Monday, February 4, 2013

The story of the butter knife

One should not get weepy over a butter knife. I think it's safe to say that emotional displays over cutlery are generally discouraged, though I was rather excited when I received a set of giraffe print knives. Still, there is a story as to why I found myself misty-eyed over a butter knife.

When I was (a young warthog) younger, I took for granted that every kitchen had all the same things. I assumed everyone had a blender like ours, an avocado green KitchenAid stand mixer, a Cuisinart (which I always want to spell with a q), a toaster and butter knives. Not just any butter knives, the kind that we had. They weren't actually butter knives, but rather perfect little spatulas, but I didn't know that when I was little. They were the things I used to spread stuff on bread, therefore they were butter knives. My mom had some. My grandma had some. So obviously, everyone must have them.

When I moved out on my own, my mother loaded me up with many things--hand-me-down everythings that served me perfectly well (some still reside in this house), but no butter knives. Surely just an oversight. I halfheartedly looked for some when I was out shopping for other household things but never found the right ones. I had plenty of ACTUAL butter knives. What I wanted was the perfect little spatula thingies. I never did find them.

Fast forward many, many years, to last year, when my granddad died. He did not die from a tragic butter knife/spatula related injury, but the two are related, I promise.

At Granddad's memorial, my Uncle Mike set up a table full of... well, granddad stuff. It had rocks and train stuff, and the Route 66 shirt Grandma made, his hat, his awards, his walking stick, and... some butter knives. I was puzzled. In the mingling and meandering about time before the service, I remarked to my brother, "Hey, look. Butter knives?" He just nodded and said there was a bit about it in the eulogy my mom and her siblings had put together (that my brother was reading).

Ok, you guys... I know they're not butter knives. I did eventually learn that they were spatulas. But, I thought, surely they were cooking spatulas. Like frosting spatulas or something.

Nope. They're chemistry spatulas. My granddad brought them home from the lab. We also had pharmacy spatulas (black handle, not wooden, tapered tip) that my dad brought home from HIS lab.

SCIENCE! Cooking is science and we had the tools to prove it.

Anyway, that's the story of the butter knife. It's a chemistry spatula. Now you know why I get misty and nostalgic when making peanut butter toast.


Jessica said...

That's rather brilliant, actually. I thought for a second I should get out my old pharmacy spatulas (I was a tech), but, as with most things these days (get off my lawn!) they were very plasticy and cheap. I doubt they'd stand up to regular use in the kitchen.

tuwabvb said...

I love this post because I searched and searched and searched and searched for EVER to find replacement "spreaders." I cannot and will not use knives to spread anything on bread anymore. And yet, every single option I find are "hand wash only." REALLY? Not an option. So apparently I need to find a local lab and rob them? Thanks for the tip! ;)

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