Why I want you to have this spoon:
A spoon, an artifact of the everyday, has so many humble uses in our lives. Stirring risotto, eating cereal, taking medicine, mixing cream into coffee. The spoon is a quiet passenger in the journey of our days. Everyone must have a story that includes a spoon. I invite you to take a moment, and tell me your story here. Let’s put our heads together and document the uses of the humble spoon.
But let’s do more than that. Let’s ask this spoon to be a jumping off point for a different kind of conversation. One that is filled with stories and pictures and recipes and songs and poems. It seems like a lot to ask of a spoon, and I have no idea if this will go anywhere but out into the blogging ether, but there is beauty and art in the everyday and that’s what I’d like to capture. So I want you to have this spoon. Do with it what you will.
This Response is from Linda Ciampoli:
It didn’t happen as a plan, I seriously didn’t mean for it to be this habit.
When I used to stay in Italy for long stretches of time, I started to steal its little coffee spoons.
I wanted this country to stay with me, to take its light, its slowness, its calm in tiny bits and tuck them under my shirt so I would still feel what I felt there when I got back home. Yes, it is true. I was an Italian spoon thief.
Now I’m fully recovered and do not even feel the desire to steal a spoon when visiting.
But sometimes when I’m feeding my 7 month old son mashed melone, patate americane, or fagiolini using these former cappucino cucchiaini, I am again riding on the back of his Papa’s red motorino throughout the streets in Rome.
This response is from Lisa Dupar who wrote Fried Chicken & Champagne:
My Grandmother had a huge china cupboard in the dining room that had a big drawer of silver. I would always be amazed by all the different silver pieces that all served various purposes. The biggest eye-catching piece was a huge silver spoon. When my grandmother died, my mom inherited the silver spoon. She recently gifted me the Charleston “Rice” spoon this past Christmas. Intrigued, I knew there had to be a story behind a “Rice Spoon.”
This oversized, but graceful spoon evolved in England as a Stuffing Spoon; used in serving spicy breadstuffs with which the traditional English goose, turkey and chicken was filled.
Rice became the staple crop of South Carolina in the early 18th century and was the principle course for most Charlestonians at lunch and suppertime. It was soon discovered that the English Stuffing Spoon was the very suitable in size and shape for serving Carolina long-grain rice. And thus the Charleston “Rice Spoon” came into being. It was soon in demand from Charleston Silversmiths and remains today as a “must” in Charleston homes where rice still is the main dinner staple.
I landed a very special heirloom piece from my grandmother who prided herself in proper Southern hospitality and having the proper spoon for her Carolina Red Rice.
Carolina Red Rice: 4-6 portions
2 cups *Carolina Gold rice (long grain rice similar to a risotto)
4 medium tomatoes, in season or 1 can diced romas in winter
6 slices chopped bacon
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth (this may be a bit extra)
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
· Wash the rice in cold water three times, or until the water runs clear.
· Halve the tomatoes and squeeze the juice into a medium bowl. You’ll want about 2 cups liquid for cooking the rice, so measure out the tomato juice and top it off with enough chicken broth to equal 2 cups total.
Chop the “juiced” tomatoes and set aside.
Fry the bacon in a heavy-bottomed stockpot over moderate heat until its crisp, about 10 minutes or so. Remove the bacon from the pot, and set it aside on a towel to drain.
Reduce the heat slightly and add the chopped onion to the pot. Sauté the onion, stirring occasionally, until it’s slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the broth and tomato juice to a boil in a medium-sized pan and reduce to a low simmer. If you’re working with unsalted broth, add 1 teaspoon salt.
When the onions are slightly caramelized, raise the heat a bit and add the rice and stir well. Sauté for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, until the rice is very hot and shiny.
Stir the chopped tomatoes into the rice and cook another minute or so, stirring constantly.
Stir the simmering broth into the rice, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand covered for 10- 15 minutes. (The rice will continue cooking in the steam, so no peaking!) Add a bit of salt and a generous dose of freshly ground black pepper, fluff with a fork and serve!
Southern Accent’s Low Country Shrimp Creole Over Carolina Red Rice
Growing up in the south, I have distinct memories of my grandmother’s maid, Marky in the kitchen, watching her “soaps” and peeling shrimp for hours so my grandmother, Jimmie Todd, could make shrimp and red rice. In the 70’s this turned into a Creole sauce with more zip!
1 Cup Onion, chopped
2 T. Garlic, chopped
1 Cup Celery, diced
1 Cup Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Cup Green Bell Pepper, diced
3-4 Slices Bacon – cut in thin slices
1 Cup Tomatoes, diced (fresh in summer or canned romas in winter)
½ Cup Tomato Paste
1/3 teas. Cinnamon
1/4 teas. Nutmeg
1 Bay Leaf
2 tsp. Thyme, fresh
Cracked Black Pepper, Salt, and Cayenne
6 Oz. Fish Stock
· Sauté Bacon. Add all vegetables. Simmer with tomato paste and seasonings for about 5 – 7 minutes. Add fish stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.
· For Shrimp Creole, plan about 6 peeled shrimp per person.
· Have your sauce and rice pilaf ready.
· Just before serving, sauté your shrimp in a little brown butter JUST until done. Toss into sauce and serve over rice pilaf!
· Garnish with a little chopped parsley.
*HISTORY OF THE GOLDEN GRAIN: In 1685, a distressed merchant ship paid for repairs in Charleston with a small quantity of rice seed from Madagascar. Dr. Henry Woodward planted the seed in South Carolina, beginning the state’s 200 year history as the leading rice producer in the United States. At the turn of the century, rice cultivation ended in the Low Country South because of a weak market, inadequate machinery, and competition from the Gulf States.
Recipes from Fried Chicken & Champagne by Lisa Dupar, page 172