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Cosmetic Spoon Handle with the Image of Bes - History
Spoons are one of the oldest eating utensils on the planet. This isn’t particularly surprising if one considers that nearly as long as humans have needed food, they’ve required something to scoop it up with. Unlike knives and forks, that for the most part needed to be fashioned, natural spoons could be utilized by employing such things as seashells or conveniently shaped stones. Sure, the earliest known instances of these didn’t have handles yet, but from these humble beginnings, the spoon was born.
There is no definitive time period that can be attributed with the invention of the spoon. And by ‘invention’ I of course mean ‘adding a handle made from some dead animals bone.’ However, archaeological evidence suggests that spoons with handles were used for ancient Egyptian religious purposes as early as 1000 BC. Made from materials such as ivory, wood, flint and slate, these spoons were covered in ornate decorations and hieroglyphics.
When it came to actually consuming food, the most common material at the time for spoons was wood due to its availability and low cost. However, during the Greek and Roman empires, spoons made of bronze and silver were commonplace among the wealthy. This remained true up to and through the Middle Ages.
In fact, the first documented evidence of spoons in England was in 1259 – it was counted as an itinerary item from King Edward I’s wardrobe. Similar to the Egyptians, spoons at this time were not merely used for eating, but also in ornate ceremonies and to demonstrate wealth and power. For example, the coronation of every British king was preceeded by a ritual where the new monarch would be anointed by a ceremonial spoon.
Spoons were granted even further importance during the Tudor and Stuart periods when it became customary to give an Apostle Spoon as a christening gift. The particularly wealthy gave a set of twelve of these spoons, and eventually a thirteenth was added. This was called the “Master Spoon”, as it bore the figure of Christ.
This practice gave birth to the tradition of christening spoons and was prevalent throughout all societal classes at the time. The only difference was the material from which these spoons were made – typically silver or gold for the upper classes and copper or brass for the lower.
The design of the spoon changed throughout the Renaissance and Baroque periods before finally receiving its current mostly standard look around the 18 th century. Since then, spoons have continued to be a staple of modern tables and come in a wide array of variations – everything from soup to caviar spoons.
The most recent addition to the common cutlery club is the fork. Although they have technically existed since ancient times, these preliminary specimens consisted of a mere two prongs and were used primarily for cooking and serving food. Fingers, spoons and knives were still the most popular choices when it came to actual eating.
Some of the earliest known table forks made their debut in Ancient Egypt. The Qijia culture (2400-1900 BC) that resided in part of present day China also are known to have used forks. A couple thousand years later, the fork’s popularity in the Western world spread via the Silk Road into Venice.
One of the earliest recorded evidence of forks in Venice is from an 11 th century story of the wedding of a Byzantine princess, Theodora Anna Doukaina, to Domenico Selvo. She supposedly brought gold forks as part of her dowry.
Apparently it was quite the scandal. The God fearing Venetians saw these pronged monstrosities as a slight against The Lord himself who gave us perfectly good fingers to eat with. I can’t make this stuff up:
God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks – his fingers. Therefore it is an insult to Him to substitute artificial metallic forks for them when eating. -St. Peter Damian
Of course, in the Book of I Samuel (2:13)- thought to have been composed around 640-540 BC- it states that Jewish priests’ assistants used forks:
And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand…
Such trivial mentions as usage in the Holy scriptures by none other than the priests’ servants themselves didn’t stop many religious elite from vilifying the fork and poor Theodora. (They also didn’t like that she used napkins, among other things.)
When the princess died two years later of a mysterious degenerative disease, it was considered by some to be punishment for her pride and perceived excesses. What the fork?
Despite being mentioned as OK to use in the Hebrew Bible, forks in the Western world continued to carry this negative stigma due to their association with Eastern decadence and being perceived as an affront to God. They were subsequently strictly reserved for sticky food.
The fork’s popularity began to grow during the 16 th century due to the infamous historical trend setter Catherine de Medici. She helped popularize the fork (as well as pasta, olive oil, chianti and the separation of sweet and savoury) with the French tables after her marriage to Henry II. At this time, anything Italian was in vogue thanks to the Renaissance.
