Page 1


It’s not the destination... It’s the journey.

(spoon) Welcome to the second issue of

l s c t m r m l e t q


life awesomeness community share spiration experiences happiness sar casm old-school holidays seasons go trivia new fun simplify indie diy han made pictures photographs words st ries food travel eat shop art vintage memories friends be do make learn live artisan entrepreneur music blog enjoy live laugh create love play history passions cook read book movies quotations how-to color mail explore Hey, Spooners!

Looka me! I dropped a deuce! Numero dos. Number two. The second issue of Spoon. It’s pretty amazing to think that I was able to pull off the completion of Issue No. 1, let alone coming back for more with this next installment. Issue No. 2 features two big themes: travel and mail. I’ve been fascinated with travel since my first plane trip as a kid that took my mom and I to Walt Disney World. Whenever I daydreamed about flying before then, I was convinced I’d be able to open a window, stick out a little plastic baggie, and take some of the clouds home with me. Fastforward to knowing better that I would be sucked out like a vacuum to my near-instant death. Later, my brother would work for an airline. I loved helping him study for tests on airport codes and aircraft types. A few years ago, I got to further that interest with my own airline gig that allowed me to travel to many great places on our globe.

On the mail front, I’ve loved going to post offices and seeing all the material hoo-ha, like ever-changing stamps, fun red-and-blue-striped air mail envelopes, tiny P.O. boxes, and little packages shuffling off to destinations unknown. Growing up and having the bulk of your mail consist of bills and junk makes a handwritten letter stick out like a Wonka ticket. Pen pals have always been intriguing, too. I never had a proper overseas one, but in college, I met a girl from Florida who I would write back and forth for years about jobs, haircuts, boys, and everyday life. Now, of course, we casually swap words on Facebook, but nothing beats holding that paper in your hand that cries out for your undivided attention. Come along as I wax nostalgic about the joys of travel and show you ways to keep the snail mail fires burning. Figuratively speaking, of course. Don’t forget — if you’ve got comments on anything you see here or elsewhere in the Spooniverse, give a shout! The mailbox is always open.


Tina Jett

Tina Jett is a maker of pictures, liker of vintage, and blurber of words and stories. She’s done some freelance writing for Trazzler, knocked girls down for fun while skating with the Carolina Rollergirls, and is a big fan of sarcasm, travel, movies, and stuffing her face with good eats. She runs a blog called Scatterbox over at tinajett.com and has two shops on Etsy: Scatterbox for art and photography, and Monday Pie for vintage goods. She is a big fan of the freshlybaked chocolate chip cookie and works hard to keep her sailor mouth in check.

Snail Mail

P.O. Box 580844 Elk Grove, CA 95758

holla!

Writer/Editor/Publisher Photography, Art & Illustration

E-mail

hello@spoonzine.com

Website/Blog

www.spoonzine.com

Facebook

www.facebook.com/spoonzine

Contributor

Michael Jett : Bacon Fat & Butter

Twitter

@spoonzine

All content Š 2011 Spoon, unless in public domain or otherwise attributed. For comments or inquiries, please contact the Spoon haus via one of the means listed above. Opinions expressed in the zine, on the website/ blog, or in any other social media format are not necessarily those of the editor, contributors, advertisers, or affiliates.

Michael Jett spent close to fifteen years in the restaurant industry before escaping in 2006. Though he lives the life of a culinary refugee, he still burns a candle brightly for his love of food. This makes his wife very happy. In his spare time, he dabbles in sports like basketball and Australian Footy, enjoys a fine wine or two, smokes the occasional pipe while contemplating the universe (usually when campfire is involved), and listens to old-school rap.


Calling All Readers! We want YOU to be a part of the Spooniverse! Every issue, Spoon asks for your two cents on various topics. Keep your eyes peeled on the blog, newsletter, Facebook page, and Twitter account to see how you can add your part to the zine.

Spoon is currently seeking your input for Issue No. 3: • What’s your favorite road trip? • What is your best yard sale or estate sale find? Send your reply to hello@spoonzine.com!

Want to advertise with Spoon? Spoon offers very affordable rates for you to shout about your business, service, blog, or skill from the mountaintops. Now accepting sponsors for Issue No. 3! www.spoonzine.com/advertise.html

Contributor

Rosalie Gale : Organization and Stuffs

Like what you see? Click the envelope to sign up and receive new issues of Spoon in your inbox!

Rosalie Gale writes about organization in this issue and you should listen to her. She is the creator of such infamous websites as Unanimous Craft, bARTter Sauce, and EtsySaver, and is the owner of Ugly Baby Shower Art, which she runs with her husband. Did I mention she also works a regular job, performs standup comedy, and helps run Seattle’s EtsyRAIN street team? She’s either on crack or really knows her shit.


(contents) 7

Flicks in review

8 A tradition of cake 10 Valentine’s Day

28

12 The red queen and the white rabbit 14 Artisan spotlight: Ginger Hahn 20 The lost art of correspondence 21 Ode to a letter 22 History of mail: a timeline 24 Wax seals 25 Calligraphy 26 Modern mail The best piece of mail you’ve ever received

34

The golden era of travel

37 38

Point A to point B A is for alphabet

40

52

 : Spoon Feb/Mar 2011

39

USE-IT

How to pack

42 In pictures: Lijiang, China 46 Your favorite travel memory 47 Organization and stuffs 49 St. Patrick’s Day 51 Spring equinox Bacon Fat & Butter: baguettes and beef

54 Your collections 56 The big quote


FLICKS

My two cents on newer and older movies I’ve seen lately. Because you were just dying to know.

Coco Before Chanel (2009) Two words: Audrey Tautou. Ok, three: biography. Big fan of both. I’m certainly no fashionista, but with the inital draw of Audrey aside, I was genuinely curious about the woman who created an empire that still stands tall, forty years after her death. It was inspiring to learn how Coco defied the pomp and circumstance of fashion in her day by creating her own simple style, often using menswear as her muse. And once again, I want to tuck Audrey and her cuteness in my pocket.

Despicable Me (2010) I will start by saying that I loved the main character of Gru and his pseudo-foreign accent, voiced by Steve Carrell. I wish I could say that for the entire movie in general, but, while it wasn’t bad by any stretch, it was really just... meh. Even the little minions, who seemed like they’d be totally up my alley when I first saw them in the previews, weren’t that exciting to me. Then again, to be fair, I’m not really the target audience here, am I?

Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) Before the buzz began for this film, I’d never heard of Banksy, though I recognized some of his work. Street art, when done with artistry and meaning, not just as random b.s. on a train or building, is completely fascinating to me. The movie did, however, illustrate my husband’s comment of how sometimes “people like what they are told to like”, with regards to Thierry Guetta’s show. In the end, Exit upped my respect for those who believe in the power of art in our every day surroundings.

Leap Year (2010) For better or for worse, I am a sucker for romantic comedies no matter how good or not-so-great they may be. Cue Leap Year. I like Amy Adams, but moreso, I like Matthew Goode, who I think is a bit of an underrated actor, especially for his sense of comedy. Yes, fine, he’s not bad to look at, either. Leap Year is also set in Ireland, one of my favorite places on the planet, so the the scenery was worth it. Predictable? Of course. I can think of worse ways to spend two hours, though.

