28 March, 2014

Spoon Challenge

Today we got back from our 4-day conference with OMF "family". It is an interesting group of people, all who feel called to work for God in Japan and are committed to be a part of the fellowship we call OMF. Most adults are between 25 and 60 years of age, with some exceptions. 

Despite the many similarities, there are quite a lot of differences too. Aside from personality differences, probably the biggest one is nationality. OMF Japan has, at present, 129 people with 19 nationalities represented! 

That can be quite a challenge, especially when many don't have English as their first language. English is the language that the organisation uses and most people are pretty good at it. But there are quite a variety of accents. One of the things I love about OMF, though, is that no one nationality dominates. Though our American friends tell us that they find it quite British/Commonwealth-ish.

Always in an international environment, there are surprises. The other day we had an American OMFer staying with us and we were all surprised about these spoons. For an Australian, they have different names and functions. Our friend, however, didn't know that.
For us, the spoon on the left is a soup spoon and is only used for soup. The spoon on the right is a "dessert" spoon, but is used for cereal also, but definitely not for soup. So I'm wondering, is this just an Australian thing?


Hazel Yokota said...

yes, I agree!! And for curry rice, you would use the soup one, right?

Wendy said...

Hmmm, Japanese curry rice? Probably either would be fine.

Joan Justiniano said...

I would have said the one on the left is a soup spoon and the one on the right looks like a tablespoon (or a teaspoon, depending on the size). We primarily used teaspoons for eating when I was growing up, but we tend to use tablespoons for curry, etc in our family now, partly because I married a Filipino and that's what they use. (My mother-in-law laughed at me the first time I set the table with the "wrong" spoon.) And we DO call eating utensils "cutlery" as well as just utensils.

Anonymous said...

Might find interesting, A dessert spoon is a spoon designed specifically for eating dessert and sometimes used for soup or cereals. Similar in size to a soup spoon (intermediate between a teaspoon and a tablespoon) but with an oval rather than round bowl, it typically has a capacity around twice that of a teaspoon.
The use of dessert spoons around the world varies greatly; in some areas, they are very common while in other places the use of the dessert spoon is almost unheard of—with diners using forks or teaspoons for their desserts instead.
In most traditional table settings, the dessert spoon is placed above the plate or bowl, separated from the rest of the cutlery, or it may be brought in with the dessert.
As a unit of culinary measure, a level dessertspoon (dstspn.) equals two teaspoons, or 10 milliliters, whereas a tablespoon is three teaspoons, 15 milliliters or one half ounce. In Australia a tablespoon is two dessertspoons, or 20 milliliters. For dry ingredients, a rounded or heaped teaspoonful is often specified instead.
As a unit of Apothecary measure, the dessert-spoon was an unofficial but widely used unit of fluid measure equal to two fluid drams, or 1⁄4 fluid ounce. In the USA and pre-1824 England, the fluid ounce was 1⁄128 of a Queen Anne wine gallon (which was defined as exactly 231 cubic inches) thus making the dessert-spoon approximately 7.39 cc. The post-1824 (British) imperial Apothecaries' dessert-spoon was also 1⁄4 fluid ounce, but the ounce in question was 1⁄160 of an imperial gallon, which was originally defined as 277.274 cubic inches, but later adjusted to approximately 277.419433 cubic inches, in either case yielding a dessert-spoon of approximately 7.10 cc.
In both the British and American variants of the Apothecaries' system, two tea-spoons make a dessert-spoon, while two dessert-spoons make a table-spoon. In pharmaceutical Latin, the Apothecaries' dessert-spoon is known as cochleare medium, abbreviated as cochl. med. or less frequently coch. med., as opposed to the tea-spoon (cochleare minus or minimum) and table-spoon (cochelare magis or magnum). The British soup spoon is the size of a dessert spoon (i.e. smaller than a tablespoon), but with a deeper, more circular bowl for holding liquid. Modern soup spoons are usually stainless steel or silver plated, but in the past wooden and horn spoons were more common. The idea of including a separate soup spoon in a table setting originated in the eighteenth century, when the bowl shapes varied widely, deep or shallow, oval, pointed, egg-shaped or circular. Spoon shapes became more standardized in nineteenth century silverware.
The rounded form of soup spoon is not generally used in continental Europe, where an oval shaped spoon is traditionally used.

Sue said...

I agree with Joan. We do use the word cutlery, but it's probably not a really every day word - it may be a bit old fashioned sounding to younger Americans. More casually we would just say silverware. I would also call the rounded spoon a soup spoon and the one on the right a teaspoon if it's the smaller one. We also tend to use the larger tablespoons more in our family, because that's what Japanese use for curry, etc. Also, the spoon monster has made off with many of my teaspoons (i.e., I am pretty sure they have been tossed in the garbage by well-meaning little ones over the years)!

Anonymous said...

My husband's family call the spoon on the left a 'cat spoon' because it was only ever used to serve the cat's food when they were growing up. Not big soup eaters...

My brother in law's family all eat dessert with a teaspoon. When we have extended family get togethers we have to figure out how many dessert spoons and how many teaspoons we need for dessert.

I'll admit to using a dessert spoon for baking when it calls for a tablespoon of something, just load it up to overfull and use it. We only have one tablespoon in the house and it's obvious when someone accidentally puts that out for eating cereal with.

All of us are Australian families and have been for many generations. I'm wondering if the 'traditions' are culture based or "family of origin" based.

Joan Justiniano said...

Interesting that our teaspoons seem to have met the same fate as Sue's! I don't understand where they go!

Laurie Elliot said...

I agree with Joan and Sue - right down to the teaspoons disappearing (probably into the garbage)... I probably use the word silverware more often but cutlerly is also in my vocabulary.

-J said...

I wonder if it's a generational thing, also. I know the word cutlery, but would never use and don't think I've ever heard it. I'd call the one on the left a soup spoon, and the other one either a spoon, a tablespoon, or a teaspoon depending on the size. In the U.S., silverware comes with a knife, fork, teaspoon, tablespoon, and salad fork.Over the years the sizes have become larger, so that the teaspoons in my set are about the size of the tablespoons in my mother's set. I checked online and they refer to them as: knife, dinner fork, dinner spoon, teaspoon, and salad fork. I'd never heard "dinner spoon" before. http://www.oneida.com/dining/flatware/casual-flatware/flight.html

Ken Rolph said...

Our family spoon set would include soup spoons, dessert spoons, a single tablespoon and teaspoons. Strangely, I use a soup spoon for dishing out dog food. Sometimes we eat desserts with teaspoons to make it last longer (especially ice-cream).

We have at times had parfait spoons, which are like teaspoons with a longer handle to get to the bottom of those large glasses. In the 1950s families would have small bowls of salt in the middle of the table. They would sprinkle this on their food using salt spoons, which were about as big as a little finger.

If you google "lost teaspoons" you will find much scientific literature about this phenomenon. My personal theory is that the spoons become tangled up with the odd socks when they go missing.

Ken Rolph said...

It is possible to trace the history of word use in books over the past two centuries. I checked out "cutlery". It had a solid use from about 1800 to 1940. There was an upward spike in its use about 1950, then a drastic drop to 1960. Its use has flatlined from there.

The numbers are very small, but if you imagine the use of the word cutlery going along about 150 years at level 6, then spiking up to level 7 and dropping to level 5. That's what the graph looks like.

A more interesting one is crockery. The story of that word involves a lot of changes in material technology. Interesting to compare it with "tableware". What do you call the plates and cups sitting on your table?