The fork also became more popular as hygiene ideals began to change. Up until this point, purposely clogging one’s pores with dirt to prevent the plague infiltrating through them was considered a good idea. (Similar thought processes were largely why bathing was uncommon during Medieval times– you don’t want disease filled water getting in your pores!) Many people also preferred to blow their noses directly into their hands instead of onto the tablecloth, as that would be bad manners. Now, imagine these same people eating with their hands.
Naturally, the fork began to seem increasingly attractive to those who preferred their food to be free of filth. However, many men still rejected them as they were considered too feminine. This began to alter when they began to be crafted with ruffled cuffs…. This might seem strange to us, but let’s not forget that high heels were originally invented for men, who also commonly wore tights with them…
By the 18 th century, curved forks with tines were increasingly used in order to defeat food such as peas. People would also carry around their own personal cutlery sets, though forks were still primarily used by the upper classes.
It wasn’t until a hundred years later during the Industrialization period that the lower and middle classes began commonly using forks also. Commoners even began to be able to afford to have entire cutlery sets to offer guests – some even matched!
Forks quickly surpassed knives as the most popular cutlery item which resulted in the Victorians creating an overabundance of fork varietals. You can thank them next time you’re spearing some juicy lobster meat with one. Since then, the fork has remained a staple in Western society.
Knives have dually been utilized as both a weapon and an eating implement since prehistoric times. This is quite logical – you kill your food and then cut it into conveniently sized pieces with one handy tool. However, knives weren’t domesticated or fashioned exclusively for table use until the Bourbon Dynasty in France. Up until this point, they were typically incredibly sharp due to their aforementioned use in killing one’s food.
As such, the presence of knives at a table posed a constant threat. It’s important to remember that this was also an age where a significant source of hydration came from wine and ale. Therefore, it wasn’t uncommon for the particularly inebriated to accidentally puncture their mouths whilst trying to eat their food.
Of course, when forks began gaining in popularity during the Middle Ages, this resulted in less of a need for a pointed knife during meal times. As such, in 1669, Louis XIV- the same guy who loved doing up his hair and wearing tights and high heels as was the manly fashion at the time- made these overly sharp knives illegal at the table and replaced them with blunter / wider ones. This has for the most part remained the norm up until the present day, though the standardized stainless steel variety weren’t introduced until around the 20 th century.
If you liked this article, you might also enjoy our new popular podcast, The BrainFood Show (iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Feed), as well as:
How to Play the Spoons
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Musical instruments can be expensive and require a large time commitment. But with just two suitable spoons purchased from your local secondhand store, thrift store, or taken from your silverware drawer, you can soon be tapping out complex rhythms. The spoons are a classic folk instrument that have been used everywhere from the homestead to the concert hall, and with a little creativity, you could soon be adding a rhythmic contribution to the music in your life with a set of spoons.
Past and present: history of the fork + collecting & care
illustration of various forks types by Julia Rothman
For my second, past and present column, I thought we would take a look at the fork. I’ve included a few tips on simple collecting and care of silver as well as a little “fork etiquette section” (and there’s even a little bonus section at the very bottom!) In addition, I’ve pulled out a few “facts to know” that will give you something to talk about the next time you’re stuck for conversation at a dinner party!
It might surprise you to know that the tool you use to eat with every day was once considered immoral, unhygienic and reminiscent of the devil! Before the introduction of the fork, most people preferred to eat with their hands. There would be a ewer and basin at the table for cleaning hands, and the table napkins and tablecloths were frequently changed during the course of the meal. If an utensil was necessary, a spoon was used and the nobility might eat their meal using two knives, one in each hand.
from the V&A museum. from top: ivory handle with silver piqué work and red and green painted enamel, 1698 handle of horn and mother-of-pearl with engraved brass, 1600-1700 handle of ivory and piqué work, 1682.
CLICK HERE for the rest of Amy’s post after the jump!
