5.02.2007

Ode to a wooden spoon

While working on a blog post for my other blog, I came across an article that spoke almost poetically about the mixing bowl (Disclaimer: I don't agree with about 80% of the sentiments expressed on that site. It was this one article that caught my attention) It says, in part:
In all the things we perceive as greatness in the world, this is one of the most cherished experiences for people of all ages. In doing this, the woman with the mixing bowl tells something about herself. This is her world, her time, and her freedom. She doesn't have to worry about time- sheets and schedules and bosses, keeping her job, competing with someone else for better batter, or anything that takes place on "the outside," as I call it. She's not worried about losing her position if it doesn't turn out well. It is the doing of it that counts. She can think about that bowl, and if she got it at her wedding, the person that gave it to her. She can spend a few minutes quietly stirring and thinking about the people that made it possible for her to be as she is today, contentedly stirring something in the mixing bowl.
...
That mixing bowl isn't just a utilitarian article in your kitchen, beckoning you to work. It is a ritual, a memory, an experience, an example, a history lesson, and a connection to our forebearers. It is, in my opinion, one of the most glamorous things a woman can do. She is leaving a type of moving picture in the minds of her children and other family members, which will not seem so important right now, but later, when the grown children bring up their memories, she'll be glad she took the time to do it.

It isn't just the act itself that is so comforting and reassuring to a home, but the end results. The enticing aroma and the final partaking of such a treat, holds a special feeling of anticipation for all members of a family and their visitors, no matter what age. The mixing bowl transcends the so-called "generation gap" and, even moreso, the gap we often feel in time. In doing something that the Pilgrims, Pioneers, and Victorians did, these people that once walked the earth and have now "gone home" do not seem so foreign or so strange to us. Like you, there was once a woman in 1890 standing at her sink, glancing up at her family, with the mixing bowl in her arm. When we are re-creating something our foremothers did, their lives don't seem so distant from our own.

For me, it is not the mixing bowl in my kitchen that is the treasured tool, it is my wooden spoon (and, thus, I included it in my header). Perhaps my mixing bowls are too 'ordinary' (they're all very utilitarian, and plastic) for me to speak of them so highly. What is said here can apply to the wooden spoon as well, about the contemplative act of mixing by hand, and the meaningfulness of it.
Unless there seems to be no other way, I do not use an electric mixer. I do not own a food processor or blender. My set of pots are nonstick, so I don't use a metal whisk on them. It is my wooden spoon that is my tool of choice for almost any stirring job. It is light and easy to hold. It is thin, able to cut through thick doughs and batters, but wide enough to mix chunky doughs. It is wooden- it won't melt or get hot when left on the side of a pan. I love the wood- the soft, natural look in my kitchen. With my wooden spoon, I feel as if I could make anything, given the right ingredients and something to put them in- then the spoon can work its magic. Even as a child, I must have thought the wooden spoons in my mother's kitchen were magical- either from reading a book about colonial days, or from Girl Scouts, I remember creating wooden spoon dolls out of a couple spoons just like the one I use now.

I wanted to make something with my wooden spoon last night- specifically, Cowboy Cookies for my husband- but I was out of chocolate chips. The spoon will have to save its magic for another day.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

I liked this post. :-)

(I also liked the disclaimer about the site. I was like, Whoa what kind of site do you disagree 80% of the things? And then I clicked on it.)

Anyways, I hate the feel of wooden spoons on my hand. I loved them when I was growing up, but these, the ones I have now, are rough and have this certain quality about them that remind me of sucking on clarinet reeds and that makes me shudder. I actually use paper towels around the handle the spoon when I need to use it. :-)

But that's just me. I think I would have to go with my mixing bowl. It's red, like the rest of my kitchen, and fits nicely into my arm. I love mixing the things, watching them turn from separate ingredients to one cohesive thing. I love mixing things. :-)

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