Lombardi (2010) I’m a girl. I like sports. Did I also mention I like biographies? While I knew who Vince Lombardi was, I had no idea why this head coach of the Green Bay Packers was so revered until this documentary. Lombardi was a great leader whose players looked up to him like a father. What he did for that franchise, that city, and football in general is certainly legendary. Lombardi not only shows the familiar side of this icon, but also his personal and family struggles as well. Score, indeed.

Tapped (2009) I have such a love-hate relationship with exposé documentaries. On one hand, it’s a great, powerful genre. On the other, they make me sad/angry/depressed/outraged like nobody’s business. If you drink bottled water, be it a lot or a little, I urge you to see this film. The out-of-sight, out-of-mind, devastating impact this unnecessarily commercialized product has on your health, the health of others, our natural water supply, and the environment will make you be an H2O tap lover for life. Feb/Mar 2011 Spoon : 


A Tradition of Cake

For the past twelve years, the mister and I have participated in a little tradition for our birthdays. Even before the food TV bandwagon stopped at the likes of Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss, the Spoon haus was getting creative with the batter and frosting on the homefront. When person A’s birthday rolls around, it is person B’s obligation to come up with a cake design based around A’s personality, interests, or a highlighted theme from the past year. As it usually boils down, there’s an underlying sense of competition to see if we can not only top our previous productions, but also secretly out-do the other in terms of originality. After all these years, there are winners and there are bombs. For fear of unsavory repercussions, I am prohibited from presenting you with photo evidence of the infamous “Yarn Cake”, Mike’s attempt to give a nod to my new knitting hobby for my 32nd birthday. I’ll just say that knitting was not the first thing that came to mind when it was unveiled to me and that Yarn Cake is now the bottom-level standard that you try not to hit. However, it must be said that while Mike did create Yarn Cake, his hands and mind also cranked out what I consider to be the most creative and challenging, Globe Cake. Here are some of the most recent endeavors.

Canada Cake

Book Cake

Once upon a time, we almost moved to Canada. It fell through, but not before this celebration of America’s Hat.

Probably my biggest cop out. Flat sheet cake: check. Leastcreative theme: check check.

Tina’s Cakes

Awesome the Van

Pig Cake

Mike & friends bought and decked out an old 80s van. It’s name is Awesome. I got excited they sold matching glittery blue frosting. Otherwise, it’s my worst.

Mike’s favorite culinary staple: pork. The butcher sign reads “tasty salted pig parts”, the tagline for Boccalone, his favorite meat snackerie shop.


TINA’S RESUME: In a sheet cake rut for the past few years; no height. Better examples are trapped on the old computer’s hard drive. Best cakes: Lord of the Rings Ring: Calligraphy around perimeter, Mike’s face superimposed onto Frodo’s in center; Pirate Ship Cake: Most 3-D, sculpted Tootsie Rolls for cannons; Pig Cake (shown). Worst cake: Awesome the Van (shown). MIKE’S RESUME: The more creative when it comes to cake innards; best tasting. Known for the infamous Yarn Cake. Best cakes: Globe Cake (shown), Skate Cake (shown) Worst Cake: Yarn Cake (altered to protect the innocent)

Yarn Cake Yarn Cake. We don’t talk about it much.

Skate Cake

Mike’s Cakes

A nod to making it into my roller derby league. Creative use of marshmallows for wheels and cut fondant letters.

Globe Cake

Ode to Chocolate

Commemorating my new job with the airlines. Most creative with clouds and a little plane. Best-tasting with a domed coffee ice cream mud cake.

Me: big fan of chocolate. This cake is as the name implies. Not so much visually themed as oh-so-fudgy-tasty-good.


Valentine’s Day February 14, 2011

Originally, in 500 AD, February 14 was designated a special day by the Catholic church to honor two (though possibly three) of many martyrs of the name Valentine. There was no association with love or romance with this date until the Middle Ages, by which time the history of the original saints had become blurred. The modern legend of who St. Valentine was has also been embellished over time. During the Middle Ages, in 1382, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote Parliament of Fools, a poem to honor King Richard II of England and Anne of Bohemia on the first anniversary of their engagement. (Nevermind the fact that they were both 15 years old at the time. Mmm hmm...) For this was on seynt Volantynys day Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make. This translates as: “For this was Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.” Good thing, as I have no idea how to chese a make. It is speculated that Chaucer refers to St. Valentine’s Day as February 14th, though scholars argue that this would have been highly unlikely with his mention of mating birds, which were more common during the month of May.

10 : Spoon Feb/Mar 2011

In 1797, The Young Man’s Valentine Writer was published in Britain as a sort of cheat-sheet for those who weren’t quite so eloquent with their words when it came to wooing the ladies. Pre-printed Valentines were also available at this time, called “mechanical Valentines”. The 1800s saw an explosion in the popularity of giving Valentines in England, first with a decrease in postal rates that allowed for them to be mailed for the first time. This, of course, also started to make them a little impersonal, mirroring what we see these days with e-cards. Valentines had also begun to be mass-produced in factories as opposed to their handmade and handwritten predecessors. Customs throughout the world vary, with many celebrating love on other days of the year, or using the 14th to honor loved ones in general, friends, children, and even the arrival of the planting season. These days, especially in the U.S., Valentine’s Day is both adored and despised by couples and singles alike. Gentlemen can thank their friendly neighborhood diamond industry for putting just a little more pressure on them, too. Personally, flowers are nice, and it’s fair to say I’m giddy enough with just some chocolate in my belleh.


Valentine greetings date back to Medieval times and written Valentines have been around since the 1400s. Today, one billion notes of love and affection are given each year.


Queen of Hearts Contemporary Folk Art Doll, $400 by Cart Before the Horse

Queen of Hearts Stained Glass Panel, $750 by Tara Sawchuk

The

Red Queen

Queen of Hearts Print, $20 by Andrea T Designs

Queen of Hearts Trinket Box II, $65 by Ashland Hill

Queen of Hearts Mosaic Belt Buckle, $50 by Kelly Karr Design

&


&

White Rabbit Alice in Wonderland Print, $16 by Darkling Woods

The

White Rabbit Stiletto Art Sculpture, $85 by Wonderland Contraband

white Rabbit

White Rabbit in Court Nursury Mobile, $60 by Lilliput Loft

Hand-cut Wooden White Rabbit Jigsaw Puzzle, $75 by Turtle Teasers (art by Heidi M. Drake)

Why the Rabbit Was Late Alice in Wonderland plush, $27 by Chris Creatures


artisan t spotligh

Ginger Hahn

At just 29 years old, Ginger Elizabeth Hahn has made quite a name for herself. She makes chocolate. And she makes it well. In a little boutique in downtown Sacramento, California, you can find her creations screaming your name. All are made in-house, using local ingredients whenever possible. Aside from traditional fare of truffles, bars and molded delicacies, Ginger shows that she’s got more up her sleeve. Amazing hot chocolates with vanilla bean marshmallows, cookies, and cupcake specials are often on the menu. When the winter chill is gone, there are monthly sundae socials featuring tastes such as handmade sweet corn or lavender ice cream with appropriate seasonal toppings, all selling out before the dinner crowd even takes a seat. My personal favorite are her crazy-good French macaron ice cream sandwiches that are the size of your palm. Lemon, please. Ginger began her career in the pastry arts after attending a summer class at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone in her home state of California. She was only 16, but knew that she had found her passion. After high school, she studied hospitality management and culinary arts, and had the chance to meet the one-and-only Julia Child, who recommended her for a scholarship that she went on to win. Ginger then became a student of the CIA’s Hyde Park location in New York, graduating at the top of her class. She continued to hone her skills working with notable names in her profession, including the likes of Jaques Torres. In the December 2010 issue of Dessert Professional magazine, Ginger was named one of the top 10 chocolatiers in North America. While Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates continues to win over the likes of me and everyone else here in Sacramento, the reach grows elsewhere. Last spring, Ginger and her staff were also nationally featured on an episode of Chocolate Wars on TLC. www.gingerelizabeth.com

14 : Spoon Feb/Mar 2011

Images via gingerelizabeth.com


Correspo The Art of


ondence


The {Lost} Art of Correspondence Once upon a time, if you wanted to get in touch with someone, you sent a letter. Mobile phones and computers did not exist. Long-distance telephone calls were expensive and applied to basically everyone that lived more than an hour away from you; lots of times, it was less than that.