The word fork is derived from the Latin furca, meaning “pitchfork.” The first dining forks were used by the nobility in the Middle East and the Byzantine Empire. When in 1004 Maria Argyropoulina, niece of the Byzantine Emperor was married in Venice to Giovanni, son of the Doge of Venice, she brought with her a little case of golden forks, which she used at her wedding feast. The Venetians were shocked at this strange utensil and when Maria died two years later of the plague, Saint Peter Damian proclaimed that this was God’s punishment for use immoral use of the fork: “Nor did she deign to touch her food with her fingers, but would command her eunuchs to cut it up into small pieces, which she would impale on a certain golden instrument with two prongs and thus carry to her mouth. . . . this woman’s vanity was hateful to Almighty God and so, unmistakably, did He take his revenge.”
Marriage at Cana. Paolo (Caliari) Veronese. Venice, Italy, 1562-63. detail. (Painting at the Louvre)
With such an ominous beginning, it’s no wonder that it took centuries for the fork to work it’s way into Italian culture. It wasn’t until the late 15th century many of the Italian nobility and merchant class used a dining fork. That early fork was two-pronged and was used to eat candied fruits or other foods that might stain one’s hand. These forks might be used by shared by several diners, which gave the utensil the reputation of being unhygienic (although, custom dictated that you wipe the fork off before passing it to the next person!) There was still an air of immorality about the fork. In the painting Marriage at Cana (detail above), the courtesan in the top right corner, has a slight seductive smile as she holds her fork in her mouth.
from the Cooper-Hewitt. from top: sucket fork, 1840-45 steel and gilt bronze fork, ca. 1550.
Once again, it was another marriage that brought the fork to a different park of Europe. Forks did not become common in the rest of Europe until the marriage of Catherine de Medici (1519–1589) and the future Henry II (1519 – 1559). At that time the culture, food and fashion of Italy was legions ahead of the France. When Catherine arrived in France, not only did she bring Florentian cooks, fashionable attire, and the idea of a theatrical dinner but she also brought the Italian banking system, ballet, and the fork. (This is the same Catherine who owned a rock crystal chandelier! She was one trend-setting lady!)
from the Cooper-Hewitt. Fork and leather case. Southern Germany or Austria, mid-18th century.
By the 17th century, people would carry their own knives and forks with them. Because one would carry their single set of utensils at all times, cultery became a status symbol. As the fork began to increase in popularity, the design changed. The two-pronged fork was perfectly adequate for stabbing food, but not well-suited to scooping. The straight, two-pronged fork was fine for spearing foods but not well adapted to scooping. The addition of a third or fourth tine, made made food less likely to slip through, and addition of a slight curve to the tines made it a better tool for scooping.
As the style of the fork changed, so did its usage. After a bite was cut, the knife would be placed on the edge of plate, and the fork was transferred to the right hand to take the bite into the mouth. This style of eating was called transfer style and was popular in France until well into the 19th century. The English chose to use the knife as little as possible and the majority of the meal was eaten with the fork held in the left hand. The transfer method was adopted by 19th century Americans and is now sometimes called “American” method.
I found these 19th century sterling silver dessert serving forks on ebay last night. (They sold for $119 for the pair!) You can tell they are French because the monogram is on the underside of the fork. The French set their table with the down tines vs. the American way of setting the table with the tines up!
It was in the 19th century that the variety of specialized utensils for dining exploded and as you can see from Julia‘s illustration, there is almost a fork for every type of food! My favorite are the speciality forks. I love the strawberry forks! In the late 19th century people began to cultivate strawberries (which were only previously found wild). The strawberry fork would be used to pierce the strawberry and dip them into to different condiments — powdered sugar, brown sugar, or whipped cream! (Doesn’t that sound delicious!) If you’d like to hunt for your own silver fork, I’ve got some tips below!
Facts to Know
- The word fork is derived from the Latin furca, meaning “pitchfork.” And the early two-pronged fork certainly evoked the devil in many people’s minds!
- The fork was first adopted in Italy and Catherine de Medici brought it to France, in the 16th century, when she married Henry II.
- As late as the 17th century, people would carry their own utensils with them.
If you love learning about implements of the table, as much as I do, there are three books that I’d recommend. There were all helpful in constructing this post: Laying the Elegant Table, The Art of the Table, and Feeding Desire (which was based on this exhibit at Cooper-Hewitt).
Silver Collecting & Care Tips!
