We were finally out of clean cups Wednesday so I did the dishes. I am using the same set of flatware I bought before I got married nearly four decades ago. It was a dainty little Oneida pattern with ivy garland on the burnished handles and now I have a question: where have all the teaspoons gone? Really. I started with 16; I’m down to six. That’s a 62.5 percent casualty rate.
I have a 70-year-old cast iron kitchen sink with no garbage disposal so grinding down the drain is not an option. I never sent real spoons out on picnics or trusted their safe passage in packed lunches. We also never recycled any flatware into trendy wind chimes so — what’s the answer? My mom has been a homemaker for 63 years and she still has all HER teaspoons.
I know where my own youth has gone; I have watched it settle on my hips with only a few blackout years spent in job hell or being caught up in surviving two kids in diapers. I even know where my waistline went. It’s now cowering under my mid-life tattas. But where have my teaspoons gone??? I haven’t a clue.
I raised this question at a formal dinner recently and some new thoughts emerged. The ideas included the sad truth that some spoons just get trashed along with the pudding containers where they scooped their last spoonful. Someone else pointed out that if the dog noses a bowl of cooked oatmeal under the sofa, time leads to a gruel fate as the bowl and spoon become permanently bonded and both are most likely taken directly to the trash to conceal the evidence.
I also remember painting a few faces of former bosses on a teaspoon or two and tossing them into the brine of a pickle jar as I learned from that sassy little character from Lilo and Stitch. But that was a long time ago (and besides, they needed to be punished).
During my search and rescue efforts to find my flatware, I did uncover six other foreign spoons, all unique, that matched nothing in my kitchen. I’m sure their original owners have stopped waiting for the phone to ring by now with a promise of their safe return.
I’ve discussed this mystery with enough people to know this is a universal problem. Now here is my proposal:
1. Take your own home inventory to see what you may be missing from your set.
2. Set aside the invasive species that don’t match your pattern and drop them in a zip lock baggie.
3. Carry this baggie with you at all times.
4. Every time you pass another kitchen sink – at a friend’s house, in the office break room, in the house that’s up for sale, drop a mismatched teaspoon on the counter.
5. When you are all out of mismatched spoons, you can take a break until the next new spoon appears in your kitchen drawer.
I really think this could work. I’m sending this directive to 150 people on my distribution list. If we all find new homes for six mismatched teaspoons and also send this note on to just 50 more friends each, we will be putting 45,906 teaspoons back into circulation. At least one of them might be mine. Please call me if you find it. (And if your face was ever in my pickle jar, I do apologize; I’m over it.)