Days later, sometimes weeks, the person you wrote to received your letter. Maybe they had been waiting for it ohso-patiently. Maybe it was a surprise! Quickly, they tore open the envelope, pulled out your note, held it in their hands, and read. It was wonderful to hear from you.

Mail was a peculiar thing. First, you had to find a piece of paper. Then, you picked out a writing instrument. Sometimes it was a pen, sometimes it was a pencil. Sometimes, you had to have a little cup of ink, too, just to make some of them work.

True story.

Then you began to write with your best penmanship. Full words and sentences, too! If a person wrote “UR”, the reader would become immediately concerned that the writer was achingly expressing discomfort with an ailment. O, how you hope they can make it to an infirmary! You finished your letter and signed it. A beautiful, flowing signature, following sentiments like “Respectfully yours”, “I remain”, or “Kindest regards”. (Perhaps an added spritz of perfume?) You chose an envelope of adequate size, folded and inserted the letter, and sealed it. Then it was properly addressed. Next, you went outside to the end of your driveway – perhaps even walking all the way down to the corner – for the nearest mailbox, where your letter would wait to be picked up. Maybe you had to get in your car to go to the actual post office! But then, it was on its way.

It’s no big secret that postal services are hurting. The advent of the internet and email gave us e-cards and online banking. Recessions gave us less money in our pockets for mailing and shipping. Environmental issues have us curbing the amount of paper we use. Technology is making us flat-out less personal with one another. We’re lucky if we even send out real Christmas cards anymore. Facebook, Twitter, and every other social media outlet has us convinced that we can still connect with our fellow man by just skimming our way through life’s story. Speaking of Facebook and Twitter, it’s true that these two have been responsible for us getting in touch with people we’ve lost along the way or people we’d never otherwise come into contact with. But how in touch are we? We only know each other’s birthdays because the computer tells us. We stop talking on the phone and sending letters because we get all we need to know about our “friends” through what they post. Or so we think. Knowing that you went to watch Avatar last night, or

that you had six donuts this morning to fend off a bad day only tells me what you do. It tells nothing of who you are. No longer do we seem to have deep conversations with people. We don’t know what makes them tick, what their dreams are, or what scares them. Most of us don’t even care, because all these “friends” aren’t really friends at all, but acquaintances. However, our true friends get lumped into the same batch, and we unknowingly start to care less about them, too. Letters still exist. Letters say you care. A good chunk of the younger population out there has probably never even recieved an honest-to-goodness letter from someone. Sure, they take time out of our supposed busy schedules, but remember how it felt when you opened a letter knowing someone was thinking about YOU? And ONLY you? While you still have the chance, pick up a pen and a piece of paper. Sit down and write a letter to someone. SEND IT. No email, tweet, or status post will mean as much to a person as the time they know you took to focus on just them. They can hold your letter in their hand... see the emotion in your writing... have a little piece of you arrive at their door. A little piece of happiness. Don’t we all still want that?


We lay aside letters never to read them again, and at last we destroy them out of discretion, and so disappears the most beautiful, the most immediate breath of life, irrecoverable for ourselves and for others. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The post office has a great charm at one point of our lives. When you have lived to my age, you will begin to think letters are never worth going through the rain for.

To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart. ~ Phyllis Theroux

~ Jane Austen

There must be millions of people all over the world who never get any love letters... I could be their leader. ~ Charlie Brown

Ode to a Letter


HISTORY OF MAIL ~ a timeline ~ Down: s g n i h T g n rted Writi elivery systems. a t S e l p o e P essage d Whenever inning of m s the beg

More or les

ed with a it d re c is ia rs nd Great of Pe e th s ith carrier a ru w y , C e rs g o in h K : ia sv 550 BC e route. g message th in g rr n fe lo s a n s a n tr tio system of t various sta a t u o d e p e horse swap course”), th c li b u p “ ( s e licu hange: On Cursus pub c : a D g A in 4 g 1 n ri 62 BC to l service, is created, b point A to m o fr il a m ta the Roman pos onsible for p s re y ll fu w . carrier is no it of security b a g in d d oa point B, als p a postal u ts e s , n a ssm ose who nch busine th re F y a b r, ly e n y o la e 1653: De Va ail boxes in Paris for us is enemies ruins the fh hm service wit ade. One o m e h t a th pes oxes. NICE. b e th in buy envelo e placing mic hic business by s telegrap u io v re p n f s o ial version o e improve rs rc o e M m l m e o u c cal, 1835: Sam orse Code, s the practi M te h a it w re c d e d s n ly u attempts a omes wide c e b t a . th h p munication m o the telegra c f o rm -dash fo his dot-and invented s a w p m sta who was e postage r iv s te s e a h d lm a o 1837: The Hill, and English scho Hill also created a . d his creation r by Rowlan fo d te h ig ht, not size. kn ig y tl e n w e n u o q e d s ase sub g system b in c ri p rd a d the stan ge stamp, ta s o p t rs fi ’s s the world e u s is d n la 1840: Eng k. Penny Blac

22 : Spoon Feb/Mar 2011


1840: The firs t picture po stcard is sen painted by T t in London, heodore Ho handok. 1860-1861: The

Pony Express East-West co is the fastest mmunicatio , most-direc n se can get from rvice in the U t, nited States. St. Joseph, M Mail issouri to Sac (holla!) in ten ramento, Ca crazy-fast da lif ornia ys!

1870: Air ma il is born wh en 500 pou France via b nds of mail alloon. Too b leaves ad the ballo and go w

ons have no herever the controls winds take th territory or p em, even in laces where to enemy they are nev er seen aga in. 1872: Aaron Montgomery order catalo Ward sends g for his busi out his first ness. mail-

1911: India, England, an d the U.S. h demonstrati old the first ons using air air mail planes. 1918: The firs t air

mail route between Ne in the U.S. w York City is establishe and Washin Philadelphia d g ton, DC, sto . pping in

1957: Docto r Maurice Levy, a Ca scientist, inve nadian elec nts an autom tronics atic postal 200,000 letters per ho

ur.

sorter that ca

n handle

Late 1960s: E-mail is inve nted for use accounts, b ut at first, only between dif ferent on the sam the slow death of sna

il mail.

e computer.

