
: Some suggestions.Things that come easily are handed to you on a plate. When they happen as a result of wealth, they may be served on a silver platter.
: Silver is associated with affluence and a life of ease - He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
: Large dishes were served on platters, another sign of wealth. Notably, according to the Gospel of Mark, the daughter of Herodias asked Herod for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.
Not only are the silver, and the platter, important in themselves in this phrase, as you've pointed out, but their use further implies the kind of wealth and lifestyle that includes a butler or other domestic servant. I think this phrasing can be thought of as an intensive of simply saying 'he's always had everything handed to him / done for him' etc, which by itself more conjures up an image of a long-suffering mother or wife going around picking up dirty clothes off the floor. Here, think instead of the butler in a 19th C period movie delivering a visitor's card on a salver.