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September 25, 2011

Spoon Stories: Dan Dustin's organic spoons

Dan-dustin-spoons-1

Almost every August since the age of eight, I've gone to the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen's Fair in Sunapee State Park. At first, I visited with my summer camp, a treat for all of us girls though we had to wear our humiliatingly unattractive camp uniforms (yellow shirts, green shorts) that made us as inconspicuous as circus clowns.

Even after summer camp, I returned to the Fair as a college student and then as an adult -- in outfits of my own choosing -- with friends or with my husband Ted. By that time, I'd gotten to know many of the artisans whose work I collected, potters mostly but also some jewelers and textile artists.

One year, at least 25 years ago, I bought my first spoon from master carver Dan Dustin. And, over the years, I've purchased at least one spoon from Dan every August, at the Fair.

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August 21, 2011

Spoon Stories: Brian and Wilson on the Serengeti, and an unexpected spoon sighting

Maasai-spoons-1

My stepdaughter Kim, who spent two weeks this summer visiting environmental projects in Kenya, brought me these lovely hand-carved spoons. (Can you tell that we are ridiculously proud of her? She is the creative, energetic and engaging science teacher I wish I'd had in grade school.) I'm so grateful for the thoughtful gift of wooden spoons, and especially for the gift of this story to accompany them.

This summer I was lucky enough to receive a travel grant from my school for a two-week tour of Kenya with the Green Belt Movement, founded by environmental and peace activist Wangari Maathai. Dr. Maathai's work in Kenya focuses on re-forestation, food security, and civil action. Her staff work to get traditional and indigenous food onto the plates of Kenyans, solving issues of both poverty and environmental degradation. Part of the program my colleague and I took part in included a fantastic safari through four national parks, including the Maasai Mara on the border of Tanzania, a place teeming with unreal beauty.

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July 10, 2011

Spoon Stories: Italian risotto spoons

Risotto-spoons-4

Follow the cobblestoned Ruga Vecchia San Giovanni through the Rialto Market, past the artichoke lady, and -- if the weather is just right and the fates are aligned -- you'll come upon a man selling his handmade Pinocchios, toys, and the world's most perfect risotto spoons.

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May 24, 2011

Spoon Stories: The tiny mustard spoons of France

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?)

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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