Some of the best things in life really do come in small sizes. I was reminded of this when my friend Theresa posted a photo of the utensils left for her use at her temporary home in Australia. She posted a comparative photo of her utensils back home in Maine, remarking that the “teaspoons” in Australia were the size of demitasse spoons. Well, because I have a fondness for demitasse spoons I felt compelled to join the conversation which entailed ferreting out that the spoons in question are not demitasse, and how comparatively, American eating utensils have grown over the years. All of this had me longing to have an excuse to use my own demitasse spoons and so of course; I had a dish of creamy vanilla ice cream from Sandy River Farms Market on the Falls Road.
Sold in sets of four or sometimes individually in a resale store, one may wonder whatever is the purpose of those tiny spoons? What? Just for espresso? That is indeed the intent. Demitasse is French for “half coffee cup” or three ounces.
It can be used as a unit of measure, as in “I’d like a demitasse of Turkish coffee.”
Brenda, owner of Frost Antiques in Farmington, Maine showed me a beautiful collection of demitasse cups. Each cup was in a silver frame with a silver saucer. I was envious, although not envious enough to imbibe. One can dream, however, of the days when these were the norm of fancy dinner parties and imagine the conversations.
Demitasse calls for spoons of approximately 3 – 4.5” in length, usually in gold, silver, or stainless. They were originally used in Europe, but over the years have made their way to America.
I insist demitasse spoons have many more uses. With a bit of visionary ingenuity, these diminutive specimens of cuteness can be used for so much more! Within each food use, there is a certain whimsical charm. Using them takes me back to my childhood and thinking on simpler times when it was common to dream up visions of fairies and imaginary friends. After all, “demi” refers to child size.
- Ice Cream – Yes! There is something infinitely special about eating ice cream with a tiny spoon. It requires one to slow down and savor each deliciously, satisfying bite. In some instances, sherbet is served in a small dish to cleanse the palate between courses. An excellent time to make use of demitasse spoons. How about a large sundae of several flavors of ice cream to be shared among friends as each dip in for small bites of sensory inspiration. Now you may be thinking, don’t double dip, but what’s the harm amongst friends? And seriously, we aren’t putting any of this away for later, are we?
- Baby feeding spoon – The smallness of the spoon’s bowl is perfect for feeding small bites to a baby. Not only is it small in the breadth of the bowl, but in its depth, as well.
- Jams and jellies – These spoons are the perfect size for the task of serving jams and jellies. Somehow, a larger spoon looks like it’s trying too hard.
- Sauces – Pitchers of gravy to pour over potatoes and meat works great, but for other sauces, guests may wish a bit more control over the portions. Tiny spoon to the rescue!
- Corn on the cob – Okay, so this may sound over the top, but think about it. A communal salt shaker in the center of the table can be darn inconvenient. A small serving of finishing salt at each place setting with a demitasse spoon for sprinkling the salt on the corn elevates the event’s specialness. Not something one would do every time, but why not step it up a bit occasionally? Yes, even these small salt bowls have a name – salt cellars. Even more charming is having each one different for each place setting.
- Mindfulness eating – Mindfulness is a hot topic and refers to moments of slowing down and savoring our experience. There’s nothing more anti-utilitarian than eating breakfast or lunch in units of small bites; taking the time to think about the flavor and adventure and muse on the makings of the rest of our day.
- Sipping chocolate – This beverage is served in demitasse sized cups. This is a rich, robust, hot beverage made from chopped bits of chocolate whisked into hot milk until melted. Indulge alongside a wee one, or enjoy a quiet moment alone.