Sunday, February 12, 2017

Not Just a Wooden Spoon

     You may have noticed my bouquet of wooden spoons on the kitchen counter in a recent post. We were talking appliances at the time, and my spoons were content to bide awhile till I was in the mood to feature them in their own post. I keep them out on the counter because they remind me of the color of toasted pine nuts...too pleasing to stuff in a kitchen drawer.

     Many of these spoons have a story or memory attached to them. For instance, there is the olive wood implement my husband bought and has asked me not to leave soaking in the dishwater as it will sully its character; the other spoons do not seem offended in the least by this preferential treatment. And there are two, small, bone-handled spoons which have immigrated from Africa and are perfect for tasting the sauce or soup. There is even an interloper hiding among the handles which isn't a spoon at all; it is the beautifully grained cheese spreader I bought from a weekend craft market in a church courtyard in London. I rarely use it because I am afraid it will lose its tree smell. You would understand my reluctance, perhaps, if I told you that I go all goofy in lumber yards and stroll around sniffing planks like a cat with catnip.

     There are others as well, but the one I hold most dear is the porridge spoon. It really isn't a spoon, more of a spatula or stick. It was my father's and the only utensil he would use to stir his morning porridge. When I visited my parents and made breakfast for them, I would search their crowded kitchen crock for it to make their oatmeal. When I knew my parents were dying, I asked if I could have it. It is now our designated porridge stick and woe to the one who gets caught stirring garlic or onions with it.

     I found a fading date scratched into its handle: 1949. I know, without being told, it is my father's writing. I never had the chance to ask him what it meant, but I suspect it is the year he bought it. He died four years ago, but today is his birthday. He would have been 90. It seemed fitting, therefore, to mark the day with a remembrance of something we have shared.


  1. This was a delight in itself just when I thought it was about wooden spoons, but to read about your porridge spoon blessed my heart.

    I am still appalled that years ago I threw out all my wooden spoons, told that they harbor germs. But I missed them and began looking for more because there is nothing like a wooden spoon held in the hand. I still miss mine that was odd shaped and used for porridge. My husband makes the best: he browns Irish steel cut oats in butter until they take on that perfect color before adding hot water and stirring it for ages.

    Beautifully written post!

  2. A fitting remembrance indeed. A lovely memento; I treasure such everyday objects rather more than I would jewellery or precious things, as they are so imbued with memory and character. I have my mother's little paring knife, and rarely fail to think of her when I use it, as I do very frequently. We even have the same way of using it - I see how like hers my hands are when in action.

  3. The spurtle must be cherished ... you're lucky to have it !

    1. It was just an old broken spatula, but now it is a Spurtle. It distinguishes it from the rest of the crowd.