Thursday, August 10, 2017


Thrift shop fans may remember the huge roughly carved wooden spoons and forks that showed up in Seventies bins. Apparently the things were used as decorative accents. I was pleasantly surprised to discover in a history of domestic life that Victorian housekeepers tied a ribbon around the handle of a beloved but unusable wooden stirring spoon and retired it to the wall of the kitchen.

In her history of American needlework, Rose Wilder Lane describes the value of nearly any early domestic amenity and recalls that her grandmother used a sewing needle until the eye wore through, then added a wax flower and used it as a lapel pin. Recently my son told me the birch spoon I wheedled out of the family kitchen when I set up house on my own-and later lost to him-is nearing the end of its useful life. He thinks it's worth the full framing treatment, with editorial additions. I call that progress, sort of, though I lean toward a really fine ribbon -30-

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