I read an article recently that outlined which things should be regularly tossed and replaced in your kitchen. Among the list unsurprisingly were; sponges, dish rags, plastic tupperware. The one that I found astonishingly on the list was wooden spoons. Maybe it’s just me, maybe the rest of you have been tossing and replacing your spoons every six months to a year this entire time and I have somehow missed an important memo. Maybe I have been living a disgusting germ ridden lifestyle all on my own without even realizing it. In any case I read this article and dismissed it because there’s no way I am tossing all my spoons and buying new ones this month.
Tonight (days after reading the article) while preparing dinner for my family and possibly using one of the bacteria laden spoons, I had a profound realization. Some of these spoons are older than I am. Most of these spoons were handed down to me by my mother, who got them from her mother, who got them from hers. That is four generations of women cooking and feeding their families with the same wooden spoons. Four generations of creative meals because we couldn’t afford groceries one week. Four generations of love and devotion towards our children. Four generations of Mexican women, of magic and love, of the mysticism of life that only women understand. That Curandera hand and hand with Catholicism, that sana sana colita de rana that only a mom can deliver with heavy healing powers. These spoons aren’t just teeming with bacteria, they are teeming with history and power. When I cook with one of them I am cooking with my Grandmother. I am transported back to my childhood home watching her make arroz con leche, sopa de fideo, rellenos, tacos, huevos, and everything else. These are also the spoons she would smack my hands with if I dug in to the pot too soon.
Maybe it’s time to retire some of the spoons, perhaps I will creatively display them in the kitchen. We don’t have recipe cards in my family, we learn by watching and then doing, instead we have wooden spoons.