So begins

Feb/Mar 2011 Spoon : 23


Wax Seals

An old way to make a new impression

As one of the most beautiful ways to embellish correspondence, wax seals are an ancient method of providing more than just a little somethin’-somethin’ to your letters. Adding both security and authentication, they were quite commonplace, though now are reserved primarily for business, government, and ceremonial documents. A seal on a piece of parchment would not only indicate whether or not someone got sneaky trying to tamper with or open it, but also gave proof of origin based on the image on the seal itself. Over time, seal imprint materials have come in a few forms besides wax, including clay, rubber, ink, and simple paper indentation. For me, there’s just something more romantic about an image pressed into a gob of gooey, melted red wax, conjuring visions of large plumes, ink bottles, candles, old wooden tables, and goblets of vino. The actual seal itself has been carved and engraved from wood, stone, glass, jade, and metal, adorned and personalized with something to identify the owner. Initials, calligraphy, zodiac signs, and crests have all been popular, ranging from simple to ornate. Signet rings date back to ancient Egypt, symbolizing power and authority as well as having the functional ability to create a seal. Monarchs and members of royalty commonly had them. In the Catholic church, a deceased Pope’s signet ring is destroyed to allow for a new candidate to be elected. Some schools and organizations still use signet rings as a sign of membership. Today, in the world of private citizens, wax seals are relegated to special occasions such as wedding invitations and graduation diplomas. Materials can be found in gift shops and online stores in many styles and colors of wax. You can also cheat and get peel-and-stick wax seals that are pre-imprinted and ready to go. Jewelry is also a nowpopular way to celebrate the novelty of a seal, with imagery cast in precious metals like gold or silver. 24 : Spoon Feb/Mar 2011

My half-assed attempt at making a seal for the first time, with a set I’ve had for years. Not so much. More wax!

Great Seal of Queen Elizabeth I

From the Treaty of Paris (1783), signed and sealed in part by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. The treaty ended the Revolutionary War between Britain and the U.S.

Wax seal shops on ye olde interwebz: letterseals.com nostalgicimpressions.com oldschoolseals.com

waxent.com waxseals.com wax-works.com


Calligraphy

Like typing six beautiful words a minute

When I was little, I received a calligraphy set as a gift. It wasn’t all fancy with a feathered quill and ink bottle or anything, just a simple one with four colors of calligraphy markers and an instruction book that would spark a lifelong fascination with illustrative fonts and typography. I wrote calligraphy constantly. It probably even helped give me halfway-decent regular handwriting to boot. It’s a skill that requires a lot of patience and discipline, which were some of my biggest obstacles.

These days, we mostly see calligraphy on wedding invitations or the occasional Christmas card. The emergence of typewriters and computers have made regular handwriting a rarity over time, let alone its time-consuming artsy-fartsy cousin. I think we could stand to bring it back into the fray a little more, though. I’m game for some grocery lists with the words “eggs” and “tampons” written out with special flare. Roll them up like a scroll to really add some distinction to your errands.

In Greek language, calligraphy literally translates to the combined words “beauty” and “writing”, embellished lettering ranging from simple to ornate. Calligraphy has been used in many countries for centuries, from everyday correspondence to important documents to religious works, such as the Book of Kells in Ireland.

Those calligraphy markers I used to have are still available in craft and stationery stores if you want to try your hand at a different type of creativity or just want to work on some exercises for improving your own handwriting. Larger sets should come with books to teach you, though you can always find a mini-tutorial online.

The Book of Kells contains the four gospels of the Bible, illustrated by monks around 800 AD. It is on display at Trinity College Library in Dublin.


Teeny, tiny, personalized mail that you can actually send to someone for everyday correspondence or special occasions. This is what you get with the World’s Smallest Post Service, or WSPS for short. Each letter comes with a tiny magnifying glass so your eyes don’t go all buggy trying to make out the message. Bonus: WSPS is just one of many creative ideas spawned from the noggin of Lea Richmond at Leafcutter Designs. www.leafcutterdesigns.com

Modern

New Ways to Se

When telegrams were a main method of communication, punctuation cost extra when composing your message. The word “stop” was inserted at the end of a sentence instead. Revive this classic piece of history with Telegram Stop. Based in Australia, Telegram Stop sends an authenticlooking message, complete with stops, to anywhere in the world. Bonus: One rate covers anywhere on the globe! www.telegramstop.com

mail, ly dig l a e r her If you ese ot h t t u o your check to get s y a w great fix! postal

bARTer Sauce An experiment in trading for art and odd objects with a story behind them that you provide... real or not. www.bartersauce.com


The idea of a pen pal is fading right along with snail mail, but you can still make a connection abroad with the handwritten word. Postcrossing allows you to send and receive postcards to and from countries around the world with their automated address list. I just joined and am excited to send my first cards off to Russia, Finland, China, Ukraine, and the Netherlands. Bonus: Take your communication further by participating in forums or opt in to recieve mail directly. www.postcrossing.com

n Mail

end It Old School

If you live inside the European Union, you have the good fortune of being able to send someone there a PostCarden. As a recipient, you can get one of five postcard-styled boxes that open up in 3-D form, allowing you to plant the enclosed seeds and grow your own miniature garden. Bonus: You can eat it, too. The greenery. Not the paper, crazy. www.postcarden.com

The Post Culture A celebration of the art of snail mail. Follow along on Twitter @PostCulture and postculture.posterous.com

How to Write Telegrams Properly A small booklet written by Nelson E. Ross in 1928. www.telegraph-office.com/ pages/telegram.html


What’s the best piece of mail you’ve ever received?

away her passed My grandmot a bunch me nt se and my mom sent that I had of letters d. ki a was her when I ther’s one - a Mo s wa e er Th , “We id sa that Day card go le the Turt let Turdy back me ca he but today.... rie in that ee to haunt us ” y. wa le turt ..right. Ummmmmm...

Rosalie

raft.com

unanimousc

One sum mer dur ing col (seems lege like 10 00 year ago), a s friend and fel art his low tory ma jor, Ho and I u pe, sed to embelli the env sh elopes of our sporadi c letters modern as masterp ieces. best wa Her s Jacks on Poll but the ack, mini Mo ndrian stunnin was g too. Content inside s were se condary still h . I ave the m and the are pre y cious t o me.

Years ago, I received a poem from the guy I dated in Germany. It was beautiful, in German, and almost 30 years later, it still makes me go mushy.

28 : Spoon Feb/Mar 2011

Janice

Alison

kurberr

y.etsy.

com


The Love of

Travel


The Golden Era of Travel You hear all the time about how the golden era of travel is dead and gone. Mostly, the talk is about the airline industry. We have these bygone images of people dressed all swanky, with their gloves, hats, and pearls, stretching out in the cabin like they’re getting ready to watch Ed Sullivan with their spouse and 2.5 kids. Pilots and stewardesses fawned over like celebrity, working for the likes of now-defunct TWA and Pan Am. Scenes from the movie Catch Me if You Can come to mind, with adults ogling over them and children running up for autographs. It’s a very starchy image, but it was reality at one point. But was it really better then? Yes and no. When passenger air travel kicked into gear in the 1940s, it was a thing to marvel at. Planes once used only for cargo or wartime were now crafted for the sole purpose of leisure and business. Cabins were like living rooms. Passengers did receive gourmet meals with a smile and were tended to like their mothers were right there to tuck them in. Because some of them had beds, too. Here are some things to think about, though:

34 : Spoon Feb/Mar 2011

Only the elite or those who chose a plane ticket over a new family car were flying. In 1949, a roundtrip ticket from New York to Paris cost $407. In 2010, that would equal $3,728.92. In 1950, a roundtrip ticket from New York to California cost $88, or $796.22 in 2010 cheddar. Before deregulation in 1978, airlines were primarily state-owned, and a governing agency dictated exactly how much it cost to get from point A to point B. This left companies to look to amenities as a way of still being able to vie for the public’s attention. Another reason airlines touted the luxury of their fleets, cocktail bars, and beds to tuck children into was because the planes bounced around the air in ways that would make half of today’s white-knuckled fliers puke their guts out or curse the captain into next week. Airlines knew they had to do their best to lessen fears among the public to get them to fly. To top it off, it took forever to get to your destination. But this was like being able to step your foot into the future. You got on a plane and experienced the achievement of man and his dreams.

