Coming from a family of artists and craftsmen, many of whom do not think they fall into either category, I have a soft spot for those types of people and the items they produce. If they are local it is even better. So naturally, a local man making stunning wooden kitchen implements won me over immediately.
I met Paul Rutgers at a farmer's market in southern Michigan last summer, when I was working down their for my Master's internship. I decided to forgo all the fresh produce and baked goods I usually bought at the market every week and buy a single, Hickory, long handled spoon. I brought it back to the office after lunch and sat it on my desk where I forced all my co-workers to appreciate it. There was a lot of conversations like this:
Me: Here touch this!
Co-Worker Whyyyy? (skeptic look)
Me: It's amazing! The wood is actually soft!!
Co-Worker: "Riiiight" (crazy look)
Me: Just TOUCH it! (thrusts into co-workers hands)
Co-Worker: Wow! Where did you get this? It IS amazing.
I think that conversation sums it up pretty well. These are among my favorite kitchen tools ever. Properly cared for they will last forever. Nothing, in my mind, is more beautiful than something created by human hands, intended for daily use.
Another was added to my collection by my future in-laws for Christmas last year, a walnut ladle type spoon. The next on my list are a few serving spoons for table use in a variety of wood types.
These spoons remind me daily of quality over quantity and encourage me to keep old traditions alive. From cooking and baking to knitting and quilting to wood working, these spoons encourage me to keep-on-keeping-on, even when these pastimes seem like a lot of work for the payoff. Learn a skill set that will serve you well and lean on others to fill in the gaps. For wooden spoons, I have found someone to go to.
Note: I am not promoting Paul Rutgers products, nor was I asked to. Rather, I am writing to encourage you to look for local craftsmen in your area and buy from them, because they have mastered skills that are fading in a modern world and because it helps reduce the support of the commercial industrial complex. Plus if you compare my spoons to the nicest thing the national big box home store can offer you would be crazy not to pick the ones I bought from this local man. If you don't have a local person pumping out wicked wooden kitchen tools, you can find Paul Rutgers here, and he does mail order.