When it comes to eating utensils, spoons reign supreme.
I’ve always loved them more than knives or forks, with their aggressive blades and tines, slices and stabs.
Spoons are friendlier, nurturing. Their rounded bowls invite you to dip, sip, and slurp. The word “spoon,” with its fun-to-pronounce double ‘o,’ has a charm all its own. Say it now:
See how your lips gently touch like a soft kiss? Adorable.🙂
For most of us, spoons came first. Our hungry baby mouths opened wide for rice cereal, puréed peaches and strained peas. And when some of the food missed its target, the edge of the spoon magically corraled any oozy bits from chin and cheek. So accommodating!
And what about Spoon’s most important function?
SOUP! Ah, soup . . .
I was delighted to discover Joan Logghe’s “Ode to Spoons” recently. Love how she celebrates the divine in the everyday. I was happy to learn she shares my love for Maira Kalman, for whom ordinary objects also take on extraordinary significance when viewed through the lens of history, heart, memory.
Just hearing the word makes me happy. I’m six years old again, sitting at the kitchen counter in my red polka dot pajamas, while my mom adds eggs, milk, and a little vegetable oil to some Bisquick.
I wait for the sizzle of slightly lumpy batter on the hot griddle, the little bubbles forming on top, and that great swish-hiss when she finally flips them. Then it’s gobs of butter and a river of syrup on those steamy, golden beauties. Mmmmm!
Since the only thing better than eating pancakes is reading about them, I was excited when I learned that Princeton Architectural Press had recently published an updated edition of The Pancake King by Phyllis La Farge and Seymour Chwast.
Several years ago, Anamaria at Books Togethertipped me off to this charming picture book about Fannie Farmer by Deborah Hopkinson and Nancy Carpenter. Happy to say I’m finally getting around to featuring it here at Alphabet Soup and I even rewarded myself by making Fannie’s Famous Griddle Cakes using the recipe provided in the book.🙂
These days, most of us don’t think twice about reaching for our measuring cups, spoons, or kitchen scales when we’re ready to cook or bake. Especially with baking, when precise measurements can mean the difference between a cake that rises nicely or sinks like a stone, it’s always about starting out with a good, reliable recipe.
Boston native Fannie Farmer is often credited with inventing the modern recipe. She was one of the first to write down exact instructions for measuring and cooking. But what inspired her to do that, and to eventually publish a cookbook that’s been popular for over 100 years?
Okay, just as I thought. That pretty much includes everyone.
Chances are good that if you’ve cooked pancakes for your kids (or the kid in you), you’ve probably made them with faces or in fun shapes now and again. But have you ever thought of kicking those pancakes up a notch with more intricate designs by theme?
Enter Seattle illustrator Nathan Shields, whose pancakes are not only amazing works of art but delicious teachable moments. He started making “silly pancakes” for his son Gryphon (6) and daughter Alice (3) while living in Saipan several years ago. These days all three of them “batter up” in the kitchen, creating pancakes inspired by books, movies, cartoon characters, animals, insects, and other real and imaginary creatures, with Nathan’s designs continuing to become more detailed and elaborate.
It’s fascinating to watch how quickly he can squirt out a new design — darker outlines hit the griddle first before he fills in the spaces. I love his portraits of famous people and fictional characters as much as his “scientific” sets (arthropods, marine invertebrates, cephalopods, beetles, wildflowers, reptiles, sharks, birds, human organs). If you’re into math, behold his fractals. Of course he’s also made many perennial kid faves (pirates, dinosaurs, Bad Piggies, monsters, robots, sport figures, bunnies).
They’re calling him the Pancake Genius. Who else would make human parasite pancakes? Who’s ever had a chance to actually eat them with lots of butter and maple syrup?🙂