The glamour was more mental than physical. Passenger travel was a relatively new phenomenon, even into the 1960s. People looked up to pilots and stewardesses for their ability to chuck the briefcase-strapped 9-5 stress machine for a lifestyle of globetrotting and fun. Pour some drinks and spend your days off in the Riviera? Where do I sign up?? Very few were priviledged enough to actually book a flight, so all the rest of us could do was dream about a life above ground or on the other side of the world. This was most true after shaking off the blight of 1940s wartime. Air travel was the symbol of youth, vitality, and adventure in a new era. Despite the negative aspects of travel in the “good ol’ days”, they were all part of the package when you had the rare opportunity to fly. The difference? No one back then complained. So what happened? AIRLINES OPERATED LIKE THE BUSINESS THAT THEY ARE In the early 1950s, airlines began to realize the untapped potential to be had by reducing fares and allowing more people the ability to afford a ticket. When passenger travel began, there was basically only one class: First. New classes were added so you could pay less for fewer amenities just to have the chance to visit Grandma Jones in Chicago. To accommodate more travelers, lounge space was filled with more seats. Fine china and champagne were set aside for those willing and able to pay for it. Early travelers in the new (yet still expensive) Tourist and Economy classes had to pay for meals, too, and didn’t even have an option to wash them down with a gin and tonic, because alcohol wasn’t available. The plane itself also became more powerful. The number of passengers was growing by leaps and bounds. However, by the end of the 1960s, these changes took a toll on companies who were dealing with a bout of economic inflation, recession, lower demand, lower performance, and higher costs.


THE BAD GUYS TOOK TO THE SKY The 1960s also saw the beginning of an era of terrorism in the industry. Hijackings and bombings sprang up in the news like wildfire, prompting increased security measures that continue today. Through no fault of the airlines, we began to be scanned, patted-down, and restricted. That’s enough to suck the glamour out of any situation. Negativity, boredom, and fear replaced excitement, daydreaming, and exclusivity. TIMES CHANGE In the 1940s, there were about 3 million annual US passengers on planes. Today, there are around 800 million per year. In any business, that will spawn changes. By the 1970s, the novelty and rareness of air travel faded. Today, it is simply another form of mass transit. People are packed into terminals and napping on floors. Home life and work life are blending as a result of technology. Traveling to foreign countries was once imagined to be like going to the Olympics or EPCOT, full of smiles and colorful costumes and everyone getting along. These days, the world is smaller and we are no longer imagining how the other side lives. We can see it on our computers and on TV. ARE WE PARTLY TO BLAME? We bitch and complain. Sometimes with reason, but sometimes... just maybe... is it just because everyone else is doing it and we don’t realize the bright side? Despite increases in rates over the last decade, we still pay considerably less than we did when passenger travel first began. “But we don’t get jack squat in return!” The same amenities we claim to long for are still there: increased leg room, beds, champagne, gourmet meals, attendants catering to our every whim. It’s called First Class and Business Class, and it’s basically the same cost today as it was then. Just like then, it, too, is available if you are willing and able to pay for it. Airlines like Southwest continue to thrive and prosper because there is a demand for cheaper travel with less frills – frills that we are more

than willing to do without – in order to be able to have the freedom to travel as much as we do today. Back then, we’d never see or experience the majority of what we are able to now.

passengers and procedures that we have to deal with, it’s still a bazillion times better than riding a bus, and you get where you’re going a hell of a lot faster.

In the free-spirited 1960s, fashion took a turn with shorter hemlines and more skin showing as a reflection of society and sexism. Airlines also took cues from this change, using “sex sells” as another way to woo us prior to deregulation. Mini skirts and go-go boots showed up on the Bond-girl-esque flight crews. The image of pilots and stewardesses went from one of respect and properness to that of partiers at a disco night club. Until the 1980s, many companies required that flight attendants not be married, not wear glasses, not be over 30, and certainly not be overweight. Physical appearance took precedence over physical ability and safety.

Remember that air travel is a business, not a birthright. Companies, be they airlines or auto repair shops, have to do what they can with what they have, especially with every new obstacle and recession that comes their way. I promise they aren’t rolling in dough and the majority of measures taken are for sheer sustainability. As for airline employees, there are some crappy attitudes out there, but a lot of them are just doing their jobs, hands tied by regulations. They put up with a lot of attitude from the other side of the counter and telephone, too. Living in today’s world also means that flight attendants’ primary responsibility is no longer to get you hooch and a pillow, but is for your safety.

“But what about passengers dressing up and travel feeling special?” Sorry, but we only have ourselves to blame for that one. I’M LOOKING AT YOU, PERSON WEARING PAJAMA PANTS AND SLIPPERS AT THE AIRPORT. Once security measures tightened, it seemed we, in turn, decided to relax our importance on dressing up. Don’t scoff at the airlines because the person next to you is wearing track pants with the word “juicy” sprawled across the ass, or because the guy in the aisle putting his bag up is sporting a sleeveless tee with pit hairs hanging out like jungle vines. There is no law against dressing nice for your travels. If you lament it, bring it back. Maybe it will catch on. Perhaps we will garner more respect once we respect ourselves (and others) first. Aside from how we dress, we could fare a lot better to take a breath and just accept what is. We are still experiencing the miracle of flight. Like comedian Louis C.K. mentions, you’re sitting in a chair that is flying through the air, all while this gajillion-ton clump of metal manages to not fall out of the sky. Does that still not seem crazy to anyone? And no matter how much we complain about the cattle-herding of

In the end, times change and we must adapt. Our attitude also has a lot to do with the experiences we have. We can still dream about far away places. They’re still out there, they’re still amazing, and there are still people living on the other side of the world who are wonderful to meet.

The swingin’ 60s and 70s ushered in a new era in the airline biz, with some adopting the notion that sex sells. Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) was notorious for skimped-out stewardess garb. Not let off the hook so easy is also Southwest Airlines, whose founder studied PSA. Southwest’s hot pants and go-go boots are shown here. Feb/Mar 2011 Spoon : 35


One Ticket, by Tina Jett


Point A to

Point B From sheer necessity of movement to the use of transportation in the name of leisure and adventure, there have been numerous ways throughout history of getting a human from one spot to another.