Collecting silver can be intimidating. There are all those maker’s marks and various types of silver – coin silver, Mexican silver, sterling silver. So you tell yourself that you’ll wait to buy anything until you learn more about it. But I’m going to suggest that you throw caution to the wind and just jump in. Go to your nearest flea market or thrift store and look for the junkiest, dirtiest box of silverware that you can find and get ready to dig! You’re looking for silver that is tarnished, but doesn’t have any deep dings and feels heavy.
Rather than try to gather matching sets, I look for pieces with similar patterns – all florals or geometric shapes. My favorite thing to find is monogram silver. I always keep an eye out for anything with a monogram for myself or for friends (for Christmas last year, I gave my sister a little bundle of teaspoons with her monogram).
You can also be on the look-out for some of those speciality forks. Can you guess what fork is on the far left? It’s a strawberry fork! Wouldn’t a mismatched set of silver strawberry forks be fun for a summer party?
Most silver flatware that you see at a flea market is going to be silverplated rather than sterling (sterling is mostly solid silver and is usually pricey). The word “sterling” is found on American silver dating before 1860. Early American silver is rare, so if the piece you’re looking at isn’t labeled “sterling” it’s likely silverplate. Silverplate usually has the maker or company name and some description of the amount of applied silver such as “A1″ or quadruple plate.”
When you bring your forks home from the flea, give them a quick wash with warm soap water. Then get ready to polish!
I hunted around for a non-toxic way to polish silver. Wouldn’t you know it, the simplest way worked the best! Use water and baking soda to make a paste, rub that paste on the silver with a soft cloth. Rub it into the silver until it looks clean, then rinse and polish dry!
You can see that my patterns don’t match exactly, but they have a similar geometric shape. Once your silver is clean, the best way to keep it looking great is to use it often. After use, wash in warm soapy water and polish dry! (don’t put it through the dishwasher and don’t soaking too long)
Enemies of Silver
- Rubber (don’t use rubber gloves or set silver on rubber mats!)
- Table salt
- Salad Dressing
- Fruit Juices
A Little Fork Etiquette (Just for fun!)
- Never use your fork to gesture.
- If you use the wrong fork, just remedy the situation quietly. No need to apologize.
- Don’t half-eat anything on your fork. If you place a piece of food on your fork, be prepared to eat the entire bite.
- If it’s on a plate, use a fork. In a bowl, a spoon.
- Fork and knife, together on the diagonal, indicate you are finished with the meal.
Bonus Section! Mini-Roundup of Modern Cutlery:
Although I think collecting silver piece by piece is fun, I couldn’t resist putting together some modern cutlery options! If this isn’t quite enough for you, there’s always the full d*s modern flatware guide, which has lots of other options!
[image above, clockwise from top left: latticework flatware $95, ivory cutlery $80, bistro cutlery $53, midas cutlery $111, dansk torun flatware $73, dandelion greens flatware $24, georg jensen cutlery $140, laguiole flatware $79]
[image above, clockwise from top left: famished cutlery $80, open-air cutlery $230, famished cutlery $75, marcel flatware]
[image above, left to right: artik place setting $74, artisan hammered flatware $35]
I hope you’ve enjoyed this fork journey as much as I have! I have a fun DIY project planned for my next post. Keep your suggestions for future columns coming. I’ve been looking into all of them!
In Praise of Wooden Spoons
Photograph by Source/Thinkstock.
There are few things I absolutely have to have in a kitchen. I don’t need fancy pots (though Le Creuset makes some beautiful ones), or impressive tools I will rarely use (though I began asking for a blowtorch every Christmas at age 12), or single-use gadgets like avocado slicers or mango pitters (you already own these—they’re called knives). In fact, to feel confident that I can put together a good meal using whatever’s around, all I really need is some garlic, a little olive oil, and a wooden spoon.
For other people, the first two of that threesome will vary—but the third should always stay the same. Wood is sturdy but not harsh, lasts for years or even decades, and is one of the most versatile materials out of which a kitchen utensil can be crafted. Despite this, wooden spoons seem to have fallen out of favor in home kitchens. I rarely see more than one (if any at all) in the tangle of utensils on friends’ counters, and wooden utensils are consistently outnumbered by those made from other materials in stores. So many people neglect this beautifully efficient and historic kitchen tool, ignoring the many reasons wooden spoons are better than the rest.
