Spooning: the art of it

Spooning, is an art. The right spooning adds to the experience; be it cookery or coitus. And I find it amusing, how most eateries take the art of spooning so lightly. Should the spoon be served IN the food or WITH it? Or should it just be kept in holder? Let’s deal with the dichotomies with delicacy.

Hot Spooning: do you like the spoon dunked in hot soup?

Hot Spooning: recent recurring experiences in my favourite Chinese restaurant left me quite hot in the head. The server thought it prudent to dunk the soup spoon in the hot soup. The china soup spoons (ladles, rather) are not dipped in the soup as the spoon becomes as hot as the broth. Many customers burn their lips trying to put the spoon in their mouths. Or they sit blowing soup bubbles across the table. Or they just eat soup with a wrestler’s grimace. This explanation didn’t really help as the server looked like I read out his school report card aloud. I must add here that I am not a fan those huge soup spoons. They look more like mini boats that don’t go inside mouths without making the eater look like giraffe posing for a selfie.

No Spooning: some traditional restaurants ditch the spoon

No Spooning: this brings me to another gastro experience of mine, in the city of Chennai, a few years back. I noticed a popular eatery with a peculiar serving style for the ‘dosa’ (India pancake made with fermented batter). The bowl of ‘sambar’ (a sort of spice lentil soup with vegetables) was stashed in the middle of the dosa and served without a spoon. I observed my fellow co-eaters who picked out the bowl of sambar and poured it in the ‘pit’ of the dosa. That then was consumed by hand. Since I had a meeting to go to and didn’t want turmeric stained nails, I asked the server for a spoon. He looked at me like I was an alien. I gesticulated for a spoon. He looked at me with disdain, like I was not honouring some local custom. I wasn’t apparently? He did get me a spoon, but made sure I waited long enough for it.

Play Safe Spooning: Keep all in one place

Play Safe Spooning: the new-age casual dining spaces and cafes play it cool and very safe. Each table has a stock of all things needed – from mustard and ketchup to a stash of forks, knives and spoons. Use what you want, how you want. This does eliminate a lot of spooning issues.

Game of Spoons. Pic courtesy: Etiquette Scholar

Game of Spoons: It is commonplace to label an eatery a fine dine restaurant because a couple of knives, forks and spoons are placed close to the plate. It is, however, far from the truth. Some, I have seen, do not have the courtesy to remove a used spoon after a course! And then there are some that give you a spoon to eat your noodles!

To close, it is my fervent plea to first know the type of restaurant you are, the food that you serve and the spoons that are dished with it. Spooning, as one will appreciate, is an art.

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