GUEST POST from Don: Small Spoons


I like small bites and small spoons. Of course, when I’m in a hurry I gulp my food, too. But when I want to ENJOY what I am doing…I…like…to…take…my…time.

Sure, a hearty stew deserves a larger spoon, but I deserve a smaller one. I am worth the extra time to taste each bite of the delicious meal.

Then, there are the deserts. I know people who bolt down a piece of pie like they can’t wait for that final crumb and I mourn for them. Nora Ephron in New York Times (circa 2006) wrote about the glory of the small spoon. “Here’s the thing about dessert — you want it to last.” In France, she shared, the desert spoons are “so large you could go for a swim in them,” turning a luxurious creme brulee into a sprint.

I have seen folks who order a $60 steak and who probably only taste the first two bites, they hardly chew the hunks of flesh the cow graciously surrendered and the chef thoughtfully brazed. A good steak is both cooked rare AND eaten in smaller bites. It is to be SAVORED!!! Your tongue is not a food shovel, it has taste buds that can experience incredible subtle flavors and textures. God created you to enjoy small bites. (Satan pushes you to rush past the great stuff to get to the gristle. He wants you to hear that chalkboard scrape of knife on the plate rather than experience the harmony of the meal.)

An enjoyed life is one that embraces that last capitalized word (SAVORED). Rude people, and those who have no sensibilities, rush into full-throated and over-the-top experiences. You don’t need to jump out of an airplane to get a rush of excitement. The thrill should not be in the jumping, it should be in the opening of the chute and the slower travel back to terra firma where the pleasure of the experience is extended and thoughtfully pondered as your eyes take in the panoramic, crystal clear view.

I am sad for those who drink to excess because they imagined the fun was in how much they imbibed. Instead, they should have enjoyed the conversation, the comedy routine, or the music. Get drunk when there isn’t something more worthwhile, ‘eh? (Almost always there is something better.) At the wedding reception, the other guests just want you to leave before you throw up blue frosting on their good shoes and before they must share the road with you. The small spoon is usually much better.

To be honest, I don’t always follow my own advice. I know! How sad! Somehow potato chips don’t fit the mold. I stuff whole handfuls of those greasy spuds into my mouth at once. The issue is that my attention is elsewhere at the moment…I’m watching a TV re-run or reading a good book. That’s the problem…I’m not paying attention. When I am, the chips go in one at a time and are fully enjoyed without digging all the way to the bottom of the bag. I can even eat sliced raw potato with salt. By the way, never do this with a large potato just before bed…you will be up multiple times with reflux. Trust me.

I have found that small venues are also more enjoyable. We have gone to several small theatres. What is amazing is how personal it feels…because YOU are part of the play (you are close enough to touch the actors at times). We tried larger venues…and felt that we would have enjoyed it just the same if we had seen it on our TV (a 24” version).

We do the same thing with music. One time I took my girls to hear a guitarist at a 50-person, folding seat, community center by Lake Michigan (you could see the water from the center’s front door). It was a fabulous evening with excellent music. The young teen girls were the only “kids” there, but listened with rapt attention without me giving a lecture beforehand. That was not the first or last event where they enjoyed being in a personal setting with a talented performer. They got to the place where, as teenagers, they looked forward to going with their parents to hear or see incredible music and acting.

I like the simple vacation, too. Other people spend scads of dough going to Disney. We spend a few days camping and cooking simple foods over a campfire. We go to a small museum, a small tour, a blueberry festival in a small town, or something simple. We never expect much, and therefore are usually “disappointed” when we find outstanding entertainment or fabulous home made foods. Camping in northern Michigan once an Amish couple tooled onto the campgrounds with their cakes and cookies and breads for sale. A few dollars later we had a feast we probably would have never have had at a restaurant.

No! Life is to be enjoyed, savored, with small spoons.

Copyright 2023 Donald Whelpley


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