Spoons predate forks by thousands of years, going back as far as the Paleolithic Era. The earliest known versions were simply small pieces of wood used to help scoop up foods not quite liquid enough to drink directly from a bowl. The etymology of the word spoon reflects these humble origins—the Anglo-Saxon spon means chip.
Since the moment of its invention, the wooden spoon has been integral to an impressive variety of cultural traditions. According to Charles Panati in Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, wooden spoons have been uncovered alongside gold and silver versions in the tombs of ancient Egyptians, indicating that their owners saw them as useful enough to be considered essential even in the afterlife. In late 18 th -century Britain, wooden spoons were handed out as booby prizes to students with the worst academic performances later, they were instead bestowed upon the most popular person in a class. To this day, “wooden spoon awards” are still sometimes given (though not always with actual spoons) to the team with the worst record in sports like crew and rugby. All the while, wooden spoons have played an important role in kitchens around the world—and for good reason.
As long and varied as its history is, the wooden spoon’s versatility and durability is what makes it worth using. Wooden spoons don’t quickly heat to scalding temperatures, chemically react with acidic foods, or scratch pots and bowls, as their metal counterparts do. They don’t melt or leach chemicals or strange tastes into hot foods as plastic does. A wooden spoon can be used to stir any dish in any type of vessel. It can muddle lemon and mint for a whiskey smash, stop a pot of pasta from boiling over, and fold together the wet and dry ingredients of pancake batter. It is also, I have found, much more effective in punctuating emotions than other utensils when waved around in gesticulations. It lasts forever, looks equally at home on a stovetop as on a beautifully set family-style table, and like Helen Mirren, just gets better-looking with age.
And yet take a quick look around a cooking-supply store (or most home kitchens), and it’s easy to see how outnumbered wooden spoons are by non-wooden ones. A Williams-Sonoma’s customer-service representative, who said she sells more stainless-steel spoons than anything else, told me that the company’s wooden spoons are just not as popular as their flashier cousins. A Sur La Table representative I spoke with told me the spoons she sells the most of are silicone. I browsed Amazon’s list of best-selling kitchen utensils and gadgets, which is updated hourly, on multiple occasions over the course of several weeks, and I never once saw a wooden spoon in the top 10 or even in the top 100.
Why do people prefer non-wooden spoons? There are a few concerns associated with wooden spoons, but none of them hold water.
For instance, many people worry that wooden spoons harbor bacteria and are therefore more likely to contaminate your food than plastic or metal spoons. It’s true that if you don’t properly clean your wooden spoon, it will retain bacteria—but so will any other type of spoon. Thoroughly cleaning any utensil, wood or not, after it’s been in contact with raw meat, poultry, or fish is the only sure way to prevent contamination, according to Angela M. Fraser, an associate professor and food safety specialist in at Clemson University. Commercial kitchens sanitize wooden utensils with either soap and scalding water or a weak bleach solution, the latter of which is a bit extreme for home kitchens. The easiest way for laypeople to sanitize wood that’s been in contact with raw meats is to put it in the dishwasher. Most dishwashers now have a high-temperature final rinse that will kill any residual bacteria that survived the detergent. Let wooden spoons air-dry after washing to ensure they are completely clean (dishtowels can re-contaminate wood and don’t thoroughly dry it), and you’ll have no reason to fear food-borne illness.
But, you’re thinking, doesn’t wood retain the flavor of pungent foods? It can, but there’s an easy fix for this: Keep one spoon for savory dishes and one for sweet. (Do this for wooden cutting boards, too, and your apple pie will never taste like onions again.)
Another highly exaggerated wooden-spoon concern: Wooden spoons are flammable. Well, so are a lot of things hanging around your kitchen. You shouldn’t be leaving a spoon anywhere that it can light on fire. If you do this with metal, it will burn you, and if you do it with plastic, it may melt. Best bet: Keep your spoons—and most other things—away from fire.
