Issue 00

Spoons

Written by Adrian J.S. Hale

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:

Rubando Cucchiaini

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!
4-6 people
Creole Sauce:
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.
Reference:
Recipes from Fried Chicken & Champagne by Lisa Dupar, page 172

Save

Stefanie Sanchez

Two spoons found ‘spooning’ each other foretells a pregnancy. I always liked this old wives’ tale, but that’s a lot of pregnancies with the way I pile my cutlery into the dishwasher.

 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Reply Required
Adrian

I’d never heard that lore, Stef. Thanks for sharing. It must be working for you, since you have such gorgeous, awesome kids! I wonder if the spooning of spoons is cumulative, karmically speaking.

 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Reply Required
Jenny DeWitt

My mother used many spoons; a beautiful red-orange melamine spoon to stir the Tang, a large, shiny, stainless-steel spoon featured a black plastic handle with a white starburst pattern and finger grooves. That one was used for macaroni or potato salad serving. A cream colored Tupperware brand spoon was my father’s choice when making his annual 4th of July cole-slaw. And then there was the wooden spoon. This spoon was something to be avoided.

Actually, it was something I successfully avoided and the one thing my sister could not ever seem to escape. Corporal punishment was part of our discipline routine. One whack with the spoon on our backside was generally enough to both sting and serve as a reminder to change our behavior. Just catching sight of the spoon was enough to keep me in line, but it seemed to taunt my sister; to challenge her. “Can you get away with it?” “Let’s just see, shall we?” She never could.

 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Reply Required
Adrian

I was wondering if anyone would broach the spoon-punishment connection. Thanks for sharing that story, Jenny. You describe all the spoons of your childhood in such a visceral way. It’s funny how we remember the objects from childhood, the detail that spills out like wonder. Do you own any wooden spoons now? Or did that turn you off forever?

 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Reply Required
Maryea Mullins

I love my wooden spoons to cook with, and have had most of them for many years. There have been some missing lately (since the Hess kids moved in). . . Hmmm, I’ll have to check the sandbox, or see if Sarah’s been breaking them on some (diapered) butts!!

 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Reply Required
Maryea Mullins

. . . OH, & speaking of broken spoons, I have an old orange melamine one that’s perfect for working reflexology points.

 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Reply Required
Jenny DeWitt

I do have quite a few wooden spoons, although I prefer stainless. My sister has a couple of them, one is in a drawer and reserved for teachable moments. She thinks that the spoon used to prepare food should not be used to swat buttocks. I suppose that’s her take-away from the experience. Needless to say, my nephew knows the spoon and it has helped (infrequently) to inspire positive behavior change. Is that a diplomatic enough answer? 🙂

 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Reply Required
Gregg

My Dad’s family plays a card game called ‘spoons’. You put one less spoon than there are players in the center of the table and then begin passing around a deck of cards one at a time. The first player to get four of a kind grabs a spoon. This ignites a chaotic and sometimes violent scramble to grab the remaining spoons. The player who doesn’t get a spoon is out. These games were so loud and crazy when I was a kid that I was sometimes scared to go in the room while they were playing.

 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Reply Required
Adrian

I love playing spoons with the Hales! Although I could see how it would be scary for a kid; it gets so rowdy. Thanks for reminding me of this story, G.

 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Reply Required
Susan

I’d forgotten about playing Spoons with my older grandson Erick when he visits us here in the mountains of North Carolina. What wonderful summertime memories!

And I must add that as Linda’s mom (she of the spoon-thief fame), I have walked off with a few here and there to add to her collection. So I guess it’s genetic, although in this case, Mom learned it from Daughter.

 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Reply Required
Tonya

I was thinking the same thing as Gregg!. What a weird concept to think of when the word spoon is mentioned!!

 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Reply Required
Kymberly

Someday i will inherit the oversize silver spoon that pases to the first daughter in our family. There are 5 or 6 initials engaRaved on the Handle. Our family Immigrated from scandinavia and Traveled across the north. Just today my mom leaRned the name ‘rice’ spoon and now we are intrigued. If it such a southern tradition then when in the world did the family come across adding it to their own?

 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Reply Required
Adrian

THis is intriguing. Thank you for sharing it, Kymberly. Where does your family live currently? Your family immigrated from Scandanavia to where? Let’s find the answers to your questions…

 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Reply Required
Pamela

Thank you all for sharing the lovely memories. I grew up sharing Sunday dinners at “Nana’s” home with all the family together. These cherished memories carry me through life. The meals made with love nourished our bodies, and our hearts. Nana’s old and worn wooden spoons will always grace my kitchen.

 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Reply Required
Janice kramer

For rage red rice, what do you do with the bacon once fried and drained?

 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Reply Required
 

Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Comment Required