Where Have All the Spoons Gone?


Once upon time, shortly after we were married and all those gifts came pouring in, we had 10 sets of flatware. That is: 10 dessert spoons, 10 soup spoons, 10 salad forks, 10 dinner forks, 10 knives. In the time since, tragedies have occurred and things have been reallocated, leaving us with less than 10 full sets, but such is life. I haven’t taken an official count or anything. But last week I noticed after emptying the dishwasher that the dessert spoon (my personal fave piece of flatware) pile was looking noticeably short.

I knew that one of these brave souls had gone to the trash bin in the school cafeteria one day when I packed spoon yogurt and had no plastic ones left. Aside from that, what had happened? I took count and there were 6. SIX!!! So that means that 3 freaking spoons are unaccounted for. How exactly does that happen? This becomes a problem because the kids and I eat cereal or oatmeal every morning and all use those spoons–3 down. Then I always have yogurt–4. If I forget and stir my coffee with one we are down to 1. One little spoon!

Yes, I am aware that I can hand wash one and use it again or ‘gag’ use a soup spoon instead. But come on, who wants to spend time washing spoons when there are supposed to be 9 in the drawer? I can’t spend $70 per set getting more, matching flatware. Can I buy just the dessert spoons? Maybe on Ebay? Does it even matter?

My parents never had matching flatware. Or maybe they did before we came along and did things like lose pieces in the school trash bins or use them as trebuchets for Lego knights or whatever it is that my children have done with our spoons. Looking at our cabinets, our kitchenware is beginning to resemble that of my parents. We don’t have stacks of white matching Pottery Barn bowls anymore. We have some chipped Pottery Barn bowls and some Spider Man bowls and some plastic Taken N’ Toss multicolored bowls. We no longer have 8 juice glasses and 8 water glasses. We now have 1 juice glass and some pint glasses and maybe a water glass or two thrown in there with a stack of rainbow-hued cups from Ikea.

But when I think back to dinner with my family as a child, I barely remember the dishes we ate on anyway. I remember the food, I remember the way my father laughed at his own jokes as he ate bread with mayonnaise spread on it. I remember exactly where each member of my family sat. If I think hard I can remember my “special fork”–the one with a pointed end and a rose imprinted on it. If my parents had matching flatware would I have even had a special fork?

So maybe I’ll head to Target and pick up a few spoons or even grab some at the Goodwill. Maybe Declan will have a “special spoon” one day to remember when he thinks of how he sat between his father and I at our dinner table with his brother at the head. The mystery of the missing spoons may haunt me till the end of my days or I may find them all waiting for me the next time I get around to vacuuming under the couch. Maybe the universe took my spoons off to another dimension. Or maybe families are just meant to be built on mismatched spoons and chipped bowls and rainbow stacks of plastic cups.


25 responses

  1. We regularly have gnashing of teeth and renting of garments and wailing around our house about our flatwear. Husband searches through the spoon slots to find one he says isn’t “rough” (he’s convinced I put them down the garbage disposal with regularity). Middle child is a flatwear snob and will only use items labeled “Oneida.” I constantly lament the loss of the best set of steak knives I ever owned – we’re down from 8 to 3 – which is a recent improvement as our son located one UNDER THE SEAT OF HIS JEEP a couple of months ago. How can such a simple thing as flatwear cause so much consternation?

    • It’s amazing! Another person told me their steak knives go missing and I have to say, with 2 small children in the house, that one would worry me a lot more than spoons. Also, we have a crazy expensive set of steak knives that I use to cut EVERYTHING!! I’ll be keeping an eye on mine as the kids get older. 😉

  2. Ha! So I am single…yet I still have flatware go missing. It makes no sense and I think there is some sort of utensil conspiracy that I have yet to figure out. I’ve bought another set of flatware and but am miserable that they don’t all much. Plus, I have to dig around for my favorite spoons, underneath the newer, not so great ones. I don’t know why it matters, but it just does.

  3. AWGH the spoons. Spoon. hell. I think there is a place called that. It’s probably right next to sock hell. It’s where the bad spoons go when they refuse to get clean in the dishwasher and the Spoon God angers. We are always out, too, which is fascinating, since we came into the relationship with ten spoons each AND we got ten or twenty more when we said the I-dos.

  4. At one point I had the same issue with spoons. Then my eldest started working and suddenly I didn’t have enough forks for everyone at Christmas dinner. Sets of dishes have come and then been put away only to be pulled out again when the current dishes lose to many pieces. Until we’re reduced to eating out of bachelor tupperware, it’s all good.

  5. First, let me say that the dessert spoon is my favorite, also. Next…after decades of marriage I still have my very first set of flatware…or at least a few pieces of it. After all of the years I have been a mom and a wife, unless your hosting a dinner party the matchy matchy flatware isn’t nearly as important as the love around the table!

  6. US TOO!! This is crazy. What’s worse? We received a nice set of steak knives as a wedding gift. There is ONE left. That scares me. I have no clue where they went. I’m convinced people take them as souvenirs when we have dinner guests.

  7. Love the last line, about how families are supposed to be about mismatched cups… Reminds me of the film “little miss sunshine,” and how at the end of the film, the (dysfunctional) family is working hard to push a broken van down the road together. That’s what it’s all about! 🙂

  8. We will be going along fine….then suddenly, I will be missing almost ALL of the kids utensils. I was down to one fork for my 4 year old last week. This also happens with straws for the sippy cups, suddenly-poof-gone. I’ve decided our babysitter is stealing them, along with the little ones pacifiers….. I’m pretty sure she’s taking them home and keeping a collection there. 🙂

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