Spoon Stories: The tiny mustard spoons of France
In the summer, in the southwest of France, life at my sister-in-law's house in the hamlet of Amiel moves to its own rhythm.
Unless we've planned a road trip, each day unfolds pretty much like this: wake up, head for whichever town has a market that day, find a cafe, have strong coffee and a pastry, and choose a restaurant for lunch -- a decision often left to my brother-in-law, as he is fond of the leisurely French midday meal. With the day's most important decision made, we stroll through the market and buy food for dinner, by which time we're ready for the long lunch. (Do you detect a theme here?)
Back at the house, we nap, of course. Garden a bit. Read, relax, or maybe head to Penne for a drink at the restaurant at the top of the hill. And then we make dinner.
The next morning, we repeat, driving to whichever town has its market day. On Wednesday or Saturday mornings, that means Montauban, the capital of the Tarn-et-Garonne département.
I couldn't resist buying these tiny mustard spoons (in the top photo) from a mustard seller at the Montauban market when we were there years ago. The spoons are less than four inches long, in two styles, bowls or paddles. I'm sure he didn't carve them, but someone did; they're all in the traditional style, but each one differs slightly from the next.
The three spoons in the photo below are obviously factory-made. And they're marked "France", which makes me suspect they might have been manufactured here in the United States, where I purchased them in a gourmet shop.
It could be my imagination, but whenever I use my tiny spoons from Montauban for mustard or jam, I think the food tastes more, well... French.