Feb/Mar 2011 Spoon : 37


A is for alphabet Mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organization, these words make up the phonetic alphabet used in both the military and airline industries. A lot of letters sound alike, and in those two fields, mixing up the wrong ones can be detrimental. When I worked for an airline, my initial stint was in reservations. Learning this alphabet was one of the first things on the docket, right before the dizzying array of three-letter airport codes. A co-worker of mine years prior had been in the military and insisted on knowing your middle name so he could go around the office calling everyone by their phonetic initials. Test your knowledge below and see if you know all the right words associated with these letters. I threw you a bone and stuck in an additional vowel. Answers are at the bottom of page 40... No peeking! Up your knowledge level even further by learning some of the lingo used by the airlines. Don’t you want to know what’s going on when they check the FLIFO for your open jaw in your PNR? Click HERE for the airline lingo glossary!

A B C D E F G H I

A___A B_A__ C____I_ D___A E__O F____O_ GO__ H__E_ I_D__

J K L M N O P Q R

J___E_ KI__ L__A M__E N__E____ O__A_ P__A Q___E_ R__E_

S T U V W X Y Z

S_E___ TA___ U___O__ VI____ W____E_ X-_A_ Y___E_ Z__U


USE-IT:

act like a local

A couple years ago, while using the crap out of my sorelymissed airline job perks, we took a trip to Belgium. In researching where to go and what to do, we came across one of the most ingenious travel guides I’ve ever seen. USEIT maps are for select cities and towns in Belgium that are compiled, created, and continuously updated by the locals that live there. While the target age group for these guides is ideally those in their late teens to early 30s, there is still plenty of information for those of you over the bar-hopping scene. Each represented city has a .pdf file of their guide that you can print at home, or peruse online beforehand and then pick up a copy at the local USE-IT centers. One side describes daytime activities and points of interest and the opposite is geared towards night life.

out ck urope e h /e o c Als -it.be and e des .us www or gui other f n ing o o inf icipat ies! r t par count T I USE

We love USE-IT, not only for the candid and humorous explanations of why some places are good (or not so good), or what locals typically do (or wouldn’t be caught dead doing), but also because it allowed us to visit hidden gems we’d never have known about on our own or with some other top-name travel book. In Brussels, we became aware of the oldest operating fritkot (french fry cart). In Antwerp, at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, we ate a semi-gourmet meal prepared by at-risk-youth-turnedculinary-students for about the same price as the imported McDonald’s fare. In Ghent, we visited the one and only place to find a gourmet mustard that’s been produced with the same recipe since 1790. On the Bruges map, you can read about the path we took by bicycle to the tiny town of Damme near the beach, or read up on the “Questions to Piss Off the Locals”. I don’t think either one of us would hesitate to say that the USE-IT maps greatly contributed to making this trip one of our all-time favorites. www.use-it.be Feb/Mar 2011 Spoon : 39


How to Pack Helpful tips for those who stuff a suitcase like they’re moving in. Mom.

Q Roll your clothes like little sausages. It prevents creasing and adds tons of space. You can decrease wrinkles further by layering items prior to rolling.

Q Check to see if hotel has hair dryer. Most do. Ladies. Q Check the weather at the destination so you pack the right outerwear. No need for the parka if you’re gonna get rained on.

Q Maximize outfit potential, including shoes. Locals won’t

notice that you’ve worn the same jeans three times and you’ll probably want room to bring a few things back. Bring a sample-size laundy detergent and wash well-worn items in the bathroom sink.

Q Pack belts, jewelry, and underwear inside your shoes. Q Use a checklist so you don’t forget your underwear. Q

Check the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website for the latest regulations: www.tsa.gov

Q Use TSA-approved locks on luggage so they don’t get broken off if security has to open your bag.

Q Ease up on the gadgets. Plugs and converters bulk up. Q Keep toiletries and valuables in a carry-on that won’t get lost with your luggage. Use plastic zip bags in case of spills.

Airline alphabet answers – A: Alpha, B: Bravo, C: Charlie, D: Delta, E: Echo, F: Foxtrot, G: Golf, H: Hotel, I: India, J: Juliet, K: Kilo, L: Lima, M: Mike, N: November, O: Oscar, P: Papa, Q: Quebec, R: Romeo, S: Sierra, T: Tango, U: Uniform, V: Victor, W: Whiskey, X: X-ray, Y: Yankee, Z: Zulu. My name would be Tango Mike Juliet. :)


o here t Click z qui take a over sc and di king ac p your ality! person

Q Leave the 16-step beauty regimens at home. Your skin won’t turn into alligator scales that fast.

Q Use the hotel toiletries. A few days without your 20-ounce

bottle of salon shampoo won’t bring about the end of civilization. Grocery and drug stores sell sample-sizes, as well. Bonus: Hair conditioner can also substitute as shaving cream.

Q Don’t pack more than you need of a particular item. If you actually go through an entire box of cotton swabs in a week, call a doctor. There’s likely a drug store nearby if you run out, anyway.

Q

Leave the expensive and heirloom jewelry at home. It will only make you a target for thieves and cause you to stick out like a sore thumb as a tourist. That diamond-crusted bauble may also work against you in certain situations, like negotiating prices.

Q Ship souvenir items home. Make an effort to use wellknown global carriers like UPS and FedEx, especially if you are overseas, and be sure to purchase insurance and tracking.

Q Leave the bulky and heavy guidebooks at home and just photocopy important sections to take with you. Have a smart phone? Check for travel apps about your destination.

Q Make two photocopies of your passport. Leave one at home and keep one in your hotel room while out. If the real thing gets stolen or lost, having a copy will help greatly.


A World Away from the Big Cities in

Lijiang

china


What’s your favorite travel memory? When I moved to Seattle from Illinois, my thenboyfriend and I bought a crappy run-down van, packed all our stuff inside (including 2 cats and a tarantula) and then set off for a three-week road trip. The van made it to the mid-West before it broke down and we had to rent a U-Haul anyway. Did I mention that the tarantula got out once? Oh wait... You said “favorite”. Nevermind. ~ Rosalie unanimouscraft.com Going to Salem, MA in March 2008 for our honeymoon. This sounds sucky, but it was actually awesome — There was sleet, most witch-related attractions were closed for the season, we ate curry fries at a pub that we still yearn for to this day, I hurt my hip walking around and had to buy an aluminum old lady cane at the Salem

Walgreens, and I got hit on by a drunkard on St. Patrick’s day while my hubby was buying hot dogs. It was seriously the best honeymoon ever! ~ Sandy robotinbloom.com My uncle, cousin, a good friend of mine, & I went to visit Domaine Chandon [in Napa Valley] to have lunch and drink some bubbly. 2 or 3 hours later and 3 bottles of champagne later (1 for each course, of course!), we walked the beautiful grounds sated on great food, wonderful bubbly, and the joy of time well spent with amazing people. We also visited another winery that day – the one where you ride the tram up to the facility – and I can still smell the oak and red wine in that cask room. ~ Janice