While all of these facts already tip the scale in favor of wooden spoons, there is also an emotional and visceral reason to use them that comes from the comforting, familiar way wood feels in your hand—not cold and severe like stainless steel, or dull and characterless like plastic. Wood retains memories in a way that metal and plastic cannot. It shows signs of use. It changes color and texture, wears and ages, even changes shape. I can look at one of my wooden spoons and see a dent from harried Thanksgiving cooking, or a dark spot from summer blueberry pie. And when I use the wooden spoon that belonged first to my grandmother, then to my mother, and now to me, I cannot help but feel that I am cooking in the company of all past meals that the spoon has stirred and with the help of all the hands that have done the stirring.
- Designed to accommodate users with limited grasp.
- Molded plastic handles help improve holding patterns.
- Independence for those with difficulty grasping small handles for extended periods
- Securely holds item handle in a pocket along the palm of the hand
I'm not sure what would compel someone to willfully use a pepper to obtain an orgasm, but if you are compelled, pause. Think about what this could do to your body. You're (hopefully) not an arsonist, so why are you trying to burn it down there?
Don't fall victim to a burning vagina.
Image: Getty Images / Vera Tikhonova
If you are still feeling compelled, here you'll find a story of a 24-year-old Margaret who absentmindedly touched herself after making chili. She barely survived. But the chili was good! So there's that.
Our adapted cutlery section includes knives, forks, and spoons for use by those with a weak grip or a limited range of motion. Adapted cutlery for elderly people or others whose condition makes standard knives and forks challenging to use. A wide range of cutlery for disabled people is available at Essential Aids, some with extra wide, easy-to-control handles. We supply the popular Good Grips Cutlery and Caring Cutlery ranges, along with a host of other specially adapted cutlery items. Using knives and forks designed for people with particular disabilities can make a significant difference at meal times.
Our adapted cutlery section includes knives, forks, and spoons for use by those with a weak grip or a limited range of motion. Adapted cutlery for elderly people or others whose condition makes
standard knives and forks challenging to use. A wide range of cutlery for disabled people is available at Essential Aids, some with extra wide, easy-to-control handles. We supply the popular Good Grips Cutlery and Caring Cutlery ranges, along with a host of other specially adapted cutlery items. Using knives and forks designed for people with particular disabilities can make a significant difference at meal times.
Spoons designed for eating are almost always named after the food they're meant to be used with. I laughed because I just read that these are usually used to "transfer food from a storage vessel (like a plate or bowl) to the eater's mouth, usually at a dining table."
I'm eating cereal at my desk, and otherwise on the couch, so that theory is out.
This is a very unique type of spoon created specifically for absinthe drinkers. They are either perforated with holes or slotted so when you stir your drink you create a lot of little currents in the liquid.
This is great for dissolving the sugar cube that is dunked in using the utensil. The bowl end is long and flat, enough to reach over the glass and rest on it, held stable by the notch built into the bottom of the handle.
These feature a wide and round bowl (as opposed to an oval bowl) that is shallow, exposing more surface area of the clear, broth-based soup for quicker cooling. It's also used for jellied soups like the cold-served madrilene.
The design is so the spoon can curve into the rounded sides of a soup bowl so you aren't left tipping the bowl to drink it, which is considered to be not classy by many.
The core feature of these are the material they are made from. They're created most often with mother of pearl, animal horn, wood, or gold, because these do not affect the taste of the caviar unlike silver would.
These are often much smaller (3 to 5 inches in length) than standard spoons due to the size and shape of the containers within which caviar is stored. Their bowls are shallow and oval shaped in order to restrict giant scoops. You only need small amounts of caviar at a time.
Often seen at various types of oriental restaurants, these feature a shorter and thicker handle leading to a deep bowl with a flat bottom.
Usually constructed from ceramic, they're used for liquids like soups and sauces, but are often used to scoop loose, solid food items, too. They're often called duck spoons.
Not to be confused with a coffee measuring scoop, these are small (often more so than even a teaspoon) meant to be used for stirring and sipping coffee from a smaller after-dinner coffee cup. They aren't seen often anymore unless a part of a special set of dishes.
Cream Soup Spoon
I'm not sure why these even exist. They're basically soup spoons but with shorter handles and meant for eating creamier soups. This is where we get into wealthy people in the past showing off their wealth and class and making dinner more complicated with etiquette rules.
Cutty is a Scottish, Irish, and British term meaning "shortened and stubby." These are shorter in length, often so short that the handle is as long as the bowl itself.
