With his endorsement, I set out to polish an heirloom pie server thing. Here it is in a pot lined with aluminum foil:
I boiled water, mixed in the baking soda, poured it on, and behold! A reaction!
Unsuprisingly, it smelled like sulfur (I assume that's the aluminum sulfide). Here's a video where you can see the bubbling and hear me commenting on the smell (in case you don't trust written-word Eli), and feel free to click-through to full-size:
In any case, it did a pretty good job and I'd do it again next time. Hooray for chemistry!