s f f u t S d n a n io t a iz n a Org

by Rosalie Gale

probably esh start. You fr A . ar ye e e right ing of th ast closer to th le It’s the beginn at Or . ot fo is hard. the right ry and being good ua started out on br Fe ’s it w re. But no foot than you we it? ng. Is it worth mi And time-consu - worth it. is - absolutely it at th it bm su I ed to do. ed to be like: e things I want th What my life us l al of s st lists and to-do li king lists and ma I’d make crazy me ti of ts had time spent lo s that I rarely st All of them. I li ng ki ma me ustrated. so much ti lists. I was fr ny lists. I spent ma my f of ought I had s things Everything I th to actually cros d. me el wh er Ov bricks. tivated. o tons of stupid Depressed. Unmo tw ke li me on ng down to do was weighi clarify: s funny. I should wa he t gh ou th d But this husban median. So am I. co Then, one day, my up d an st a is. He is He IS funny. He e point. th is all beside mplain and stening to me co li of d re ti g e things I gettin to accomplish th After presumably me ti y an ve ha ing Things I don’t audio book: Gett whine about how an me ht ug bo sh, Doug want to accompli len. Al d Done by Davi time. I’ve n. And another ai ag ce on d An e feeling once. ch time, I leav ea I listened to it d an er ov d do. over an ings I want to listened to it ckle all the th ta to y ad re d refreshed an

like David like now: project - just What my life is by do to nt wa te for each things I I want to comple I organize the at th s sk ta te never focus . I crea the secret - I Allen told me to ’s re he d an . One task ts, but needs to be done of those projec at th g in th xt way. And st the ne terrifying that ss on more than ju le ch mu ’s It . It’s all at’s it. I don’t need to per project. Th r. ve Ne s. st li t, but gone ke to do two to a projec now, I never ma or em it an d ad in the next I might nt to accomplish there already. wa I at th gs in pieces) of 300 th ece (or several are the lists of pi a om fr ce fa in the year staring me r. pe notebook pa If you don’t awesome stuff. ke li u yo If . like it Try it. You’ll tttttttttt. bb bb - then ppbb

Don’t know where t o start? Click on thi s note and let me school yo u in the ways of awesom e project managemen t.


Yes, I know it’s not Pat’s three-leafer, but come on... How many times do you come across one of these?

48 : Spoon Feb/Mar 2011


St. Patrick’s Day March 17, 2011

St. Patrick was born with the given name of Maewyn in Britain around 385. His father and grandfather were deacons, though it is said that he was of Pagan faith in his youth. When he was sixteen, Patrick was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave. He had said that he was told by God in a dream to flee to the coast where he would take a ship back to Britain. Upon returning to his homeland, Maewyn joined the church and the priesthood, taking the name of Patrick. A second calling was said to be what took him back to Ireland, this time to convert followers of other faiths to Christianity. He used the three-leafed shamrock as a tool to teach the masses about the religion’s Trinity, consisting of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be the parts of one higher, divine being. His death on March 17, AD 461, is used to commemorate his thirty years of work for the Irish Church. What began as a Catholic holiday has become a worldwide celebration of Irish culture, whether or not you have a drop of Irish blood in your system. St. Patrick and St. Patrick’s Day are now used by the Irish government to promote the culture both inside and outside the borders. Today, there are roughly thirteen times more people of Irish descent living outside of Ireland than there are living in the country of Ireland itself.

St. Patrick’s Day became a public holiday in Ireland in 1903 with the help of Parliament member James O’Mara. It was also O’Mara who instilled a ban on drinking in bars and pubs, mandating them to be closed on March 17th, after much debauchery became commonplace. The ban lasted until the 1970s. Celebrations for the holiday include parades, wearing green, drinking Irish whiskey and beer (sometimes green, lots of times Guinness), Irish dancing (goes well with the drinking), dying waters green, and eating traditional Irish foods. Here’s how you can get your green on: • Check out a parade near you by visiting www.st-patricks-day.com for a listing of shenanigans across the US and beyond. • Track down the only reason I would ever visit a McDonald’s again, the Shamrock Shake, which only surfaces this time of year. Find one near you at www.shamrockshake.com (I hear that mixing one with a chocolate shake tastes like a Girl Scout Thin Mint. Yes, please.) • Stuff your face with some good ol’ shepherd’s pie, boxty, colcannon, or soda bread. Always wash down with Guinness. • Go to Ireland. And take me with you.

Feb/Mar 2011 Spoon : 49


Academy of Spring, by Tina Jett


Spring Equinox March 20, 2011

March, 2011 at 11:31pm UTC in the Northern hemisphere, to be precise. Spring equinox is technically called “vernal” equinox, but honestly, “vernal” just makes me think of “venerial” and “disease” and that’s not really a good springtime-fresh thought, now is it? I’m sticking with spring and that’s that. Equinox literally means “equal night”, as the sun is positioned directly over the equator and day and night are roughly equal in all parts of the world at this time. The arrival of spring and longer hours of daylight have been acknowledged and celebrated pretty much since the beginning of time, and the rituals and themes associated with it are still present today.

The Sphinx in Egypt faces the point where the sun rises on the day of the spring equinox, which are also marked by the monoliths at Stonehenge. In some cultures, such as Iran, the new year begins on the day of the spring equinox and is known by the name Nowruz. This is the time that many people celebrated the new year throughout history, though the adoption of the Gregorian calendar saw it changed to January 1. Get your spring on: • Do some spring cleaning. About as enjoyable as nails on a chalkboard to some, but hey, you don’t want to end up on an episode of Hoarders, do you?

Many early humans celebrated the return of their crops and harvest and the end of the cold, long winter and food shortages. Rebirth and fertility are ancient themes that coincide with this period of renewal, hence the appearance of bunnies and eggs all around town.

• Get out in nature. Visit a park or botanical garden, or just go for a walk.

In Christianity, Easter is celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox (in case you were wondering why the date changes all the time).

• Switch up your decor with lighter colors and use nature as an inspiration.

• Use this as your time to implement those New Year’s resolutions, when all the mass public pressure has subsided. • Plant seeds and flowers.

• Make eco-friendly crafts. Use bits and pieces found in the great outdoors.

Feb/Mar 2011 Spoon : 51


I have a favorite quote that, for me, sums up the foundation of cooking for any budding chef or weekend warrior: “Learn a great recipe, and you can make a great dish. Learn a good technique, and you can make hundreds of them.” I like to rely on great ingredients and simple, well-executed techniques rather than discovering specific recipes in order to make a great dish. My vision is to use Bacon Fat & Butter to present basic concepts and techniques that will hopefully open up your confidence to interpret recipes, rather than depend on them. Sometimes this will take the form of ingredients; other times, maybe tools or methods. But they will always be simple and practical.

by Michael Jett

This issue of BF&B offers up simple and helpful hints on two troublesome topics when dealing with bread and beef. Never troublesome when eaten together, however.