We, as in humanity, isn't sure what the true origins or uses of these are. They're simply a historical curiosity that's worth mentioning.
These are even smaller than coffee spoons (which are smaller than teaspoons). They're also used for coffee drinks but particularly ones with a froth top like a cappuccino so it can be scooped and tasted alone.
You'll see them called "espresso spoons" sometimes as well, because their size is intended for use with cups the size of espresso cups.
At stores and restaurants they're usually plain polished silver or stainless steel (or even plastic), though home coffee brewers will often purchase one with an ornate handle.
The core feature that sets these apart is that the bowl on them is slightly longer and more pointed than your typical oval bowl. People use them for anything, like cereal or soup, but they're meant to be used for desserts.
They're typically between the size of a teaspoon and a tablespoon. They were created for formal table settings, where the dessert spoon would be either brought to you with your dessert or placed above the plate.
These are designed specifically for eating hard boiled eggs from an egg stand. They feature a shorter handle and a shorter bowl in order to more easily scoop inside the stand. The tip is more pointed but the bowl is more rounded than your typical teaspoon.
French Sauce Spoon
As its name implies, this was created by the French in 1950 in order to eat sauce. It's similar to a dessert spoon is shape and size, though bowl is flatter and notched on the side with thinner edges. Sometimes it's called a saucier spoon.
It's design aids in the scooping of thin layers of sauce from a sauce plate, which keeps you from needing to tip the plate, which isn't classy. The notch is said to allow oils and fat to run off the sauce.
Also known as an orange spoon, citrus spoon, and fruit spoon, this almost looks like a teaspoon except for the tip of the bowl, which leads either to a sharp edge or has teeth cut into it.
This makes it easier to separate the flesh of a citrus fruit or melon from the rind. Some have a very long bowl that's about half-width, with a curved tip for scooping, though rarer.
Gumbo & Chowder Spoon
For thicker soups with meats and vegetables in them, a gumbo spoon is a great choice. They're traditionally around 7 inches in length with a much larger bowl than a teaspoon.
This bowl is shallow and perfectly round, again allowing for big scoops and more surface area to allow for cooling of the soup before taking it in your mouth.
These are made from animal horns, largely with two traditional usages. The first is they are perfect for eating boiled eggs because they won't tarnish over time from being exposed to the sulfur in the yolk (like silver will tarnish).
The second is for caviar, though less prevalent than other materials, because it doesn't interfere with the delicate taste of roe.
Iced Tea Spoon
There's not much to say about these. They're basically tablespoons with much longer handles to reach the bottom of a pint glass of iced tea where sugar settles and to also make sure you're mixing lemon or other flavors in all the way through.
Sujeo is a portmanteau of the words sutgarak (meaning spoon) and jeotgarak (meaning chopsticks). The sutgarak has a long handle and a shallow, rounded bowl. The total length matches the length of chopsticks.
They're usually made from stainless steel. In the past they were a common wedding gift, often wrapped in fabric or paper embroidered with symbols of longevity.
You don't see these much any more since we don't eat marrow right out of a bone often, but they're out there. They were common in the 18th century, usually made of silver and featuring a long and thin bowl to fit inside the bone.
These are specifically designed to be used for eating parfait, sorbets, sundaes, and other similar desserts that are served in tall glasses. Due to this, they feature a very long, slim handle leading to a typical teaspoon shaped bowl.
Explaining these is making me giggle. These are modern aged spoons of all sizes, though usually tablespoon sized, that are made of plastic.
They are inexpensive and available in bulk, meant to be used and disposed of after use. They're flexible, resist stains, and come in any color you want, including transparent. The best of them are biodegradable.
These were created in the late 17th century. They feature a reinforcement from the bottom of the bowl to the handle meant to reinforce the joint between the bowl and handle. The reinforcement is a thin tongue that comes to a point.
These are meant to be used with salt cellars, which are just small bowls that hold salt (sometimes called a salt pig). We've replaced them with salt shakers, obviously. But the salt spoon itself is a miniature spoon like the caviar ones.
These typically have a flatter and shallower bowl with a flattened notch on the side meant to drizzle sauce over foods like fish. More modern versions feature a deeper bowl with a kind of pouring spout on the front to achieve the same goal.
