For five years, the old soup spoons have been hidden in a box.
This is since we moved house and I did a major sort-out of our cutlery drawer in preparation for packing. I’ve learnt over years of experience that to have an overabundance of cutlery only leads to chaos.
The problem with too-full cutlery drawers is that someone at home can’t find what he’s looking for. He – no names mentioned – will peer into a drawer and declare things lost if he doesn’t see them immediately.
When we moved, I hid one entire cutlery set (the least nice one) and every odd dessert spoon, teaspoon, knife and fork we’d ever owned and confined them to a sturdy shoebox. It felt like a relief when I unpacked the lesser lot, with space to breathe, into the drawers at the new place.
I also thought that seeing as we never eat grapefruit at home – I honestly don’t really like grapefruit, unless it’s grapefruit juice with gin and mint in it – I’d pack away the grapefruit spoons. I also packed away all but two new soup spoons.
Who’d miss them, hey? Into the shoebox they all went, confined to the depths of a cupboard, on the very bottom shelf, at the very back. I’d genuinely forgotten they were there. The problem is that someone did miss them. The guy spoke with such longing for those soup spoons. Soup just wasn’t the same without them.
Every time we had soup with the new soup spoons he bemoaned the lack of the old ones, shaped like a little bowl and the perfect size for our mouths. You’d swear they were a marvel of engineering genius. He’d built them up to such lofty heights, and was so disappointed in the new, shinier ones, I did feel a bit bad.
But, I have a life to live and hunting for soup spoons we somehow mislaid five years ago, was not on my major priority list. Then he got into eating grapefruit with great relish. But oh, what a mission, he said it was to eat them without a serrated grapefruit spoon. You’d swear it was a punishment from the unjust god of grapefruit.
“But where are the grapefruit spoons? You know the ones we got from my mother?” Eish. I really hoped I hadn’t lost them. They are in all honesty the Platonic grapefruit spoon – long, perfectly pointy with a sharp serration that slices out the juicy segments, intact, with pure ease. I really couldn’t remember where I’d put them. I’ve also never seen myself in the role of chief cutlery keeper, to be fair.
There’s a box in the wine cellar they may have been in, but it’s a bit spooky in there and I’m not crawling around in the dark feeling for them. They also may have been right on the top of a cupboard in a box somewhere, but I couldn’t say for sure. “Tell me where they are and I’ll get them,” he said.
But I couldn’t, so he didn’t. But then we had a knife crisis at home last week. I knew I had more knives packed away somewhere and eventually the thought of having to buy more filled me with enough motivation to start hunting in earnest.
In search of the knives, something in the “looking for lost stuff” part of my brain flickered to life and told me to rummage around in the bottom kitchen cupboard, on hands and knees. I hauled everything out including stashes of coffee I’d forgotten where there and a massive pile of kitchen dishcloths I was thrilled to find.
And there, it emerged, the shoebox in the very, very back furtherest corner. I swore I heard choirs of angels sing. That was probably because it was right next to the box that holds the Christmas cutlery. Not that it is bedecked with Christmassy prints or anything, it’s just stylish and fancy and pretty and I can’t chuck it in the dishwasher, so once a year is enough for me.
There, in the long-lost shoebox, perfectly ordered, I found the holy grail of soup spoons, lovingly packed into a separate bag to the grapefruit spoons, and the knives and the rest of the excess cutlery. “I found them!” I roared before remembering he was out. I knew he’d be thrilled.
When he got home, I presented him with the box and told him to fish out all the cutlery he wanted before I packed it away (to be lost for a further five years probably).
He regarded the retrieved soup spoons with slight suspicion, looked at the new ones, then compared them from a few angles, and uttered the words that crushed my soul. “I think I prefer the new ones, actually.”
“Well, what about the grapefruit spoons?” I asked. “Hmmm. Ah, they can just stay there in the box safely,” he said. My glasses steamed up. My breath came fast. We’ll end this story there, I think.
Five years of crafting our house to be the place where we are so happy and comfortable, meant a bottle of crisp champagne on Saturday, enjoyed in the garden looking at the sprouting bushes we’d pruned in the weeks before.
We admired our first daffodil, and beheld the improvements we’ve made since our first wine o’clock in the front yard those five years ago. He didn’t have to twist my arm to break out another on Sunday where we toasted all the many renovations he’s done to make our house that much more comfortable.
And we relished every drop. You see, we have to celebrate, people. Find a reason. There’s always something. Be creative. Maybe you’ll be toasting the jasmine that’s bursting to life, or whatever evidence you can find around you that spring is finally on the way. I’d definitely drink to that.