Holy Baguette! There are few things on this planet that send me to a euphoric dreamland like a well-made, fresh, French baguette. The soft middle of the bread coupled with the crispy, chewy goodness of the thin crust goes with almost anything. Soft cheeses, cured meats or patés, European butter (to be addressed in a future article), or one of dozens of bruschettas that I can think of are all reasons I can see myself retiring in the south of France with the missus, in a galaxy far, far away. There is, however, one thing I hate about baguettes... Throwing away the half I didn’t get to. I am guessing a lot of you have experienced this heartbreaking scenario: A nice dinner for two has just been enjoyed where you have used roughly a third to a half of your baguette, and now.... what to do? The shelf life of your bread begins its death spiral towards something that has more in common with a Louisville Slugger than anything edible the second you make the first slice. Even if you never cut into it, if not eaten the day it was baked, it is rendered almost impossible to use for anything other than croutons or bread crumbs. So how have the French, the world’s foremost culinary authority and, more specifically, the unquestioned baking elite, not found a way to preserve their bread for at least an additional day? What’s that? They have? What the...?! This situation has made me sick in more ways than one. Refusing to waste half a baguette, I have been known to go back for seconds, thirds, and ninths, pre- and post-dinner, in order to use up a good loaf. Until now. I can’t believe it has taken me so long to learn of this time-tested, traditional process, and the ease of it all makes me feel like a moron. Have I mentioned that I’ve run restaurants for a living? That in many, we actually proofed and baked our own bread? That I was thrown into a state of pure awe and amazement... like I was seeing my first sunrise... the first time I pulled off this trick? So here it is, people. My big tip of the issue (you’re welcome!): Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Take your day old (or even two) baguette out, which is surely close to being considered a deadly weapon at this point. Run your clean hands under cool water (do not dry!), and then lightly rub them over the entire crust of the baguette. You may need to re-wet them a few times. At first, the crust will take on a slimy, then somewhat sticky quality, but should never feel like you just dunked it into a full sink of water. Once you have finished giving the loaf a nice massage, toss it into the oven for 4 to 6 minutes. It will actually smell like you are baking a new loaf as the crust re-crisps. Carefully remove the now hot baguette from the oven and enjoy! It will still not exactly match its original qualities, of course, but should make for a good loaf for a couple more days. Bon Appetit! 52 : Spoon Feb/Mar 2011

Mr. Frenchie LeStereotype


Simple Rules for Cooking a Perfect Steak Let’s address a couple mistakes many cooks make at home and a few basic tips that will help turn your $15 - $20 butcher case investment into a high end steakhouse’s $35 - $50 masterpiece. 1) Pair your cooking technique with the cut of meat you buy. Have you ever been disappointed because the expensive filet mignon you bought to make for your anniversary dinner turned into a fairly average, and certainly dry, slab of beef on your grill? How about the nice New York strip or ribeye, which seemed so perfectly marbled with fat in the butcher’s cooler, that cooked into a greasy, chewy piece of shoe leather on your stove top or in your broiler? Choosing the right cut of beef for the way that you are going to cook it is the starting point of a great steak. Lean cuts of beef such as filets and sirloins do not have the fat content to tolerate the flames of a grill for very long. Certainly not long enough to get the type of sear or crust that you try to emulate from your favorite steakhouses. The best way to prepare these steaks is by taking well-seasoned, well-rested (see below) pieces of meat and searing them in a hot pan with olive oil. Depending on the thickness, cooking 2 to 4 minutes on each side in the pan and then finishing off in a hot oven or broiler (350 degrees) for an additional 4 to 6 minutes will yield a terrific medium rare to medium steak. The thickness of your cut will assist you in determining your times, but unlike on the grill, you’ll have better success nailing your desired temperature with this method without sacrificing the quality of the steak itself. On the other hand, cuts with a higher fat content or those containing a marbling of fat, such as ribeyes and strips, are perfect for the grill. The ability to control the high temperatures of the grill, along with using an actual flame, allows for the fat tissues to break down and literally flavor the steak from the inside. As the fat melts, it will drip into the flames, causing the flames to build and burn hotter. I love using bone-in ribeyes that are nearly two inches thick and getting the flames licking the bottom of them at nearly 500 degrees. It becomes one of the most flavorful, juiciest steaks you will ever have, and it is the kind of cooking that will keep me up the night before in anticipation. 2. Learning patience, and how to let your steaks rest. Your steaks actually need to rest twice. Once before you cook them, and again after you remove them from the heat source. First, let’s talk about preparation. Have you ever accidentally left your steaks out on the counter for an hour or so before you began to cook them, or maybe forgot to put them into the fridge when you got home from the store? Did you notice how they seemed to get... well... mushier? When you refrigerate steaks, the tissues contract, making the meat more dense and compact. Allowing them to rest before cooking lets the tissues relax and redistributes the moisture throughout the entire piece. While resting, have you noticed the tendency of meat to become more ‘bloody’? That’s all of the moisture that had absorbed into the tissues as they contracted. An added benefit to redistributing the moisture is that now when you season the steak, the seasoning is there to stay. While many will still debate the validity of this theory, I feel as though the science behind it makes sense to me... and my rested steaks always seem more tender and evenly cooked than ones that hopped directly from the Whirlpool to the Weber. Now for the patience. When you remove your steak from any heat source, you need to allow it to rest for anywhere from 6 to 12 minutes (again depending on the thickness and desired doneness). Have you ever just cooked your beautiful looking steaks, thrown them directly only your plates, and then immediately started hacking into them? Looks like a slasher film, right? Suddenly your meat is swimming in bloody juice right next to your pink mashed potatoes and screaming niece. I have seen many a squeamish eater have their meals finished before they ever took a bite due to a lack of patience on behalf of the cook. On the flip side, you can have a properly-rested, two-inch thick steak cooked to a perfect rare or medium rare that will not leave a drop of evidence on your plate. All of the flavor and moisture, none of the gruesome aftermath. Try it! It makes all the difference in the world. I personally like to rest mine on a cooling rack so they are not soaking in their juices, ruining the crusts I just worked so hard to make, but even resting on a cutting board, your steaks will mimic your favorite restaurant’s in no time. Happy cooking!

Have questions, comments, or suggestions for future BF&B articles? Email them to hello@spoonzine.com!

BF &b Feb/Mar 2011 Spoon : 53


What do you collect? Vintage paper ephemera and pretty much any sort of paper. I do use the papers and ephemera to make books and collages, so I feel a tiny bit more virtuous...

Hard Rock Cafe shot glasses...the ones that say the city name on them :) ~ David davidschultz.org

~ Alison kurberry.etsy.com

Pottery stuff, antique stuff, and Sinatra stuff. ~ Daxx

I used to collect beer steins...would LOVE to get into vintage/antique corkscrews and lighters.

Books and yarn, and oh my gosh, how could I forget – HATS! I own over 70 of them, and I’m not talking baseball-type caps. I have $3 hats and I have one that I bought at Saks 5th Avenue. That one was ridiculously expensive, but it’s a lovely confection of white straw with an extra piece of straw (talking very finished straw here) brim suspended from the attached brim by white chiffon ribbons. Love it!

~ Michael

~ Janice

Carboard boxes. It’s a disease, really. I’m always socking them away for “the next time we move”, though it’s not anywhere on the horizon. ~ Sandy robotinbloom.com

Beer-related pint glasses. Most were... uh... let’s just call them free. ;) ~ Amy

54 : Spoon Feb/Mar 2011


To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

A book of quotations I’ve compiled since my freshman year of college.


Spoon : the e-zine* www.spoonzine.com

Coming up next... April/May 2011 The Vintage Issue • • • •

The human side of vintage Route 66 and road trips Easter and spring greenery and much more!

(*It’s got a little poo in it!)

Spoon: Issue No. 2 - Feb/Mar 2011  

Welcome to Issue No. 2 of Spoon! Spoon is a bi-monthly, digital zine based on the little things that make life awesome: inspirations, exper...

Spoon: Issue No. 2 - Feb/Mar 2011  

Welcome to Issue No. 2 of Spoon! Spoon is a bi-monthly, digital zine based on the little things that make life awesome: inspirations, exper...

Advertisement