These are similar to a ladle but scaled down to a dinner spoon size with a horizontal handle. They're larger round bowls are meant for eating thin soups.
These are army issue spoons in the United States, provided is mess kits for soldiers from 1941 to 2002. They have a volume that is equal to two tablespoons, which you can imagine is kind of big for eating.
These were popular in England from the late 16th century through the 17th century. They're made of silver, and the end of the handle culminates in a circular seal, much like the Japanese hanko stamps.
They could be used to seal letters with wax, but simply became a common decorative method for utensils.
Spork / Sporf / Spife / Splayed
These goofy things are a combination of multiple eating utensils, like a spoon and a fork (spork), a spoon, fork, and knife (sporf), a spoon and a knife (spife), and again a spoon, fork, and knife (splayd).
People use these the most when hiking and camping, from my experience. There are other combinations like forkchops and a chork.
Stroon / Straw Spoon
This is another combination that's far less silly. It's a straw with a bowl at the bottom used for scooping foods like a slushy or milkshake. Once you run out of firm solids and you're dealing with the melted liquid at the bottom, you can drink it through the straw handle.
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The beauty industry is not some crazed monster that makes women feel terrible about themselves to force them into buying their products. While the beauty industry's inherent (and false) implication is that you need something more to be beautiful, women are possibly equally responsible for the focus on beauty. They look in the mirror and find their own "imperfections" and wait for the "perfect" product to come. Does the beauty industry cause women to see imperfection? That may be part of the problem, but people have a general "standard" of beauty that is nearly universal (with some deviation, of course.) Studies have shown that people view composite faces (or the average of many faces) over a single face, implying that average is beautiful. When they see something in themselves that doesn't match up, like a blemish, a bigger-than-average nose, or thinner-than-average lips, they tend to see that as ugly and wish it were different. Like any other industry, the beauty industry creates a product the public wants.
The reason body image is seen as a bigger problem today than, say, 50 years ago is because more technology and better-developed technology provides more ways companies can advertise to reach a broader audience. Additionally, today's culture is much more image-oriented today, so images carry much more power to influence people.
The natural beauty movement is on the right track, but can have some consequences, too. Some people take "natural beauty" to mean that they should just disregard any concern for their appearance. Others confuse "beautiful" with "healthy" and think that to embrace natural beauty, they should simply embrace them as they are, even if they currently have unhealthy lifestyles. It's important to remember that more people struggle with obesity than eating disorders. I am not trying to downplay the seriousness of eating disorders here. I am simply trying to call attention to another problem that has affected more people.
What does this mean? People should not disregard any care for their appearance a clean and healthy look aids dignity and self confidence. On the other hand, people should also not obsess over beauty because making your appearance your main focus paints an unrealistic picture of who you are and often causes you to focus much more on yourself than on others. So don't cling to either end of the spectrum, but find a healthy balance to take care of your appearance without obsessing over beauty.
So it's fine try that new moisturizing shampoo or that moisturizer that makes your skin soft. Make-up looks great too, as long as it enhances natural beauty rather than replaces natural beauty. Love the skin you're in, but don’t settle for an unhealthy lifestyle. Find the balance in beauty. Mae82 May 5, 2011
Do you think that being more attractive really helps women be more successful at finding a job? How much of an investment should we be making in our appearance if that is indeed the case? manykitties2 May 4, 2011
@animegal - Women do indeed spend a lot on products marketed by the beauty industry. I believe that although they target things women do not feel secure about, they also provide a range of very useful products that can help someone feel more confident. I wouldn't want to give up my favorite shampoos and lotions, because I love feeling pampered. animegal May 3, 2011
I really believe that the beauty industry feeds off women's insecurities with their marketing of more and more products that nit pick at any and all perceived flaws of the fairer sex.
While it is good to look after yourself and take pride in your appearance, the beauty industry is constantly inventing new things for women to worry about.
The Colbert Report did a funny The Word segment on April 13, 2011 titled Buy and Cellulite. A new product from Unilever was featured. It promotes making your armpits more attractive. until that moment, I wasn't even aware that was a concern.
I wonder how much of what we do and worry about everyday was invented by a team of marketers.